Welcome to the ULC Minister's Network

Paul Jones

Coming out of Churchianity

  •  We must always be sure to distinguish between the Lord's invisible, universal, spiritual Church (the Ecclesia) and the non-profit religious organization that meets in a building with a steeple on top. The difference is incalculable, and we dare not make the mistake of confusing the two. Please understand that we do not question the right of any religious group to peaceably assemble together, elect their leaders, receive monies, have membership requirements, and govern themselves in the manner they see fit - as long as we realize that such a right is a civil right and is neither inalienable, Scriptural, or mandated by God Himself. That doesn't make it wrong, but neither does it make it spiritual. The Ecclesia is not an organization or invention of man, but an organism filled with the Life, and whether we worship "in Jerusalem or in this mountain" is not as important to God as whether or not we worship Him "in Spirit and in Truth."

    So where is the distinction? What makes it an issue? It becomes an issue when spiritual or Scriptural significance is erroneously attached to a mere social contrivance, cultural norm, religious tradition, organizational structure, or place of meeting. When the waters are muddied and the lines are blurred between the social expectation, tradition, or custom of the religious organization and the true spiritual life and essence of the Ecclesia or the individual believer then such a system has the potential to evolve into a dangerous form of spiritual abuse or religious elitism.

    What is Babylon? It is the marriage of church and state, religion and government; or to be more direct, it is allowing the leaven of the world to spread via Organized Religion and Institutional Christianity. As an example, consider how pastoring a church has become more of a profession than a calling, and how church government has digressed from a theocratic, Spirit-led consensus to a "Spirit-led" democracy, or worse, a "Spirit-led" benevolent dictatorship of a single pastor or a church board. This is the result of the spirit of Babylon. Whereas the True Church is to be "in the world, but not of the world", Babylon is that which is both in the world and of the world - it is by, for, and of the worldly system, yet it retains the outward appearances of godliness and spirituality. It is a synthesis of God and man, taking the best that each has to offer and fashioning a golden calf with it.

    Babylon is always antithetical to Christ. It is anti-Christ. Babylon is represented as a religious whore riding on top of a beast which kills the prophets and saints of God. Perhaps we have missed the point by personifying the Antichrist as a Hitler-type world leader bent on global domination. Antichrist is the religious antithesis of Jesus Christ which flows from Babylon AS Jesus Christ. It is not coming, it is already here, and has been here from the beginning. Perhaps denominationalism is the real mark of the beast. If so, it is no wonder that so many are willing to accept it.

    Perhaps the fear is that once we are escaped from Churchianity that we may be deceived again, but not so with the one who has finally seen the Body. It is not that we find it necessary to wax bold or stand guard continually and purposely resist all attempts to institutionalize us in the name of God. When we have seen Christ and His Church, anyone attempting to lord over, corral, enclose, intimidate, manipulate, unlawfully influence or exert his or her spiritual whims upon us is rebuffed with a calm, quiet spirit. It is like striking the air, or stopping the ocean. The spirit of Jezebel simply cannot stand before the Spirit of Christ. It's so simple. We do not need to understand the spirit of Jezebel, we only need experiential knowledge of Christ within.

    Again, we reiterate that it is not a question of learning or knowing, but of seeing. If we see Christ we will immediately react to all that is anti-Christ. Those who belong to Him will never accept the mark of the beast. All who know Truth can easily see through the false.

    It is not uncommon for someone to sit within Babylon for years, know something is wrong, but be unable to express what it is. It is only after much soul-searching, prayer, counsel, sleepless nights and painful experiences that we are able to understand why the Spirit of Jesus is troubling us with regard to what is done in the name of Organized Religion. But we need not understand what troubles us in order to be troubled. To all who listen, to all who have ears to hear, He will voice His disapproval of all that is not sanctioned or condoned by Him. God is not so silent as many imagine, it is just our ears are dull. But when our hearing is sensitive, we will hear His protest when something is said or done in His Name that He does not endorse. If we are listening, we cannot but hear Him disavow the televangelist who begs for more money, or the pastor who treats the sheep with contempt, or the prophet who speaks out of his own imagination.

    If we can sit within Organized Religion, day in and day out, and drink it all in without the slightest provocation, without even a hint of being troubled in our inner man, with no twinge in our gut or pain in our heart whatsoever, then we are far gone; our hearts are hardened and our ears are dull. We are blind Pharisees.

    You who call yourselves Christians: are you troubled by all that is proclaimed, confessed, bought and sold, taught, prophesied, promoted, and prayed about these days in Jesus' Name? Then rejoice, because you are still able to discern the Spirit of Jesus above the cacophony of religious voices spewing forth from Babylon. But if you are able to shrug it off or lightly dismiss it, blithely going your merry way, I would consider your Christianity to be nominal at best.

