Some churches shouldn’t be churches

Before I jump in, it’s probably best to say hello after what has been a long break. I started my MA in Newspaper Journalism, fell in love (I won’t explain myself here) and as a small town girl, I moved to the most hectic city in the UK. Life is… jelly. rest assured it is good jelly but jelly nonetheless. I can’t predict where it’s going to bounce me to next.

But during the process of becoming the main character of a Hallmark movie, I’ve had time to reflect on brand new experiences. Namely, I tried out a lot of churches because my top priority was getting stuck into a good one here.

Whilst there are good churches here, there are also bad ones.

I know exactly what you are thinking:

“How can you demonise an entire church based on one 2 hour visit?”

I admit, I’m awfully picky. But I don’t find it a crime to be picky when your physical wellbeing and the state of your soul are at risk. I won’t name and shame because you know that I’m not that type of girl, but I will mention the sorts of falsehoods certain churches hold to, such as the idea of speaking things into existence, believing that their local priest can absolve them of their sins, and saying that people who are poor, sick or struggling in some other way simply “lack faith in God”.

You should not speak things into existence.

Those of you who are more sceptical of spiritual huey might change that should not into a can not because we aren’t God, so don’t hold that power. But I say should not because you get a range of testimonials where people say that they were able to improve their lives via affirmations etc. I don’t doubt that the quality of their lives is better. But our faith is not a means to make our material lives better, and even where God does improve our material lives, it is He that does it. This originates from a New Age practice and has no place being preached from a pulpit. The headline might suggest that everyone who practices this should be kept away from the body of Christ but no, I’d just say that it doesn’t belong in a sermon and those who teach it shouldn’t be teaching.

John down the road can’t cleanse you of your sins just because he put on a gown and a hat.

I was speaking with someone about this and absolutely cracking up. Could you imagine the conversation you’d be having with Jesus about this on judgement day?

“What defence do you present for what you did on this day?”

“Oh, I went to church on the Sunday and John told me he’d absolved me of my sins.”

“Are you having a laugh?”

(1 John 1:7-9) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sinIf we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

The lack of faith argument reminds me of that “stop being poor” meme.

I find it rather unusual when people think that those struggling simply aren’t spiritual enough or lack faith, as if God answers our every call just because we trusted Him enough. In fact, I’d argue that it is a lack of faith to think that you won’t be alright if God chooses not to grant you these things. His yes has its reasons and His no has its reasons. But rest assured, the Lord will always answer in a way that brings you closer to Him and not His gifts. Jesus himself said that the poor will always be with us, and that we can help them whenever we want (Mark 14:7). He’s talking in the context of His death and commending a woman preparing Him for it with an act of service but the point stands that faith doesn’t always mean waiting for God to open the floodgates, and it means giving out of the little that you have. It means trusting that even if you give up that morning coffee for the person on the street that you trust God to see you through the day without it. Faith isn’t just sitting and waiting for God to unload his blessings, but going out and being a blessing in action.

(James 2:14-17)14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Do I think that these churches are inherently evil? Don’t be silly. They can do some good to some people and some Christians start off their journeys in churches such as these. However, I wouldn’t visit these churches again given where I am in my own journey, what I hold as true and where God wants me to be. Dare I say, where the mixing of heresies and false doctrines are used, I’d rather not call them churches, but I recognise the genuine intentions of some of the leaders of these places and their desire to help the Lord of the harvest in the work. I just hope and pray that the more concerning elements of their ministry would be reconsidered.

-Pepper

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