Monday, March 11, 2013

The institutionalisation and corruption of Protestant Christianity

This week, I read Tooley's (2013) article putting in perspective the end of mainline Protestant churches, as the National Council of Churches abandons New York City for a shelter in D.C. Tooley's (2013) article basically raised the issue of the decline of Protestant churches politically as force to be reckoned with in American politics. In this post, I want to particularly explore some issues related to his article, especially as it relates to the corruption of Christianity by the powerful and liberal elite.

First, I must say that I learned from Tooley that the Rockefeller family and other New York elites were sponsors of the National Council of Churches. This is not a good sign, considering the rumour that the Rockefelllers are Illuminati members (Dice, 2009) and partners of  the infamous Bilderberg group (Lendman, 2009). Yet, conspiracies and rumours aside, consider this quotation from Tooley:

His father having recently died, John D. Rockefeller III was present at the dedication to honor the Interchurch Center as the fulfillment of his father’s dream of a new Christianity without denominational distinctions. Although he didn’t then specify it, the Rockefellers also dreamed of a uniformly liberal Protestantism devoted to good works instead of doctrine. The elder Rockefeller donated the land for the Interchurch Center plus over $2.6 million for costs.
Ironically, nearly all the Mainline denominations housed there would begin their nearly 50-year membership decline just a few years later. A sanitized Protestantism without doctrine or distinctions simply became too boring to sustain. In the early 1960s, about one of every six Americans belonged to the seven largest Mainline denominations. Today, it’s one out of every 15.
 Explicitly stated here is the revelation that the Rockerfeller family had a vision to purge Protestant denominations of "doctrine" and create a "new Christianity". In addition, Protestant institutions that got involved with Rockerfeller's vision, suffered a decline in their numbers. Further, another quote from Tooley shows that being aligned to elite and powerful men was the priority of Protestant churches in the 1960s, with an ecumenical aim.

Likely unable to conceive of such a dramatic spiral, the NCC’s chief pronounced at the Interfaith Center’s 1960 dedication: “It is the prayer of all who worked toward its creation that this will become more than a symbol of the growing spiritual unity of Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Churches in America.” Those days were heady times for the Mainline denominations, who were flush with members, money and influence. Church offices in the God Box then claimed to represent 40 million church members.

In fact, Tooley also mentions a German Lutheran bishop warning at the Interchurch Center’s 1960 dedication, against the “institutionalization” of churches, noting that a beautiful building and organization were of “no avail without true faith.” As the Apostle Paul would say: with our institutionalized churches, we have a institutionalised a form of godliness, but deny the power that makes us godly (2 Timothy 3:5). Which brings me to my personal point.

I have benefitted from institutional and bureaucratic church socially, economically, emotionally, spiritually and even psychologically. However, the more I study the Bible, experience life and the contradictions between how church and church people operate and how the Bible actually records early church life and even Jewish culture at the time of Jesus, the more I realise something is wrong. As beneficial as institutional and bureaucratic church is, and as enriching as it is to me and my family, institutional and bureaucratic church can no longer imprint in me the image or character that I see in Jesus Christ.

Church as practiced today simplifies Christian living to:
  • church attendance, 
  • giving tithes and offerings to church charities, 
  • participating in church activities and services,
  • doing good deeds for church members and 
  • spending time trying to increase the membership of the church organisation (including doing good deeds for outsiders with the goal of winning them over to the church).  
Nothing is inherently wrong with any of these activities. However, when I exam Jesus and even the apostles, the way that they practice "church" was more subversive to the cultural, social and economic order. First of all, I do not see Jesus or even the church in Acts as owning property or buildings. They shared what they own and helped others. In this regard, they were socialist or almost communist. Today, Christianity is highly linked to democratic capitalism and many denominations own many properties. At the same time, the budgets of churches are focused on trivial budgetary items such as property maintenance or acquisition. Each time I hear churches talking about setting aside money to redo the tiles or carpets of the floor of the church building, or the interior or even get gowns and musical instruments to improve their 'worship service', my spirit is disturbed. And to think that there are people who are in poverty who need help getting an education and subsequently a job to sustain their own life. To make matters worse, there are even members of the same church, that while they are giving their tithes and offerings to help renovate the church building interior, they themselves are living in rent house. Compare this with the church in the book of Acts, where people met in each other's houses and other spaces and public places in order to fellowship and worship. Isn't something wrong with the picture?


Dice, M. (2009). The Illuminati: Facts & fiction. The Resistance: San Diego, CA.

Lendman, S. (2009, June 1). The true story of the Bilderberg group and what they may be planning now: A review of Daniel Estulin's book. Global Research, Retrieved from:

Tooley, M. (2013, March 1). End of the mainline: The declining National Council of Churches abandons New York City for shelter in D.C. The American Spectator. Retrieved from

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