parresia

I AM MERELY THE WINE BOTTLE POURING OUT THE WINE OF THE LORD.

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Location: New England, United States

Sunday, May 07, 2006

God or Church?


God has carried me to a unique position in my spiritual walk with him. Some thirty years ago, I walked down the aisle of a small Baptist church in Kentucky confessing my commitment to God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, his son. I remained at that church for just under two years, then my time there ended.

The next thirty years were spent alone with God. Periodically, I did 'visit' churches feeling that perhaps I should belong to a congregation, but I never found a fit. Meanwhile, God was instructing me, loving me, and preparing me spiritually through his word in the privacy of my own home.

Recently, God directed me towards a Baptist church in my town, and I reluctantly joined this church - not because I felt a connection here, but because God told me to join. Though, I would have preferred to be kept separate, he had work for me to do at this church.

My concern in joining a church was that I would once again become immersed in 'church' leaving behind God's spirit. You see, I was raised a Catholic and taught that the church was all important, all knowing, divinely appointed to be the liaison between God and myself. The church issued proclamations, demanded compliance with their institutions and interpreted God's word to their congregations based on their ideals. To this clergy, compliance with the church dogma was the road to salvation, and it should be revered.

So, did I find a difference in the Baptist church? Who can see the heart of a man, except God? But, I have noticed that the greater number of days per week spent in church service, the greater esteem bestowed. And, I am greatly saddened by this.

In both cases, the love is for the church. The church has become our focus of attention, adoration and perhaps salvation. This is not what Christ intended when he created the church.

"Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, ..." Matthew 4:5 RSV

This verse from Matthew has great significance. It shows that the temple or church of the day no longer belonged to God because it had been infiltrated by the spirit of Satan and that spirit was the same spirit that had separated Lucifer from God - pride.

When we venerate the church instead of God, we are venerating ourselves because we are the church. We have placed Jesus' Bride as our object of worship, and just like Lucifer, we have proclaimed ourselves wiser and more worthy than God.

Did we forget?

"And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split;..." Matthew 27:51 RSV

God destroyed the temple - or church - when Jesus had finished his plan of salvation. No longer would our sins be forgiven through the church by sacrifice or penance, but rather through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Comments:

Blogger lluvia said...

I think the same about God and churches, I agree with what you said Anne...

10:35 PM  
Blogger PJS said...

Interesting.

My initial Christian experience was at a Southern Baptist Church. At one point, they held a mid-week course of study on "cults". Chapter One? Catholicism.

In their eyes, the Catholics practiced idolatry by praying to saints, and circumvented Christ's salvation message by placing an intermediary (the Priest) between God and man.

I don't adhere to either denomination today, but I have to admit that Catholic services I've attended felt like lifeless, somber affairs compared to the joyous old-style hymns and fist-pounding style of the Southern Baptists.

9:50 AM  

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