    Yahweh does not take it all in stride, or shrug it off. The responses of Yahshua to the organized religionists of His day were many and varied. We find Him driving the merchants out of the Temple with a scourge of cords. We find Him engaging in public denunciations of the Pharisees, holding them up as shining examples of what NOT to do. At other times, He was silent, or simply hid Himself and departed. Which response strikes you as the most profound? In my opinion, it is a weighty matter to observe the Son of God simply walk away and ignore the religious leaders of His day. There is a time and season to speak, and a time to refrain, and we find the Lord knows how to do both. But I must confess that His silent rebuke, Him hiding His Face and turning away, strikes as much fear in my heart as His spoken Word and piercing gaze. What unbearable, deafening silence! What contempt He had for their hypocrisy! How His holy nature must have been repulsed! How can we not also be moved to indignation?

    There is only one right way to leave Babylon, and that is by way of Christ. To leave because of hurt, bitterness, dissatisfaction with the status quo, rebellion, or anything short of seeing Christ is to be in a precarious situation. Certainly hurt, bitterness, and the like are compelling reasons to leave, but only when they drive us to Christ do they help and not hinder. If our experiences drive us into a quagmire of depression and unforgiveness then all meaning and purpose for the experience is lost. On the other hand, if our disenchantment, disillusionment, and despair drive us deeper into Christ, we will find healing through Him and we will be enabled to extend grace to those who persecuted us. Then the experience is meaningful, the pain had purpose, and the lesson is learned.

    This is why we do not command all Christians everywhere to stop attending church services. To leave, or to stay, apart from revelation, apart from seeing Christ and His Body, and based only upon the word of some man or group, no matter how true, is not sufficient to escape from Babylon. Others may bring us out of Babylon, but they cannot bring Babylon out of us. This is Yahweh's work. And this explains why we find some who have left Organized Religion but are not better off spiritually than they were before leaving. In fact, after several years they have become cold, aloof, distant, critical, and suspicious of others. Their world has become smaller, whereas the one who leaves Organized Religion because of revelation lives in a much larger world as entire new vistas of opportunity appear. With an awareness of the Body, fellowship is no longer restricted to time, place, church, or denomination, thus opportunities for fellowship abound. But with no consciousness of the Body, only an awareness of our personal pain and harsh treatment at the hands of a few, our defense mechanisms will prevent us from seeking out fellowship or risking further hurt by engaging other believers.

    When we enter this Body consciousness we will not find it necessary to wax bold or stand guard continually and purposely resist all attempts to institutionalize us in the name of God. We do not have to fear what man may do to us. When we have seen Christ and His Church, anyone attempting to lord over, corral, enclose, intimidate, manipulate, unlawfully influence or exert his or her spiritual whims on us is rebuffed with a calm, quiet spirit. It is like striking the air, or stopping the ocean. The spirit of Jezebel simply cannot stand before the Spirit of Christ. It is so simple. It is only difficult because we make it difficult. We do not need to understand the spirit of Jezebel, we only need experiential knowledge of Christ within.

    This experiential knowledge of Christ will also enable us to recognize Him in others, and call upon us to enter into fellowship with brothers and sisters of all backgrounds. We will not be overly critical or unnecessarily suspicious. The Anointing will teach us and lead us into proper relationships with others in the Body. No more will we judge others or restrict ourselves to our little home group, church, or denomination. Our basis for fellowship is Christ, and with Him as our common ground we will not be uncomfortable or threatened by people of different philosophical or doctrinal nuances. Either the Life is present, or it is not. If it is, we must not call Unclean whom God has called Clean.

    We may be able to passionately and persuasively expound upon the evils of the religious institutionalism, be correct with our arguments, confirm the experience of others and sway the opinions of many; but perhaps the most compassionate thing we can do for those still bound by Organized Religion is to become secure enough in our walk with God and clear enough in our vision of Christ and His Body that we can worship together with them in spite of our ideological differences, modeling the freedom which belongs to all who are in Christ Jesus, in hope that they, too, can escape from Churchianity and experience the same liberty from the deadness of the Letter towards the freshness of the Spirit, far beyond the influence of Babylon.

    From the Desk of GraceWatcher of Sakinel
    Bishop Paul E Jones
    AIM- GraceWatcher
    Yahoo- GraceWatcher
    ICQ- 10929390
    MySpace- GraceWatcher
    Facebook- GraceWatcher
    Twitter- GraceWatcher
    Sharing the Oneness of God, Religion and Humanity
    Bringing Revival, Renewal and Restoration to all God's People
    Teaching Ancient Wisdom for Today
    Bringing Love and Light to Everyone

  • Orville Funk
    Orville Funk In less words than most my belief is in the Universal Love of God through Christ whom is my teacher and my example for my life's challenge, we were all given the gift to make our own choices. Our paths cross many divides that turn us to or away from God ...  more
    January 23, 2010
  • Charles Lee, Jr
    Charles Lee, Jr In other words...
    Love and learn from GOD, as our First and Heavenly Father, learn to obey our Father's Command to love others as ourself because the same spirit has brought us all forth, from a Heavenly complexity, long before we were in our mother's ...  more
    January 22, 2010