Friday, March 23, 2012

Why I Left The 'Church'

 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

*Note: When the author renders the word 'Church' as seen here, he is referring to today's main-Stream, Business Entity, Organizational Institutional 'Church' system we are all familiar with. When he renders the word church in all lower case lettering, he is referring to Christ's Authentic, Legitimate, House church, which He created and continues to build.

My wife and I had a couple over for dinner a few years ago just after I we left our 'Church.' The question was asked, "So, why did you leave?" At the time I really didn't have a complete answer for that question, nor was I fully prepared for it. After musing over this question for some time, I feel it might be beneficial to those still in an Institutional 'Church' that I reveal a more thought out and complete answer.

First, let me say that I harbor no bitterness towards my former 'Church' family. In fact, I still miss them terribly and wish the best for each member there. Most of them have been kind and gracious since my departure. Those who weren't so gracious at the time of my exodus are forgiven, for I understand how they feel. Although their reaction was not what I had hoped for, it was however, predictable. I am speaking of some of those among the so-called 'clergy,' not the general population of that body. One member of the clergy, a deacon and his wife, were very kind to us after we left. Others were not as gracious. Recently, I bumped into a family, which still attends my old haunt. They were very friendly and nice to me. I appreciate their attitude very much as it was a real pleasure to see them again. But whether they were nice to me or stand-offish, as others have been, had no bearing on why we had left.

The purpose for me writing this has to do with me getting my story out to those who may have been wondering why I did leave. It is also meant for those who may be going through the same struggles I went through just prior to my exit. My hope is that this piece might somehow help those who may be confused about the conflicting thoughts they may be experiencing in their own 'Churched' life and perhaps come to grips as to what to do about it. So, here is my story as to the whys and wherefores.

The biggest reason I fled wasn't the most obvious one. In fact, it took a few years to splice together the pieces necessary to make this complicated puzzle complete in my mind. It was almost like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube. My thought Process during that turbulent time was confusing. People there were behaving normally, but things still didn't seem 'right.' It was frustrating at times, but after a while, I finally broke the Rubik's code. The reason I left was so difficult to spot because it was so subtle. My conditioning had occurred over such a long period of time and throughout so many 'Church' Organizations, it was hard to put my finger on it. I realized that no assembly is perfect, especially an Institutional 'Church.' I just assumed, like so many others, that the Problems within such an organization were just a part of it's nature. It was the very definition of 'Dysfunction Palooza.' It's been said that those who leave a 'Church' because they are looking for the 'perfect Church,' will find that once they arrive, the 'Church' they went to won't be perfect any longer. Why? Because they will be there. In my case. I wasn't looking for a new 'Church' at all. I wasn't even interested in starting my own 'Church,' although I did try to have two meetings in my home just to have some sort of fellowship before the Lord guided me to focus on what the real Problem was. I guess I was going through withdrawals. I didn't want to ditch the fellowship; just the System, pet-doctrines, imposed traditions and over-lording of the clergy. I began to think that maybe I was in over my head, but I knew that what I was doing was somehow the right thing to do.

I'd like to call our attention to some inconsistencies that I have found within the Institutional 'Church' model. They have shown up in almost every 'Church' I have either visited or been a member of. Have we ever noticed that all of these 'Churches' create a theater-like atmosphere? They have a stage (platform), theater style seating, dimmed lighting, a sound system, a place for a singing group, special seating for the clergy overlooking all of the patrons? Have we noticed throughout the years how many affairs we've heard about regarding a pastor and a staff/parish member or student? And what about the reoccurring instances of children being sexually abused by their own pastors (both girls and boys)? Have we ever noticed how meetings are dealt with as business meetings and most are conducted in private? And what about the separation between the common member and the clergy? It's not commonly discussed, but it's defiantly there! Have we ever noticed how some members savagely Protect their pastors and seem to worship them more than they do Jesus? What about when the membership gets low in number? People worry that they will lose their precious building.

