Posted by: SandreS | December 4, 2009

God’s Outsiders: The Called-Out Ones (A Biblical Look at God’s Ecclesia), Part 32

The Religious System

Except the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it (Psalms 127:1).

Are we still following the religious course of this world? Man has taken the entire dispensation of grace – up until our day– to demonstrate clearly that all human religious institutions, no matter how humbly and focused they seem to begin, end up in apostasy. What is it that makes us feel that we can do better? Are we smarter? Are we more spiritual? What do we have that others have not had?

There is something about the very nature of religious organizations that eventually shifts the focus off of the original message, ministry and spirit of its purpose, and transfers it to themselves. They take on a life of their own. All of them eventually do. Some of them do it more quickly than others. Some take a generation or two.

Do we dare attempt success in a human concept that has managed only to demonstrate failure? Shall we create a future monster to deliver to our children and grandchildren? Is concern over preserving finances, maintaining some type of religious “testimony,” or whatever our goal may be, really worth the risk, even if it were only a small one? Shall we leave our children with religious politicking and power struggles, with misplaced direction and love, with endless business meetings, financial statements and squabbles, with their attention and focus off of personal relationships and ministry and on the perpetuation and control of “the institution”?

To emphasize the point, let’s look at a quote from The Berean Searchlight, May, 1996 (all emphasis in this quote is as it appeared in the publication):

Paul warns us about those who, whether wittingly or unwittingly, would spread unsound doctrine among us. We are living in a time when some of the brethren seem to deem it important to find something new. Of course, it is not our intent to discourage anyone in regard to exercising the “Berean spirit.” However, care should be taken not to undermine the foundation upon which our faith rests. We do well to remember that “The Doctrinal Statement” our forefathers forged for us was a product of intense debate with the denominational leaders of their day. Each plank of the statement was carefully crafted as a defense and confirmation of the Fundamentals of the faith and Paul’s gospel. Therefore, let us not be too quick to challenge those things which are “tried and true.” … Our “Doctrinal Statement,” … has served us well for over fifty years …

Does such a statement trouble you?

Is “the foundation” upon which your faith rests “The Doctrinal Statement”? This is a sad commentary on organized religion.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2000, 2009

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