Alienization of Church from Christ
by Joshua - Ashish Macwan
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Today the fact may be alarming and uncomfortable for us as the believers and disciples of Christ Jesus, but it’s the naked truth, “We the Body of Christ –The Church are alienating from the source under whose control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint, with which it is provided- Christ Himself.
Alienization is a like a cancer which reveals itself when most of the damage has been done. As cancer cells grows and multiply slowly and gradually, devouring the good cells and making room for itself, so is the process of Alienization; a process of slow death. By the time it shows its full effect many Christians are spiritually dead and back-sliden and are lost for eternity!!
For the Glory our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus I hereby share with all the beloved members of the body of Christ some of major reasons of Church’s Alienization from Christ, which the Lord has put in my spirit, I hope and pray to the Lord that this article will help us to renew our relationship with Christ; For God blesses the soil which drinks in the rain that often falls on it and which grows plants that are useful to those for whom it is cultivated. But if it grows thorns and weeds, it is worth nothing; it is in danger of being cursed by God and will be destroyed by fire.
Following are the major reasons of why Church is Alienating from Christ: -
1) Theological Differences: -
From millenniums and centuries gone by “Theological Differences” have played vital role in alienating believer from Christ!! Christianity and Church has been marred and been persecuted not by the outer world but we the Christians often have become the source of bringing reproach to Holy one of Israel. Today mushroom churches are found at every corner of the street and avenues, all having their own statement to validate “Christ and Christianity”. In doing so we have some how divided Christ in denominations. The church in Corinth was not immune to problem we are facing at present; even at that time people were quarreling and fighting causing differences by saying different things from each other. One said that,”I follow Paul”, another, “I follow Peter”, and another, “I follow Christ”. Christ has been divided into groups! Was it Paul who died on the cross for you? Were you baptized as Paul’s disciples? Today we take pride in relating ourselves with a famous church, ministry or denomination, but the “So-Called”, “Theological Different” Churches, ministries and denominations have failed to recognize “Christ as the source of the body”; yes we confess with our mouth and believe from our heart that Christ is Lord and He has been raised from God yet we have failed to remain in unity, we ourselves have divided Christ in different denominations, just as those soldiers who mocked “ Crucified Christ & divided his garments amongst themselves by throwing lot for them”!
Today we need to become like Paul who boldly says, “ Christ did not send me to baptize. He sent me to tell the Good News, and to tell it without using the language of human wisdom, in order to make sure that Christ’s death on the cross is not robbed of its power”.
2) Denominational Barriers: -
Often we reject and feel rejected by other believers. In this age of branding and labeling, sadly the believers are also been labeled and branded by the name of denominations and their values. Each one of those likes to be characterized and viewed differently in the world and within the body of Christ. Even in the time of Christ’s ministry there were “Pharisees & Sadducees” who had their own set of belief’s and values; then there were Jews who professed their own denominational values- Both of them thought they know true God and true religion, but their beliefs and denominational values were not only sabotaging God’s word but also was keeping other people out of Kingdom of God. While the Kingdom of God was expanding amongst Jews and Gentiles, there were people, says Bible that forced the Gentiles to get circumcised in order to get recognized with them and their denominational values, nullifying the costly sacrifice of Christ Jesus who died on the cross of Calvary fulfilling the requirements of Old Testament and establishing a New Covenant in which man is justified by faith and not by deeds alone. Bible clearly says that know we are all one in Christ Jesus, no one is rich or poor, no one is Jew or Gentile, for Christ came in this world to save sinner’s and we all have sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence. God does not see our physical circumcision but it is heart that matter’s most to the God.
3) Social & Cultural Barriers: -
One of the biggest threat to the church is often we are bound by set of social and cultural norms and values. We as believers have failed to recognize that when we come to know the saving Grace of our Heavenly Father and get saved by His Son Christ Jesus; it is no more about ourselves or our old self and the social and cultural norms we used to follow; For now we are new in Christ Jesus, everything old has passed away and all things have become new!! Christ Jesus was confronted with the issue raised up Pharisees and teachers of the Law, “Why is it that your disciples disobey the teaching handed down by our ancestors? They don’t wash their hands in the proper way before they eat!”- To which Jesus said to them that, “ It is not what goes in a person’s mouth into his stomach and then comes out through his body makes it ritually unclean, but the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these are the things that make a person ritually unclean.” Paul too encountered the same issues while he briefly answered the questions that were been raised by the church of Corinth’s concerning issues such as marriage, food offered to idols, covering the Head in Worship, Lord’s Supper and other issues that were troubling the people in Corinth. Paul in the leading of the Holy Spirit gave key to the believers in Corinth, “ Live in such a way as to cause no trouble either to Jews or Gentiles or to the Church of God. Just do as I do; I try to please everyone in all that I do, not thinking of my own good, but of the good of all, so that they might be saved.”