Have we ever seen our pastor get up on a Wednesday night and holler about how low the amount of tithes being received have been lately? What about the constant Promotions, which cost more and more money? Have we ever asked to look at where the money is being spent for the year? Have we ever noticed how the senior pastor runs the whole show as if it were his own business? What about the excessive funds that are spent just for advertising? And what about the thousands that are spent each month on the Property upkeep and payroll? Not to mention that everything about the service is scripted! They tell us when to sit and when to stand. At the close of the sermon, the pastor has the pianist play a soft tune to get people in the mood to either give or spill their guts all over the front steps of the platform they call an 'altar.' Oooooh, the drama!

The pastor gives an invitation where he asks everyone to close their eyes so that no one is looking around. Then he asks those who have a Problem with a certain sin to raise their hands so that he alone can "Pray for you" even though you know darn well others are looking around anyway. What he just did was encourage those in the auditorium to confess their sins to a man! Christ says we are to confess our sins before Him alone in secret. The spotlight is constantly on the preacher. He is the focal point. He's the one who controls the mic. He's the one who appoints the staff. He is the one who is before all of the people when Scripture shows over and over that he should be in the background. Isn't Jesus supposed to be the Prominent One Who get's all of the attention? Isn't He supposed to be lifted up before men? Isn't the spotlight supposed to shine on Him? So why is the pastor the big attraction?

What about the way disagreements are settled? It's like being inside a war zone at times, isn't it? If we are to fight, we are supposed to fight the devil, not each other! When a scandal is revealed there are divisions drawn and sides taken. Member is suing member. Family members do not speak to one another for years. Members taunting other members. Camps of famous preachers crop up. Every 'Church' seems to disagree in doctrine and believe they are the only ones who are right. Pride sets in which feeds the flesh. And I'm only speaking about 'Churches' of common beliefs! Baptists don't agree with Baptists anymore than Catholics believe the same way as Presbyterians! They are not all in one accord. They do not have all things in common. It is true that there have been divisions recorded in Scripture, but they served as an example of what not to do and how to correct the errors and attitudes involved. Today, these passages are grossly overlooked, if not ignored. Bad advice is freely thrown around by pastors and their staff. Sunday School teachers and Superintendents are Prosecuted by the parents of the student for putting their hands on them to break up a fight, which their little angel started. Do any of these examples ring a bell with anyone? Have we ever noticed these things? Are these the traits that describe a Christ led church? Where in the world do we see this model of 'Church' spoken of in Scripture as the one we are to emulate? Wait! There's more! I've noticed other characteristics which seem prevalent in most Institutional 'Churches.'

I discovered that each 'Church' develops it's personality traits based upon it's leadership. When the 'leader' fails, normally the Institution continues on by recruiting another leader in typical business fashion. Most times they down play the downfall of the former leadership and implement a plan of 'damage control' so that the organization lives on. The fact is, all of the pastors in the early church years were home grown. They didn't recruit from outside as they do today. Today, all a new pastor needs is a resume and a favorable recommendation from a famous preacher! When the members find out who he studied under they gush all over themselves saying, "Did you know that Bro. So-N-So served under Pastor Mega-'Church' for five whole years?" We are more impressed by this so-called pedigree than anything else! For centuries we have been wrongly taught that 'Church' is a business model and business decisions have to be made. Personnel, finances and logistics are to be considered sometimes over what God wants. Many times God is asked to intervene, but His principles found in Scripture are ignored and tossed aside in favor of man's conventional wisdom. When something goes wrong with the pastor and he is either removed or leaves, the typical mindset of the staff is that "the Show must go on" no matter how embarrassing the scenario might seem. This behavior isn't from God's leading. Why? Because Jesus has nothing to do with the Institutional 'Church' model. These Problems are a result of man's traditions and these 'Churches' are being held to their own pitiful device.

