Churchianity or Christianity:
Which Do You Practice?
Part 1

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Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
April 2, 2000

Last Updated :
September 28, 2023

The Church Dilemma Of A Christian Friend, Why I Dropped Out Of Organized Religion, Spiritual Babes Or Mature Leaders, Origin Of Church Buildings, Nature Of True Church, Our Body Is A Living Temple, Christ Within Us, The Cause Of Stephen's Martyrdom, Destruction Of The Temple, God Does Not Require A Physical Building, Jesus Christ The True Rock, Worship In The Spirit, Being Led By The Spirit, God's Word Will Accomplish God's Will, Confronting Church-Bred Christians With The Truth, God's Word Or Traditions Of Men, Freed By The Spirit Of Truth, Find God's Will Through Submission, Stand On Your Convictions

A number of years ago, a member of my now-defunct Christian mailing list called "Endtime Discuss Group Exchange" -- or EDGE -- wrote to me regarding a problem she was having in her personal life. This problem concerned the goings-on at her local church. Allow me to share her words with you, in order to help you to fully understand her dilemma. She wrote as follows:

----- Begin Quote -----

I was wondering if you could give me some advice? I can't stand it anymore going to our church because of the present pastor. Since we started there, 3/4 of the people have left because of him. [My husband] is so blind to see what this pastor has done and all the people he has hurt. [My husband] said I could go somewhere else. What I was wondering is, if I would be out of God's will, us going in different directions? I know the Lord looks at a married couple as one spirit joined together. I need to be concerned about my own salvation, and work it out everyday with the Lord's help. I was wondering what your thoughts were?

----- End Of Quote -----

Being an avid reader of my writings, as well as a longtime member of my mailing list, this woman was already aware of my personal feelings regarding the modern church system, or churchianity, as I prefer to call it. Like other people who form a part of our online fellowship, for many years now -- decades in fact -- I have chosen to simply not participate in organized religion to any degree.

I made this decision based on a variety of factors, including the great deal of hypocrisy; rampant materialism; the lack of teaching sound, Bible-based doctrine; the serious, ongoing compromise with the spirit, ideas, beliefs and practices of the world; the man worship and the favoritism; etc. I explain my position in more detail in some of my other articles which you can find on the Bill's Bible Basics website. Thus I will not belabor the point here. In short, I can truly relate to how this woman was feeling.

Based upon what I know about this particular couple, I am not certain if they are really ready yet to make this same kind of break with churchianity as I and others have done. While the wife may be ready, being as she has mentioned this same issue to me before, I have some reservations regarding her husband. His hesitancy to leave their current church is readily reflected in the above message; assuming of course that her description of his current attitude is accurate.

On the other hand, if I am incorrect, and they both are ready to "cut the apron strings", as we say in American slang, then my suggestion to them would be to try to start their own fellowship, in their own home, with like-minded Believers. I believe that I may have suggested this same possibility to them on a previous occasion as well.

Because of what this woman has shared with me regarding their activities in their current church, I do not view this couple as being spiritual babes. That being the case, some of the articles I have written concerning the subject of spiritual growth -- such as "Are You Just a Baby Huey?" -- definitely apply to them. In other words, given their age, and likewise considering their amount of personal experience in the church system, it seems to me that this couple should now possess sufficient knowledge and wisdom -- not to mention at least a basic understanding of God's Word -- to know how to establish and lead their own flock; or at least how to organize a loose association of fellow Believers who get together on weekends for fellowship and reading God's Word.

Having said that, I offer some helpful guidelines in the "Baby Huey" article, as well as in the series entitled "Where Are the First Century Churches?". In other words, there comes a time when we Christians must stop being spiritual babes. We need to mature in the Spirit, and we need to become leaders and fruit-bearing branches in the Lord's Church. I will be sharing more concerning this topic later on in this series.

As I point out in the aforementioned article, as well as in a number of other articles, the first thing that they -- and many other Christians -- need to realize, is that one does not need to attend a church building in order to "find" God, or to fellowship with the Lord. Why do I say this? Because a church building in itself is not the true house of God. As I have stated a number of times before, Jesus quite plainly taught His first Disciples the following truth:

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Matthew 18:20, KJV

As you can plainly see, nowhere in that verse does the Lord say that such gatherings have to specifically occur in a church building. In fact, as many of you will already know, church buildings did not even exist at the time that Jesus said that. After all, the Lord had barely begun to build His spiritual Church at that point in history. This development would not begin to occur in earnest until fifty days after the Lord was hung on a Roman cross during the feast of the Passover, when the Apostles were filled with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. It is at that point that we're told the following in the Book of Acts:

"‭‭And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,‭ ‭‭Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And THE LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY SUCH AS SHOULD BE SAVED.‭"
Acts 2:46-47, KJV

The fact of the matter is that church buildings were actually a man-made invention which was contrived some three centuries after the Crucifixion of Christ. This occurred when our faith became a legal, approved religion -- or "religio licita" -- which was recognized by the Roman Empire. However, for this to happen, its radical doctrines had to be toned down. Thus, it became polluted, corrupted, perverted, and weakened, by those individuals -- that is, the early 4th Century bishops who conspired with Emperor Constantine I -- who, sadly, no longer possessed the same moral and spiritual convictions as the original Apostles. As a result, it was then that they got into building churches. I discuss these details in other articles which you will find listed at the end of this same series.

