Saturday, March 31, 2012

My views on Churchianity

Over the past month I have listened to some discussion as well as contributed my own views to the discussion. I have heard a discussion where believers were opposed to the idea of a small group ministry substituting 'traditional church'. I have also heard persons talking about traditional church services and attending these services as being very important as if these were the highest pinnacles of God's command. Participating and listening to these discussions grieve my spirit, as I know that what Christianity in the West is today, is inherited man-made traditions from which we need to break away and experience reformation.

I believe that the Christians in the West in general, and Jamaican Christians in particular, have a view of church that is different from that in the Bible. Our focus is so much on the building and programs (the so-called ministries), that we lose sight of the fact that the church is really the community of believers and that the early believers did not have a building for themselves from which they attended and conducted services.

Believers in the early church age went to the synagogues (clearly evident in the Acts of the Apostles) and gathered outside of the synagogues in houses and borrowed rooms or court yards/other land spaces to conduct their services and activities. There were more street meetings and house meetings than being within the four walls of a building called 'church' in the early church age. These services had no standardised rituals and liturgy has we have today. The believers did not go to a building at a set time each week to perform or carry out rituals. 'Christian' ceremonies today are man-made and not God-ordained, except for communion (which is another story) and baptism. Baby blessings, infant dedication, christening, funeral and wedding rites are all just cultural imports and adaptations of Jewish rites and traditions.

We must remember that Jesus warns that our traditions can come in the way of the commandments of God and in the way of true worship (Matthew 15:9; Mark 7:7). He states that true worshippers need not a place to worship God (John 4:23). We do a disservice to God, by erecting our own worship traditions and then insisting that these are how people must worship and to use these standards to judge others by. May I also remind you that Jesus went to the synagogues as a 'custom', but did his ministry both within the synagogue as well as outside and every day of the week. He needed not a set day to minister to the people, teach the people or heal them. But everyday to him was a day to do ministerial work. Jesus met the people where they were, and so the did the apostles, going into their market places, workplaces and their homes.

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