Religious Tyranny: A Case Study; Chapter Seven, Protecting the Church Bus. REVISED
Institutions are all about authority. Even though institutions try to be family as a way to recommend themselves, it just won’t work. The Olive Garden’s “When you’re here you’re family” add campaign is about as close as it gets. We have all been in job interviews where those in charge of personnel claim, “We are just like family here.” It sounds good, but precious few buy it.
Institutions are where we go to get a service; families are where we go to get help unconditionally in most cases. The saying, “Blood is thicker than water” usually holds true. No venue supplies more forgiveness, comfort, and help than family. Institutions are about power; families are about love. The word “love” is commonly used in a manipulative way outside of family.
The church is an institution that supplies a service; specifically, salvation. Like all institutions, it conveys power and authority and in the case of church, a claim of God’s authority over the souls of men. And, it’s authority over truth. The church claims to rule for God by proxy.
Now factor in orthodoxy concerning the nature of man; total depravity. “We are all sinners saved by grace.” Let’s first answer the question presented by this chapter, and then put feet on the answer. The church is protected at all cost because it is the only bus going to heaven. Sure, it is a beat-up bus with lots of dents on the fenders, needs a new paint job, and has seats stained with all kinds of nastiness within, but it is the only bus chartered by God that is going to heaven. Ill behavior, illogical doctrine, and bizarre behavior isn’t the issue, we must remember that the church bus is also a medical bus; the only people on it are those who need a doctor, not those who don’t need a doctor. The only tender that will buy a boarding ticket for this bus is the recognition that you are wretched, wicked, totally depraved, and totally broken.
But here is the dirty little Protestant secret; the belief that you remain so keeps you on the bus. As a notable evangelical musician once said, “We [the church] are a train wreck.” Hence, protesting about sin in the church will more than likely get you a sarcastic, “Well, duh! Ya think?” Demanding accountability for sin which threatens the bus trip will get you church discipline and the loss of your place on the bus.
Moreover, families don’t take over every inch of every corner upon earth as the Lord’s army, institutions do. And why do churches focus on building projects more than building people? Infrastructure speaks of authority. Families build people, institutions build infrastructure that speaks of authority. In contrast, the Bible couldn’t be clearer: God’s family members are individual temples and the priests of those temples. In fact, a careful word study reveals that each believer is the Holy of Holies part of the temple.
But here is the point: the church must be protected at all cost because it is seen as the only valid representation of God on earth that executes His mission.
In the last chapter of this study we will look at this closer, but for purposes of this chapter, let it be stated that institutional churches will be defended and protected regardless of behavior because they are deemed as the only buses going to heaven, and sin is expected to be present anyway. After all, “There is no perfect church.” Yes, those who go to church looking for virtue are supposedly clueless.
Enter Clearcreek Chapel. For the most part, the Chapel is attended by well-educated people. Many of them are graduates of the nearby Cedarville University. Why have they stayed faithful to the Chapel in the face of this “radical departure” from the previous leadership? Why have they stayed faithful in the face of overt absurdity displayed by the Clearcreek elders? How can Chapel elder Dr. Devin Berry get away with teaching the following? The Clearcreek Chapel Book of Faith and Order is par with the Scriptures, and Jesus keeps its tenets for those who live by faith alone. The same congregants would have been running for the exits twenty years before; what happened? The answer is AUTHORITY.
You see, whether the elders are right or wrong is not the issue; the issue is…elders are God’s anointed. As visiting speaker Pastor Tim Pasma once said at the Chapel: God may deliberately partake in elder buffoonery to see if the congregation will obey them or not. And like the rebellion against Moses in the wilderness, God will curse those who do not obey the elders whether they are right or wrong. You can see that moving forward with a lengthy list of Chapel atrocities is a total waste of time; such atrocities are to be expected on the church bus for the aforementioned reasons.
So, the congregants are not going to stand against evil in the church, and other churches are not going to stand against evil in the church for the same reason: AUTHORITY. Many nice church people on the bus totally disagree with what’s going on, but they must keep their mouths shut and obey in order to stay on the bus. Supposedly, silence is not complicity. And besides, do we really expect people to give up their eternal salvation for taking up the cause of what is simply right? This study contends against such notion for the following reason: it’s a false choice because the formal church is not endowed with God’s authority; that is one of the paramount lies of the ages. One may change membership from a “bad” church to a “good” church but the system as a whole is still being supported along with its foundational premises.
This study contends against such notion for the following reason: it’s a false choice because the formal church is not endowed with God’s authority; that is one of the paramount lies of the ages. One may change membership from a “bad” church to a “good” church but the system as a whole is still being supported along with its foundational premises. “Good” churches merely keep the stage one cancer alive.
And lastly, discernment blogs will cry out against the injustices, but what are they really trying to do? They are merely trying to save the bus. It’s a good bus with a few rotten passengers. If we make the problems public, the church will correct itself and the church will be saved. Yes, we must purify God’s authoritative institution on earth in order to preserve the gospel.
Note the futility of this reasoning: you have to be rotten to get on the bus, but rotten people threaten the bus and hence discernment blogs to the rescue. Yes, we are all sinners saved by grace, but too much sinning threatens the bus—the medical bus cannot have people aboard that are too sick. Apparently, discernment blogs seek to save the church by obtaining the right balance of evil.
The Neo-Reformation movement (New Calvinism) peaked in 2009 and its subsequent tyranny spawned a plethora of internet discernment blogs. What real impact have these blogs had on the problem of Neo-Calvinist religious tyranny? Zero. The only justice yielded to date comes from secular law enforcement or civil jurisprudence. These haven’t received the memo on church authority.