Forget about the doctrinal disputes among religion for a minute. Go to any church in America, and probably in most Western nations, and you’ll find they are all pretty much the same: Platform up front, pews, chairs or theater seats down in the auditorium/sanctuary. Sometimes there’s an altar up front. There will be religious icons around in the form of stain glass windows, sculptures or pictures.
The place you go is also recognized as a non-profit (non-prophet?) CORPORATION. That’s right. Churches in America are corporations.
The pastoral staff, elders, whatever they call themselves, are the “professional” Christians who are in charge of the corporation that tells the “lay people” or the customers what Christianity really means.
The church staff mirrors a corporation in many respects. There is one “senior” pastor, or a head bishop, who oversees the location, hires the staff and attracts and retains membership.
Those who attend will look up to the pastor as the authority on all things Biblical. Questioning the pastor is frowned upon and will result in marginalizing the person who attempts this, and possibly the removal of the offending ‘heretic.’
I was thinking about this a lot as I’ve been studying the writings of Menno Simons (the Anabaptist theologian from the early 1500s). Much of what he wrote still applies today, though it wouldn’t be limited to the Romans, Lutherans and Zwinglians.
Then I came across this YouTube video pointing out, Scripturally, the very same issue. It’s 20 minutes, but it’s well done and on-point.
I don’t know the YouTuber personally. I’ve watched two and a half of his videos. But, he is exactly right in his indictment of the “system” of church as we know it.
The Roman church in the 1500s was a powerful Church/State system that held people’s eternal condition in its filthy hands. When Luther began the reformation, it shook that power. Luther probably assumed he would die for his rebuke of the Church.
But then, he backed off and endorsed the System, which still held the power over the blasphemous infant baptism and the mockery of the Lord’s Supper (embodied in what is known as Transubstantiation, or the idea that the bread and wine are made into the actual body and blood of Christ as the priest holds them up).
Today, people still believe that baptism must be done by a pastor or priest to hold any weight. And that cuts across from the infant baptizers to those who practice believer baptism (though not all, just by consensus). Many believe that the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, holds some magical properties when administered at church by a pastor or priest. When I grew up, I was warned about eating the crackers or drinking the wine after the service for fear that I’d be violating the sanctity of the communion bread and making light of the Lord’s Supper!
How absurd! Have we had the teachings of Christ so long and we still elevate rituals and other humans among us so that we blaspheme the Lord?
Taking communion in an unworthy manner means pretending to commune with Christ as his brother while being outside of faith and a traitor like Judas.
Communion is more than unleavened bread and grape juice. Anyone can eat that. But if an unbeliever seeks to blend in with the Lord’s sheep and enter into the intimate communion with the Lord, they are being Judas and it would be better if they had never been born!
The true Pastor, King, High Priest is Christ. He is the Good Shepherd who guides his flock. He is the Groom that prepares His Bride (the ecclesia, the true, spiritual Israel).
Some are appointed Apostles, teachers, prophets…we all have talents. But none of us are to “lord it over another” like the world does. We are not to have corporations of professional Christians as opposed to the unprofessional masses. All of Christ’s purchased souls are Saints in a Holy Priesthood. We have no need of any other instructor outside of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.
We should all be seeking the truth and exhorting each other from Scripture. We should wrestle with questions and help each other through it. But we should never believe something because some human with a degree said so.