4) Denying God’s Sovereignty: -
Often we come across faith statements of the church, which are written in Bold Letters, “We Believe”, by doing so we claim to profess our faith in our God and accept the authority of His infallible word in the church as well our personal lives. But as Isaiah says, “ These people, says God, honor me with their words but their heart is really far away from me. It is no use to them to worship me, because they teach man-made rituals as though they were my laws.” This was and is the true picture today in many Christian Churches. Yes we all believe in Christ yet when the real time comes to accept God’s word and do as it says, we fall short in doing so. Bible says that we should not be just the hearers of the word of God but the doers too, for if we only hear and do not do what it says then we are deceiving ourselves. We as Church like to hung around the cross rather then take the cross and walk after our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, which He has commanded us to do. We are at ease when we are not passing through testing times, trial or persecutions or when don’t have to make a challenging and serious decision which would matter most of our lives and Churches. As the Israelites did the present church also seems to be bounded by the Spirit of Waywardness; for Israelites had tendency to enjoy blessings and good times but when it came to observe God’s commandment and follow them, they often failed to do so or rather they tried to accustom God’s word according to their comfort ability. The present Church also has accustomed itself to man-made rituals and laws & has failed to heed the voice of the Lord and do what the Lord commands us to do. The Lord who has commanded, “Do not steal, Do not Kill, Do not commit adultery, has also commanded us to Love Another, but sadly Church has failed to do so.
5) Conditional love and acceptance: -
The most important and basic foundation of Christian faith is “Love”. Bible says that God is Love and He loves us unconditionally. His love is agape. His love for us is manifested in this: While we were yet sinners Christ died for our sins.” It is not we have first loved the God but He has loved us and has sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. God loves us and accepts us irrespective of our numerous sins and short-comings yet we the church love our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, conditionally, we accept them not as the Lord has asked us to rather we make our own benchmark for other people to get our acceptance in our Christianly relationship. We all behave like the mob that was gathered to stone to death the woman caught in adultery, we all are ready to stone our own brother’s and sister’s in Church when we find something disturbing or some thing sinful about them- what a pity state do we live in! How easily we forget that the stones we are throwing against them can one day come and fatally wound us also- For no one of us is righteous says the word of God, we all sin and fall; yet we accept others to love us and accept us unconditionally but when our turn comes to act gracefully and mercifully we bring “If’s and But’s”- but beware, for whoever says that he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is in the darkness to this very hour.
6) Unforgiveness & Stubbornness: -
Many churches and Christians are broken and split apart because of the Unforgiveness and stubbornness of their hearts. Jesus has said that “Forgive one another as I have forgiven you. For if you will not forgive others of their sins, then My Father in the heaven shall also not forgive you your sins.” In his parable of Unforgiving Servant, Christ says that the King forgave all the debt and let go the servant when he begged King to patiently deal with him; yet the same man failed to show compassion and mercy towards one of his fellow servant from whom he had to recover his debt. He grabbed and started chocking his debtor, he refused to hear his plea, forgive him and deal with him mercifully; instead he made him throw in the jail; but the other servants went to the King in search of justice and when the King came to know that this was the same man whose whole debt he forgave, King said that you should have had mercy on your fellow-servant, just as I had mercy on you. King became angry with him and sent him to jail to be punished until he should pay back the whole amount.” Today there are many of us who are playing role of the unforgiving servant, we fail to forgive our trespassers and constantly keep on harboring hatred and resentful feelings towards our fellow church members which results into divisions, confusions, groupism and favoritism, leading into back-sliding of the believers and further Alienization of Christ from the church.
7) Self-Centeredness & Self-Righteousness: -
Christianity and church has been terrorized by the self-centeredness and self-righteousness. Christ has given us a wonderful example of being humble, low and meek and servant hood, when He washed his disciples feet at the last supper, revealing the true example of how a Christ’s disciple and His church should be. Jesus never lived a self-centered life but He lives a people centered life.
Israelites who had law always felt proud of their relationship with God. They boasted of their self-righteousness by living a life fulfilling Law; but they failed to please God by their Faith in the Messiah that was sent by God the Father as a fulfillment of the prophetic word that He had spoken through His Holy Prophets. Israelites failed to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of Most High God and the Redeemer; rather they put thrust on external ceremonies like Circumcision. The Stone that the builders rejected became capstone and that capstone has made many people stumble, even Born-Again Christians have stumbled and have fallen for they have also tried to justify themselves in the front of God through deeds, they have failed to heed that “Faith without deeds is a dead faith”. That righteousness is not gained or achieved by doing what Law requires but by having faith in Christ Jesus, the one who is able to help us live a pure, holy and upright life through the Holy Spirit that He has given to all those who believe in Him.