If Christ is the church's Leader, there is no dysfunction, unless the church refuses to follow His Leadership and His Holy Spirit's teaching. This is evident when reading the First letter to the Corinthian church. To be fair, the Corinthian church did not have the whole New Testament available to them to make corrections from as we do today. They, at first only had Paul's corrective letter to guide them until other letters from other churches followed. Apparently, after they received that first letter, it was sufficient enough to steer them in the right direction because we never read about Problems from their neck of the woods again! But the Institute has the entire Bible to look at and they're still content in going in the wrong direction. Other church ages are guilty as well. We can see this chronicled in the Book of Revelation as Christ reprimands them in John's vision. By the way, these different church ages are home based churches that are written about. Home churches are not immune to having false doctrine seep in either. But today, we see disturbing evidence that Programs, Properties and Preachers have become the Institute's true gods. It's very similar to the Jews making the sabbath their god in Jesus' day. Don't get me wrong. I know that some of the worst churches can, and Probably could have been home-based. But, compared to the Institute, they acted like angels. The Institutional model wasn't included in Jesus' assessment of His church ages because the Institute isn't part of that group. They're in a whole other category, which is written about in Revelation 16-18.

The first thing I realized, after much investigation in Scripture, is that Christ's model for church is supposed to be separate from being a business. This truth took a long time to sink in with me. What convinced me was the fact that Scripture over rides the philosophy of business 'Church,' which has been taught as a staple throughout our Institutional 'Churches' for hundreds of years. Business 'Church' has been ingrained in the minds of most of us from birth. We've been conditioned to believe this is the way the Lord intended. It finally came into focus in my mind that Christ's model for church was never meant to be a business or to be run as one. I realized that it didn't matter which 'Church' I belonged to at the time of my departure. Once I realized the connection of Organized Religion as a business, masquerading as Christ's true model for church, I knew I had to get out of there. All that mattered was that I left according to the command of my Lord to, "come out from among them and be ye separate." I left because this is what He wants from His followers. How can I presume this? Just read the above Scripture again and again until it sinks in! Remember, we have many years and layers of conditioning to penetrate through. For some, this simple truth never will. But to those who are open to Biblical truth, no matter how it disagrees with their 'Church' up-bringing, it will eventually make a whole lot of sense. Once one realizes that this is what the Lord wants, the first common reaction is fear of the unknown. "What will I do? Where will I take my family? How will I fill the void? What would people say?" Believe me, all these thoughts and more will flood in. Don't be alarmed. When we get rid of a bad thing in our lives for Christ, He always fills the voids.

Again, the people at my old 'Churches' weren't the Problem. They are merely unwitting captives held in a matrix of lies. The only major things they have going for them is a sincere heart, God's Word at their disposal and the knowledge of the Gospel. But most of them don't even know the difference between Christ's model for church and Satan's. It was the Organizational, business-like, corporate-structured entity run under the wishes of, not God, but man that is the Problem. Tradition crept in and we were sucked into it. It is like Tarzan being born of royalty yet being raised by a family of apes. When he grew up, he didn't know the difference between his nobility and being a savage. When I realized that Christ's church didn't require two classes of people, namely clergy (the apes) and laity (the unsuspecting royalty), I began to think outside the box and see how Christ's church in the Bible operated.

There was no so-called "Apostolic Succession" mentioned in the Bible. The clergy made that up as a way to gain control over the masses. And, they did a mighty fine job of it too! One of the tools they used was the Nissan Creed. Look it up. Most Christian 'Churches' recite this creed not realizing it is Catholic in it's inception. Early on, beginning in the first few centuries men such as Clement, Ignatius, Augustine and others began and implemented the ideas of the Institute and eventually were called the "Church Fathers." These are the ones who started to divide the flock into two separate categories, namely the clergy and the laity. After they did that, their new rules and traditions were taught and even enforced, sometimes in a brutal way. One only needs to read other posts in this blog on the subject on tithing to get a clear picture of how distorted God's Law had become through the manipulation of the clergy. In short, our freedoms in Christ, financial and otherwise, were taken away through the traditions and conditioning of the minds of men. I remember making a Promise to myself when I first was saved. That is, if the 'Church' I was attending taught doctrine differently than what the Bible teaches, I would remove myself from it. Maybe that sounds over-simplistic, but to this day, I find that was a wise decision to make.