The point is, our gathering together can occur absolutely anywhere, and at any time. Over and over again I have told my readers that God is where we are, because our body is the true temple of the Holy Ghost, and the Spirit of Christ dwells within each one of us when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. This is precisely what the Scriptures teach us, as we can easily confirm by the following group of verses:

"Know ye not that YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, AND THAT THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELLETH IN YOU? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, WHICH TEMPLE YE ARE."
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, KJV

"What? know ye not that YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV

"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
2 Corinthians 6:16, KJV

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be THAT THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELL IN YOU. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead DWELL IN YOU, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies BY HIS SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU."
Romans 8:9-11, KJV

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; THAT CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS BY FAITH; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, THAT YE MIGHT BE FILLED WITH ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD."
Ephesians 3:14-19, KJV

"Let the WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Colossians 3:16, KJV

Whether we are discussing Christ the Living Word, or Christ the Written Word, both must dwell within us, and not in a cold, stone building, because they are basically synonymous terms. In the Gospel of John, the Apostle wrote, and Jesus Himself said, the following:

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
John 1:14, KJV

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV

As you may know, it was in fact because the martyr Stephen said the very same thing in the seventh chapter of the Book of Acts, that the Jewish religious leaders stoned him to death. In so many words, Stephen said, "You don't need to go to the temple to worship anymore, because you are each now a part of God's living temple, and His Spirit dwells within you". Consider some of Stephen's final words which he spoke right before the demon-possessed Jews stopped their ears, and brought this faithful witness's life to a bloody end:

"But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."
Acts 7:47-51, KJV

In reading the Book of Acts, we discover that ten chapters later, the Apostle Paul conveyed this very same message to the Athenians as he stood in the midst of Mars' Hill, as we can confirm by the following verse:

"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;"
Acts 17:24, KJV

Just like many hard-hearted Christian leaders and deceived sheep today, the Jews simply did not want to hear the truth. They didn't want to be told that their glorious temple compound -- which had been renovated and expanded by King Herod the Great himself -- and their cold, formal, mechanical religious worship, had become outdated, useless, spiritless, and was no longer even pleasing to the Lord.

In fact, after they crucified our Lord and Savior, the temple in Jerusalem became even more of an abomination in God's holy sight. As I explain in such articles as "Once Upon a Time: A True Story", not only was the temple veil torn in half, as a symbol of God's displeasure, and as a sign of the beginning of the New Covenant, or New Testament between God and man by the Blood of Jesus Christ, but as I explain in more detail in other articles, the temple itself was destroyed down to its very foundation stones, in 70 AD by General Titus -- the son of Emperor Vespasian -- in direct fulfillment of Jesus' own words, which He spoke at the beginning of Matthew chapter twenty-four, as we see here:

"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Matthew 24:1-2, KJV

None of this should really come as a surprise to us, because since the time of King David, God had been conveying to the Israelites that He didn't need or require a physical building in which to dwell. This truth becomes plainly evident in the following group of verses:

"And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel, spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?"
2 Samuel 7:4-7, KJV

"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?"
1 Kings 8:27, KJV

"Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?"
Isaiah 66:1, KJV

"Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these."
Jeremiah 7:4, KJV

"For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof."
Hosea 8:14, KJV

Do you see that? The Israelites forgot God when they began to build buildings! What does that say for modern Christians who engage in lavish church construction projects which cost millions of dollars? Is the churchianity system guilty of the very same thing? Need I really answer this question?

It is because the Apostle Peter embraced this very same understanding regarding the nature of the true temple, and true worship, that he also clarified in his first Epistle, that Jesus Christ is the true Foundation Stone -- and not himself as the Roman Catholic Church likes to insist -- and that each one of us is symbolically a living stone in God's living Temple. After all, as Jesus said, the Spirit brings life, and not death, as in a cold, dead, hollow building made of steel and concrete. Consider Peter's actual words:

"If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded."
1 Peter 2:3-6, KJV

If there is one thing of which I am certain, it is that God's true Holy Spirit is consistent in what it teaches us. It is not like the spirit of confusion which has filled modern Christianity with so many different false doctrines and odd manifestations. In his first Epistle to the Church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul not only prays for spiritual and doctrinal unity within the fledgling Church, but he also plainly states that God is not the author of confusion. Not only that, but in full agreement with what was taught by our Lord, by Peter, by Stephen and by others, Paul also informs us that Jesus Christ is the Spiritual Rock in our lives, the Foundation Stone; and that it is not the foundation stone of some physical church building. Please consider the following verses:

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
1 Corinthians 14:33, KJV

"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
1 Corinthians 10:4, KJV

When Jesus was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John, did He not say the following to her concerning true worship in the Spirit?:

". . . Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
John 4:21-24, KJV

Can the truth be any clearer than that? Jesus was plainly saying, "Look lady; the day is soon coming when you will no longer have to go to Jerusalem to worship in the temple, or to any other particular place, because God will require of all of you, true worship in the Spirit." You see, just like many other Israelites, she had been taught all her life that if a person failed to make a yearly pilgrimage to worship in the temple in Jerusalem -- and thus help to fill the temple coffers -- he or she must not be a very devout believer.

