Monday, September 26, 2011

The True Church

Being a member of the former World Wide Church of God, we would frequently refer to our church as "the true church".  And truly I believed I found the "true church" of God. This was an organization was extremely legalistic by standards. They imposed all sorts of rules and regulations, you'd be hard pressed to find the the Good Book. Nevertheless, I felt then, it was worth it, as it was the "true church" after all.

Back then, all other churches were "false", and the haughtiness we carried amongst ourselves, and neatly folded doctrinal materials, justified our judgmental behavior as we were true members. 

I'd laugh looking back from where I stand now, except it's unfunny. Looking back, I see a sad desperate, situation. A group of folks with severe self esteem issues grasping at any resemblance of self-importance. Severe self-esteem issues, I say because it showed a true lack of understanding of God's grace and Christ's gift. One who is fully assured of HIM, is humbly confident in FAITH. And what a depth of lack of FAITH back then...

I was recently asked..."How do I become a member of the true church?"  Inevitably, I'm taken back to the times I've just described. I will readily admit, it is difficult to think of the word "church" without scoffing, yet I'm aware that like so many important terms, the word church has been hijacked and misused. 

What IS church?? Many Christians refer to church as building, a place where people come to worship. The general definition of church is a group of  worshipers that are typically regulated by a select group of "professionals" be it pastors, priests etc. In this setting, members are taught by a person or persons who typically build sermons or messages from a few passages of scriptures. Typically, these members attend church to hear the word and learn. These members usually participate in social activities provided by the church for their members. 

In summary, "church" is a place to present an "act"...worship.

Instead of asking whether or not a "church" may or may not be "true", should we not consider whether or not our worship may or may not be "true"?

Who better to ask, than God, the Father of Jesus Christ of Nazareth on how HE should be worshiped?

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. - John 4:23

Testified of Christ and ordained of God, we are to worship HIM in SPIRIT and in TRUTH, as HE wills! The quest to find a perfect place, is a wasteful one, one filled with misunderstanding of what a relationship with God the Father really means.

The one TRUE place, we worship is in SPIRIT. The HOLY SPIRIT, which was ushered in by Christ's death. The HOLY SPIRIT which is saying God's Spirit. We worship in SPIRIT because God is a spirit.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth. - John 4:24
What we know as "church" today, has seriously evolved away from this remarkable phenomenon. The message of church membership is, one needs to go to a "place" to worship. And if you do not attend this "place" on a regular basis, then your {insert a noun/adjective here} is in jeopardy...or...as I was once told..."on a path to shipwreck". I will say this, this unspoken/spoken sentiment is legalistic and man-mandated. It is not of God.

If we worship in TRUTH we understand that it is by FAITH we receive acceptance. Only by the GRACE of Christ are we reconciled to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob this way. It is in this stead we find peace... peace with God.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. - Romans 5:1-2
 The bottom line is this...if you desire a religious experience in an organized setting, you won't need to look far to find a church that fits your criteria.

But if you want peace with God, a meaningful, loving relationship...

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. - Romans 10:8-10
...it all starts with your HEART...

May you find peace with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

4 comments:

  1. Amen, it is all about our relationship with Jesus and having the right heart with Christ. In fact, most churches or seminaries are filled with pharisees and Sadducee:)

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  2. Left WCG over 20 years ago, and had to re-start my Christianity with personal bible study--what a surprise to find teachings of Christ I never heard in WCG!

    As a hobby, I write articles about what I have studied. Not saying I have all the answers (who does?), but the writing helps me to learn. Feel free to read and share what is at http://christianity101.info

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  3. I never had problems with God or the Church. I always thought I was a free person and as a free person I could enter any establishment and pray to my God or ask any prophet to speak to him for me if I wanted to send a special message. Deep inside I knew I carried him always as he is a part of my soul and he couldn't be touched by any one there. If they crucified, me he would still be saved as would my soul be saved with him in it.
    People all have their reasons for speaking but there is only one truth and it lies inside all of us.
    This is why when we die, we stand only before God to judge us because in as much as we expect his judgement, we will judge ourselves first.

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  4. It's been amazing reading your blog. I also left WWCG around about the same time as you. I think I was about 18. I didn't move on to because I had questions of faith, I moved on out of rebellion. I couldn't believe how hippocritical, legalistic, judgemental this church was. I didn't want a bar of it. I never hated God, I always kept a feeling of Him inside me but I wasn't interested. I went off the rails a little but managed to find a loving husband and a good job. I did always thank God when good things happened in my life but did not have a relationship with Him. Nearly 20 years has past since WWCG days and I've found the Lord again, and man am I in LOVE! One thing I never learnt at WWCG was that God loved me. I always thought he was angry with because I couldn't live up to his standards. I felt condemned. I didn't know that Jesus was the only man alive who lived up to these standards. I never heard the church really preach Jesus and grace. (Well how could they, they were still preaching the law!). Anyway, I've come back to God and have got such a thirst for Him. We are all part of the body of Christ. There is no such thing as the one true church of God. (And if there are any WWCG people reading this, NO, I have not fallen victim to false teaching and demonic influence).

    ReplyDelete

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