Christ's church model operates in the spirit of equality. There was no mention of pastors having power over the people in the Bible. They were spiritual guides making sure that false doctrines didn't creep in. No mention of tithing off one's income to support a pastor who was stationed locally. These men could seek gainful employment to support their families outside of the church. They didn't start entertaining the idea of the tithe for support, in America at least, until the Bill of Rights was published. Before that, support in the form of assessments (taxes) were imposed through intimidation, threats and ungodly enforcement. The Bible never mentioned having to gain Property to build on. In fact, the Lord Promised the destruction of the Temple in favor of the new temples of the heart for God to dwell in. I had realized that 'Church' as we know it today is a counterfeit. We've been swayed through generations of men's traditions to believe it is God's model. We've been duped by the duped.

His church is still around, only most do not see it because we don't use the advertising methods Institutional 'Churches' do. Why? Because we have no business with the need to attract people in to pay for the expenses associated with supporting a business entity. The Institute thinks that folks who meet in homes are crackpots, or the Institutional 'Church' will employ a Program to emulate house church for their skittish converts to make an easy and gradual transition into the Institutional model. It's a scam to influence unsuspecting people into adopting the same man-made traditions that the Institution has. And the biggest of those traditions is the Income Tithe. I begun to realize that the Income Tithe doctrine coupled with Senior Pastoral "authority" creating the Institutional 'Church,' where these three elements were woven together like threads in some evil tapestry. When the thread of Income Tithing was pulled out, it unraveled the whole rug.

History shows that the true house church has been arrested, hunted down, tortured, burned at the stake, and murdered publically for the amusement of those who were members of their Institution. Nowadays, murder isn't accepted as entertainment as it was for the Institution centuries ago. Now they just discredit Christ's true model: house church. We are targeted as people who commit hate crimes such as praying and studying God's Word in a house instead of a licensed building. To the 'Church' and government Establishments, house church assemblies are a major threat because they naturally undermine their sense of control. Why do you think the Romans Empire fed Christians to the lions or the Roman 'Church' fought the Crusades and implemented the Inquisition? Christ's non aggressive and non-Profit model threatened the Institute's ability to bring in the tithes. They wanted to snuff Christ's true church out for good in favor of their own wicked concoction. Why? Power and control. It sounds too simple and egocentric doesn't it? But, that is the nature of man without God.

The clergy gained power through self-Proclaimed 'rights' and self-created imposed doctrines and rules. They created and gained their titles and degrees to impress their followers and led them into fields of spiritual improprieties and deceptions. Lasciviousness and greed go on at a rampant pace. Sexual sin by the clergy is running a muck. Wresting of the Scriptures is spreading itself like the plague. I found myself recounting the times I saw or heard of these things happening within the Institution's ranks until I beheld a collage' of events as one gruesome work of art. A masterpiece to it's creator, Satan. A distasteful 'graffiti' stained with unseemly gestures of pollution to those who have run from it's toxic sights and sounds. But to those who are still involved, it looks like a pleasant picture framed in gold. Organized Religion is a siren indeed. She dresses in many different styles and suits. She appeals to those with differing tastes and expectations. But, she is always selling the same thing. Hopeless hope, comfortless comfort and Promise-less Promises.

To those who choose to embrace her deceitful song I feel only sadness, for they are viewing not Christ as their Leader, but a fake clocked in His name. If they have trusted Christ as their Saviour, I say, Praise God! But that wasn't the clergy's brainchild. If Satan had left it up to them, the Gospel would have been buried within its Institutional walls through intense suppression. It took God's Providence to bring along the printing press so that the common man can have the Bible restored into their hands. Before that, the only place to get a copy of God's Word was from the crazies hiding out in the woods and caves such as the Ana-Baptists. When the printing press arrived, this is when the Gospel had it's maximum exposure. That was the time of the "Great Awakening." This is how far, for the good of men's souls the Institute has come. Actually, they had no choice. Either accept the peoples excitement over getting God's Word in print or risk losing whatever hold they had on them altogether.