Sadly, this is precisely the same attitude which has been cultivated in millions of Christians today. Unless one goes to church, he or she must not be a very good Christian. In fact, he or she must not be one at all. At the very least, he or she is terribly backslidden from the faith. As I have already stated, when Stephen tried to reiterate this same message, it got him killed very quickly; just like it got Jesus killed really quickly; and many others who followed in His footsteps as well.

When I first read this woman's question, I realized how serious of a matter it was. As such, I dared not to take it lightly by just offering her a weak, fleshly answer that was based upon my human wisdom. So, I said a prayer, and I asked the Lord for His Wisdom and Spiritual Guidance. The previous Scriptural response is the result. As I have said many times before, I don't have all of the answers, and I don't pretend to have all of the answers. The only thing that I know how to do, is to draw upon my knowledge of God's Word, and trust that God's Spirit will bring the right Scriptures into my mind, in order to provide the right answer that people need to hear, and which will help them to discover the truth for themselves. This is what Jesus said would happen, so I have to simply trust that my answers are of Him. As Jesus said in the Gospel of John:

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26, KJV

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
John 16:13, KJV

I am not a Prophet, and I have never claimed to be a Prophet. So, all I can do is share what I believe I've received from the Lord, and leave it at that. I must trust that the words that I share will speak to people's hearts -- at least the part that really applies to them and their personal situation -- and will accomplish God's purposes in their lives. As the Prophet Isaiah was inspired to write:

"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:10-11, KJV

As is my custom, in responding to this woman, I have not tried to mix in any kind of personal interpretation. All I have done is link verses together to show a common thread; a common belief which was shared by all of these First Century writers. It is obvious to me that Jesus, Matthew, Stephen, Peter, Paul, and all the rest were in complete agreement regarding what they viewed as the True Church. As I hope you can see, it most certainly was not -- and is not -- a cold, stone building down the street, where people just go through the motions of being Christians on the weekends.

Now, in spite of the fact that I have shared the straight Word of God, I daresay that if one were to take this message to his or her pastor, priest or minister, or to anyone else who is heavily involved in organized religion, that person would undoubtedly tell you that I have spoken a terrible lie, and that I have perverted and twisted the true meaning of the Scriptures.

But tell me. Have I? Or are such church leaders just afraid of losing their control over people's lives by having them exposed to the truth of God's Word? After all, that truth plainly tells them that they don't really need their priest or church system with its hierarchical control system. Let us not forget that the Jewish religious elders who killed Jesus were afraid of the very same thing. Now, please think about this. If God didn't require or need a temple thousands of years ago, why are so many people today convinced that He needs church buildings? There is no difference. Is there?

During the time of His earthly ministry, Jesus's message was not just about being freed from the pangs of both physical and spiritual death which result from sin. It was also about being freed from the bondage of man-made traditions, false practices and erroneous doctrines. It was about being freed from spiritual and doctrinal blindness, which often stifles one's spiritual growth. It is for this reason that during the early part of His ministry, we find Jesus saying such things as the following. Please note that in Luke, the Lord was in fact quoting from the Prophet Isaiah:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
Luke 4:18-19, KJV

". . . If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free . . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
John 8:31-32, 36, KJV

"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."
Isaiah 42:1-7, KJV

My friend, if you are one who feels trapped and dissatisfied within organized religion, let me tell you that God desires to set you free from the enslaving, spiritless control system within which you currently find yourself. However, in order for that to happen, you must be willing to take a step of faith. No one can do that for you. I can only share the truth of the Scriptures with you, but I cannot force you to believe it, or to accept it, or to live it. After all, as the Apostle Paul also wrote, we must each be convinced for our own selves. Consider the following set of verses:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:1-2, KJV

". . . Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
Romans 14:5, KJV

In other words, before you can truly discover what God's Will is for your life, you must be willing to give up your own will, and what you want to do, or what you think you ought to do, and allow God to renew you, and to give you the mind of Christ. As I explain in articles such as "What Is God's Will for My Life?" and "So You Really Think You Are So Humble?", this means that you must have a totally humble spirit which is submitted to God; just as Jesus did. Once you are convinced of what God's Will is for your life, then as Paul states in the above verse, you need to stick to it, no matter what anyone says. You need to have conviction about your beliefs, because God will judge you by your own words and actions, and not by those of another, or by what they tell you to do, think or believe.

Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

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