In the first church I attended I thought the problems there were because of some of the congregation.
In the second church I attended I thought the problems there were because of the some of the congregation and the church leaders.
In the third church I attended I thought the problems there were because of some of the congregation, some of the church leaders and some of the regional and national leaders.
Now I don’t attend a church because I saw that the problem was much bigger than some of the congregation, some of the local leaders, some of the regional, national and international leaders.
The problem was everyone’s thinking (including mine). The problem was what I call our, “church system paradigm”.
When Joshua began to possess the Promised Land the first city he was told to take was Jericho, it was to be totally destroyed. God’s plan was that by the time Joshua was finished with that city, nothing would be left of it. Nothing.
I’m not too familiar with the history and religious practices of the ancient city of Jericho, but perhaps it was a capital city of false religion. Perhaps the people of that whole land of Canaan viewed Jericho as a kind of “central station” for all their religious belief, a sort of “worship centre” where every god, apart from the one true God, was venerated.
Certainly, God’s plan was to clean Canaan from its idolatry. He was bringing His people in, not because they were good, but because the people of Canaan were evil. Perhaps Jericho was the centre of that evil.
If so, the problem was not so much the people or the city of Jericho but the thinking (the reasoning) and the belief system that lay behind the city and its activities and practices. If Jericho represented the central belief system of the land of Canaan, then by totally destroying that city first, God’s message to the rest of the land was in effect, “it’s time for you to be transformed by the renewing of your minds”. In other words, it was time for a paradigm shift in Canaan.
Today, when I look at the problems in local churches, I do not see the problem connected with the churches or the system they are part of. I see the problem is much deeper than that; it is the church system paradigm (the “Jericho”) behind it all.
If Canaan represents our life in Christ and the fortified cities represent the strongholds in our mind that keep us from relating to God fully on His terms, then perhaps our “Jericho” is the church system paradigm and it needs to be totally destroyed. Just a thought.