Confessions of a Former Churchgoer by Van Robison (for the Battered Sheep Ministry).
"At one time I was a completely deceived churchgoer. I was caught in a web of deception as a young adult with no worldly understanding or experience. I was mesmerized by the church pastors and their speaking abilities to persuade their captives, that they were God's representatives on earth. I took the correspondence course (Worldwide Church of God/Ambassador College under Herbert W. Armstrong), which led me through the Old Testament teachings that they insisted were to be obeyed as the means to eternal life. I was fully persuaded that the church hierarchy of authority was God ordained and that to question that authority was tantamount to questioning God. We faithfully attended Saturday Sabbath church services for years, paid tithes loyally and even observed annual 'Holyday' festivals that were considered 'God's Feasts.'
We were assured that our church organization was the one and only "true" church of God on earth, and all others were apostate."
"Jesus never intended that life in Christ is meant to be a religious ritual."
"Going to church routinely is not the definition of love, nor of being a Christ follower."
"I am fully persuaded that life in Christ is Christ living in us 24/7 and has not one iota of anything to do with going to church."
"Church organizations will always defend their existence, because it gives them power and money -- the very thing Jesus denounced the Pharisees for ..."
I think a number of the readers of this blog will find that this is very radical.
At risk of losing you, I have to say that I agree with a lot of what Van Robison is writing about. Quite a long time ago I realized that the NT doesn't actually say that followers have to go to a building called a church on Sundays, or Saturdays for that matter. However Jesus did say, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill..." (Matt. 5:17). So it is implied that the 'Law' of the OT (The Commandments) should still be followed. It is assumed that this includes resting on the seventh day - the Sabbath.
"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath ... " (Exodus 20:8). Note that there is still no mention of congregating in a building on the seventh day. Matthew 6:6 actually says that you should go to your room to pray and shut the door - presumably that would be a room in your house.
Nelson's Study Bible notes (after Leviticus 23:3) "... 'in all your dwellings' emphasized the universal nature of the Sabbath. It was not to be observed only in the sanctuary; it was to be celebrated in every household."
Word of the Day: NADIR
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