The printed Bible didn't come through the Institutional 'Church.' It came from the hands of a simple, uneducated man in Germany. The Institutional 'Church' only gets this far because the people refused to give up the Gospel. Believe me, the Institution tried to suppress it through the Inquisition for centuries! I guess they figured that if you can't beat 'em, they would infiltrate, counterfeit and take control of 'em. But unfortunately, just because one is saved from Hell does not mean he is in God's will as to where He wants him to worship and grow. We, as His children, are not a part of His church if we are a member if an Institutional 'Church.' His church has no membership roll! It doesn't require money or a building to be a local, physical assembly. It doesn't need a leader called an Under Shepherd (I challenge you to find that term in the Bible!). A Senior Pastor, Priest or Bishop who is paid like the president of a corporation to wield power from behind a pulpit or in an office is not "the man of God" no matter how many doctorates and accolades are laid upon him. Christ is our Senior Pastor. His church is run on the Power of the Holy Spirit, not the funds collected from the perish.

When I discovered these realities, I discovered freedom in Christ's way of follow-ship. This is not a charismatic idea. There are no notions of changing Scripture or imposing ungodly practices. Jesus intended His church to meet in intimate small groups so that they would be guided to reach the lost for Him. His church was meant to be family oriented. The church is to spread from house to house and engulf the local community. God would raise up men to guide His sheep into a world of godly behavior and testimony through good works and a kind witness. We aren't meant to be a network for contacts or business Proposals. We are meant to be Christ-like in all we do as a testimony to the lost. His church isn't supposed to become some side-show where people come to hear the gospel. The gospel is to be brought to the masses outside of the church. Think about it for a moment; why do saved people need to hear the gospel over and over if they are already saved? They don't need to be saved again! They need to be trained on how to share the gospel outside of the church!

The Main-Steam 'Church' Establishment of today wants to entertain and control. It incorporates a name for itself. It couples itself with the State whether it realizes it or not. It is governed not by God's rules, but man's. The people of these 'Churches' have been deceived to believe we are to bow to our government and it's dictates. This is done through the twisting of Scripture from behind the pulpits of those who want to keep the peace with their government partnerships. Without searching the Scriptures earnestly to see if what they are teaching is true, they allow themselves to be led away into a false belief system. We certainly have a lot to learn from the Bereans. Christ's Traditional Home-Based church is designed by Him to become a seat of family and spiritual growth. It is a base to reach the lost outside our meeting place. When I realized that the simplicity which is in Christ has been brushed aside by greedy man, I had to leave. If it's not Christ's model, it's someones else's model. Jesus didn't create several different brands of 'Churches.' He created one local, physical assembly where, He is our Leader and Him alone. He was able to direct me to His model of church and filled the void I once felt when I stepped out of the Institute by faith. The only thing I had going for me was His Promise of guidance and acceptance in the above Scripture. If I was making the wrong move, I knew I would be forgiven by Him and those kind people who remained within the Institute. I knew I wasn't though, because His Word is consistent. I just needed to listen and obey. I knew He would take care of the rest.

Those who may be struggling with the inconsistencies of 'Churched' life and how it operates opposite from what Scripture says, I ask that a closer look is made as to who His church really belongs to. Christ's Word is not only our guideline, but our only Authority. Let us treat it as such, shall we? We are a family, not a business entity. If that simple truth rings true with us, and it should, we have no business being a part of a man-made entity which is disguised as a 'Church.' It's time to leave the building. May the LORD give us the courage and faith to follow through. So, in the end I thought, "How could all of these errors, throughout all of these centuries gone uncorrected and still be considered the standard for Jesus' model for His church?" There's no way that it could. I found that man's performance in their 'Church' did not measure up to Christ's standards for His church. How could I, in good conscious, remain in this world of error and deception? These are the reasons why I left my Institutional 'Church.' It wasn't because of my dear brothers and sisters. It was because I finally recognized that His church is a family and Satan's model is a organizational business entity posing as something it isn't. May the Lord help us to see the difference.


