Religious Tyranny: A Case Study—Chapter 11, Family, Not Institution; Body, Not Authority
City Council: Look, we think you should take all the resources you have and concentrate on the killings.
Chief Jesse Stone: I’m a cop. I’ve been a cop for a long time. I’m good at it. I know how to do this. You don’t.
City Council: Damn it, we can fire you.
Chief Jesse Stone: You can. But you can’t tell me what to do.
Let’s be honest; institutionalized religion; i.e., church, enables power-hungry men to buy authority over the souls of people by seminary accreditation. This isn’t rocket science, and it is one of many reasons that our young people and many other people groups no longer take the whole mess seriously. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of people who will buy into the religious authority motif and believe they can buy their way into heaven through being religious lackeys and tithing. It’s salvation through man-following just because they claim God has granted them authority over the souls of mankind.
And yes, the question of Which authority? could come to bear, but that is primarily answered by the idea that it doesn’t matter; one will go to heaven if they are “humble,” and that is determined by their willingness to submit all thinking and beliefs to some authority. In other words, the truthfulness of the authority doesn’t matter, after all, the “meek” will inherit the earth. In the world of church, nothing is more arrogant than a person who seeks God according their own understanding and conscience. As mentioned earlier, this was the exact same mentality that saturated German culture during WWII. Simply stated it is the idea that the great unwashed masses cannot know reality and must follow God-appointed seers or knowers to save mankind from itself. Hence, being a knower is very good work if you can get, and many do.
Have you ever wondered why churches are so focused on numbers of members and building programs? Both of these speak of authority. Impressive infrastructure exudes authority. For the most part, churches don’t build people or their lives, they build buildings. So-called investment in “spiritual growth” is really an emphasis on orthodoxy that demands submission to “godly men.”
Come now, let’s be honest; in all cases, the measure of a successful church is the size of its membership role and the glory of its infrastructure. And, here it is; the measure of a mature member is, “He/she is here supporting the church every time the doors are open.” Spiritual maturity is measured by the member’s commitment and support of the institution. This will NEVER change unless Christians stop contributing to institutions with time, money, and meetings in institutional settings. Where you meet states who you are and what you are doing there. Families don’t invest in institutional purpose builds; families gather where families live; in private homes.
From the beginning of mankind after the deception in the garden, humanity’s worldview was dominated by the idea that individualism leads to chaos unless those appointed by the force, the universe, gods, or God rule over the great unwashed. America’s government by the people and for the people changed all of that, and the historical results clearly speak for themselves. By the way, Protestants who know what a Protestant is are anti-American accordingly. A patriotic Protestant is a confused Protestant, and yet preferable, but nevertheless confused. Individualism and authentic Protestant orthodoxy are mutually exclusive. All in all, anti-Americanism is grounded in fear that experts will be less involved in running the world resulting in annihilation of humanity, and until that happens, abject unfairness because of individual privilege of some sort.
Please note the major concerns that will always be invoked when people return to true Christian fellowship: “What are your qualifications?” And, for the most part, “By what authority do you do these things?” Ironically, another objection often invoked is the idea that Christian meetings taking place in private homes without formal religious accreditation are “cults.” This is ironic because the exact opposite is true; the very definition of a cult is the marriage of authority and faith. Cults come into play after Americanism because the church had to resort to manipulation after it lost the enforcement of its orthodoxy by the state.
This is why Protestantism formulated a gospel that rejects the new birth: the new birth speaks to the enablement and qualification of the individual. Humanity’s penchant for caste systems (an authority pecking order supposedly based on ability) is probably grounded in the following: one of the primary essences of sin is its desire to control others (Genesis 4:6,7). Furthermore, the new birth also speaks to the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit that seals the believer until the day of redemption (the saving of the body, not the soul). If once saved always saved is the reality, we only need the institutional church for mission and fellowship, and not salvation.
However, It is the contention of this study that anything less than the obtaining of salvation itself does not have the financial incentive to support the gargantuan infrastructure of the institutional church. This is because people can fellowship in homes, and when it gets right down to it, individual efforts albeit collective and informal are often the most efficient in meeting real needs. If one doubts this, they only need to observe the Go Fund Me .com phenomenon. One could argue that we only have the needy person’s word for the need, but since when has that not been an issue with institutions? Besides, in home fellowship situations, the participants are probably privy to what the need really is; perhaps more so than the needy person.
What is the biblical model for so-called “church”? First, know this; “church” is the formal term that denotes when the assembly of Christ became an institution. This happened in the fourth century; until then, the model was a body model and not an institutional model. The assembly of Christ or the visible manifestations of Christians meeting together for the purpose of edification and encouragement unto good works took place exclusively in private homes. Fellowship, edification, encouragement, and learning were the primary purposes. Even though the church claims the same thing, its primary purpose is to maintain individual salvation. That has always been its stated orthodoxy.
Think about this for a moment; if people are busy focusing on keeping themselves saved, how much focus is really going to be on the edification of others especially when there is doubt regarding personal qualifications? What does this end up looking like? It looks a lot like church.
Institutions function on the caste system and authority predicated on elitist credentials. Christ’s assembly is a true “household of faith” that is a literal family, not an institution, and functions as a body, not according to an authoritative caste system.
How does a body function? It functions by mutual submission to needs. A body is a complex organic system that works together. When one body part or organ does not meet the needs of the rest of the body, substandard life occurs. Body parts and organs also meet needs in varying degrees, but all meet some sort of need that varies from efficient functioning to no function at all; i.e., death. It’s not a matter of authority at all; it’s a matter of NEED. Love meets need.
Of course, the church makes “submission” synonymous with “authority.” Like in the case of marriage, the wife’s call to submit to the husband is made to be an authority issue. But all through the New Testament, everyone is instructed to submit to everyone else. In a sense, everyone in the body has authority because the body NEEDS every member to some degree.
How worthless is authority? When it gets right down to it, authority can punish someone for not following the law, but authority cannot make anybody do anything. A person is often willing to accept the punishment rather than to…love. Love obeys need; not authority. True need is true law; not Protestant orthodoxy. Authority only has fear at its disposal, but love casts out fear; authority is merely the fear of judgment.
Do you now see the difference between authority and body, and family versus institution? We will look into this deeper in the next chapter.
Religious Tyranny: A Case Study—Chapter 12; The Way Home