A good example of self-centeredness is found in the New Testament, in the parable of Rich Fool. Through this parable of rich fool, Jesus Christ reveals unto us the true state of a person who is so self-centered. The man puts trust in his own wealth and hoards for himself in consideration of his secure future physical life, but he fails to secure his eternal life. Today church also has failed to invest for eternal relationship with Christ Jesus. Churches toady has become source of exhibiting and hoarding of money and fixed deposits with banks but what God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.
8) Groupism & Favoritism: -
The most vicious and dangerous of all reasons that have played a vital role in alienating Church from Christ is “Groupism and Favoritism”. Today the body of Christ is divided in groups and divisions. Almost in every church we come across to groups one who represents them-selves to be Believer’s and other those that are called Non-Believer’s. Believer’s groups generally are those who profess their faith in Christ Jesus but they fail to walk just like Christ did; they know the commandments of the God yet they fail to live their lives as per the Law of Kingdom of God, they claim to have fellowship with Christ but fail to have cordial, loving and forgiving relationships with the other group in the church. They like to be called and recognized as Believer’s but they never make an effort to be called and live as “Disciple’s of Christ Jesus.” Fact is that as in the time of Christ’s ministry there were people following him with their own selfish desires and motives so are some of us that hover around Christ to fulfill our own hidden desires and agenda’s. Just as the James and John sons of Zebedee came to Jesus and said, “ When you sit on your throne in your glorious Kingdom, we want you to let us sit with you, one at your right and one at your left.” Hearing upon this the other ten disciples got angry with James and John. Jesus called them and said, “ You know that the men who are considered rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one you wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, he must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.” Believer’s today although deny outwardly that they aren’t interested in any position in Church but the fact is just as James and John the sons of Zebedee and the other disciples of Christ Jesus, we the believer’s are more interested in administration and other power centered places in the Churches.
Non-believers are those who know the truth but they deny the truth and are always at opposition of spiritual things that helps the church to grow and develop in Christ Jesus and reach out the world with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Non- Believer’s generally are those who live their lives by the laws of the carnal world and deny the commandments of the Living Lord. Both the parties cannot be justified for both are at fault and fail to please God, for Church is not place of politics or groupism but a place of healing, deliverance, restoration and brotherhood.
James in his epistle warns all God’s people scattered over the world about the favoritism. He says, “You must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance. Suppose a rich man wearing a gold ring and the fine clothes come to your meeting, and a poor man is ragged in clothes also comes. If you show more respect to the well-dressed man and say to him, “Have this best seat here”, but you say to the poor man, “Stand over there, or sit here on the floor by my feet.” Then you are guilty of creating distinctions amongst yourselves and making of judgments based on evil motives.” But today the fact is the Pastor/ minister himself is involved in practicing favoritism and often he is the cause of bringing spiritual turmoil in the church.
9) Lack of Knowledge: -
God says that, “My people perish because of the lack of knowledge.” Today church- The Sheep’s have failed to heed the voice of their Shepherd and have entertained the voice of “So-Called Spiritual Father’s and Leaders” and have gone astray from the source of their true Master and Lord, Christ Jesus. Some how church has failed to personally acquire the true knowledge and wisdom from the word of God. Just as teachers of the Law and Pharisees gave to God a tenth even of the seasoning herbs, such as mint, dill and cumin, but neglected to obey the really important teachings of the Law, such as Justice, mercy and honesty; so we the present church has also failed to do, we are not more then bunch of Hypocrites, for we try and justify our selves in the sight of God by doing what is good in the eyes of world but we fail to obey the commandment Christ has given, “Love one another just as I have loved you.”
Beloved saints, Christ is coming to take His Bride, which is pure, holy, creaseless and without any stains; Christ prayed to the Heavenly Father, “ I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. I gave them the same Glory that you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one; I in them and you in one, so that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them and you love me.”
If the Holy Spirit convicts you that being a believer of Christ Jesus, knowingly or un-knowingly you have been involved in the process of alienating church from Christ, then this is the time to repent of your sins. I myself repent and confess of my sin in Christ Jesus name and ask the forgiveness to all the members of the body of Christ to forgive me for being the reason of alienating church from Christ. Bible says that, “ God resists proud but gives grace to the humble, He never rejects a broken- heart and a contrite spirit, so beloved one’s this the right time for us to get reconciled with our Master, Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, For He who is coming will come soon and He has his rewards with him.”
May God give his grace to each one of us to live a Christ-Centered and Spirit filled life, for the Glory of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.
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