  1. Thank you for sharing your heart and conviction .FF

  2. May I ask what you do now for worship, fellowship, and assembling together with other saints? Do you meet with other Christians locally in homes? Do you just worship with your own family? How do you explain to your family why you "departed from the faith" and "dipped the banner?" I am genuinely interested. For the last 43 years I am immersed about as deeply in the institutional (IFB) "church" as one can be; but only recently, for the first time, I am not either a decon's son, a deacon myself, the pastor's son, a music director, a full-time minister, a sunday school teacher, a Bible college student, a choir member, a department head, secretary of the board, or in any kind of leadership position. For the first time in my life, I have been able to take a step back and ask honest, objective questions about things that never added up. I feel I can now study the Bible to learn what it teaches, rather than studying it to a pre-determined and expected end. It is a tremendous freedom, yet I have so many questions to work through still. Please pray for me, and don't take my question as a critical one, but one of sincerity. I do wish to post this as anonymous right now, as my wife is still a full-time staff member as her regular profession.

    1. Good questions all. That's where we need to begin; with questions. I've discovered that until I started asking questions, that's when the lights came on. Many around you will discourage this and counter with statements like, "Have faith in your 'Church' leaders,..." and so on. No! Have faith in God and His Word. Be Spirit led, not clergy castrated. They see only what Satan want them to see. There's a difference between the church in the Bible and 'Church' today. One is a small gathering in homes to fellowship, read Scripture, help others, win souls and worship and pray to our God. Institutional 'Church' seems the same, but it's not. It's a knock-off. Institutional 'Church' requires faculty, facilities and funding. House church needs no funding. But for me to answer your questions, some of the terms used in your query need to be redefined a bit because they're from an Institutional mind-set. Case in point: You asked, "what do I do now for worship?" and "how do I explain to my family why I 'departed from the faith?' To answer your second question, I never did depart from the faith. I still have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as my only and true Saviour to take care of me now and in the future. I only withdrew from a facsimile of what church is supposed to be. I traded up man's version of 'Church' for God's. I worship my God, the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible in my prayer closet or when I'm alone, in most cases. When I see my brothers and sisters in Christ at a church meeting, we attend in homes on a regular basis. We meet locally in about seven homes on a rotation basis. There are no memberships or titles, except what is shown in Scripture. We have a plurality of elders. There is no one Sr. pastor dictatorship. Our elders (pastors) are identified and recognized by the body through character and their knowledge and walk with God, not scholastic academics, credentials and titles. In an Institutional 'Church', pastors are selected by an interview process as a professional. In house church, the elders work a job or have a profession of their own and are not financially supported by the body. I have an article entitled, 'Should Pastors Be Paid?' that explains our position on this point in detail. Articles like this were aimed at the questioning 'Churched' member (you) so that you can see from many different angles what's right with Christ's model for church and what's wrong with man's model. Know this first: When Christ began His church in Israel, it was a Fellowship. When it was carried to Greece, it became a Philosophy. A long time after it arrived in Rome, it became an Institution. When it spread out through Europe, it became a Culture. And, when it crossed over to America, it became an Enterprise. This is not what the Lord had in mind when we read of the accounts regarding the first century church. I suggest reading some articles such as, 'The Squared Triangle', '52 Assumptions...of Faith and Practice Parts 1 & 2', 'Twenty Questions For Tithers'.,'Take The Tithe Test', 'Should Churches Have A Name?', 'A Deacons Ordination', 'Church Without Clergy', 'Reaching The Saved Who Are Lost', 'Does Hebrews Seven Teach Us To Tithe?', 'What Is The Tithe Cycle and Who Was Exempt From Tithing?' 'The Hireling', and 'Is Church a Multi-Billion Dollar A Year Industry?'. I understand from where you come, my friend. Here's praying that your journey out of man's 'Churched' matrix and into God's true will become a reality for you and your loved ones. I know it's frustrating that most will still embrace the safety of their imaginary cocoons despite the proofs you will undoubtedly share with the. Prepare to make a choice between pleasing God or men. ~Blessings.

    2. Thank you for your quick reply and helpful insights. I read many of your articles yesterday and find them very encouraging and helpful. You are correct in saying its frustrating. Trying to reconcile the only things I've known since I was 5 years old with what scripture actually teaches isn't working any more; and yet, I want to be absolutely certain that some of the conclusions I have been coming to regarding the structure and practices of the modern church are indeed conclusions from God. Thank you for your help and prayers.