7/19/97
by Eric Wheeler
eric@sharingtheway.com

Note from the moderator: I wrote this back in July of 1997. It was during this time that
the Lord was beginning to show me the spiritual poverty and dire condition of the whole
Church (all of Christendom). I am being moved by the Holy Spirit now to begin sharing
these things with others; therefore I am publishing it on the internet via this website.

As each day passes, I am learning to hate organized religion. I feel that mankind, by
continually organizing himself into corporate bodies called “churches”, is failing to
remember that the word “church” simply means “called-out ones”. These “called-out
ones” collectively are the Body — the Body of Christ. They are already “organized” per se,
as they all adhere to one Master [Christ]; they all are taught by one Teacher [the Holy
Spirit]; and they all are expected to love others whether brother or neighbor. It is
therefore redundant, and a hindrance, I believe, to have “churches” within the Church.

I am of the firm belief that a person is either a Christian or they are not! Before God
there is no such thing as a Type A Christian, Type B Christian, Type C Christian, etc. It is
man who sets up denominations (or classifications) not God! As it is written, “Is Christ
divided?!” (I Cor. 1:13). I think that by setting up organizations and so-called “churches”,
men hinder the very work of the Holy Spirit. This happens in a number of ways:

1) By forming corporate groups, members cut themselves off from fellowshipping with the
whole body, and therefore miss out on learning from others who may have been given
certain gifts by the Holy Spirit for the edification of the whole body.

2) Members of corporate groups tend to become exclusionary in their thinking, which can
and does lead to an “us and them” mentality; which, ultimately, leads to self-righteousness
and self-centeredness. Membership can also lead to a false sense of
security. In that, members can feel that “membership=righteousness” and that “nonmember ship=unrighteousness”.

3) It doesn’t allow for variety and free-will thinking. When members cannot feel that they
can truly speak-out and be absolutely true to their feelings as God reveals things to them,
whether or not they conform to what is being taught, this is not being true to God, one’s
fellowman, or oneself. People tend to forget that God reads our thoughts and our hearts.

He reads us like an open book all of the time. And if a person is sitting in church and is
half-heartedly singing a song only out of conformity, and in his heart is saying “Why do
we have to sing this song? I think all this singing is stupid!” What good is it? Are we not
teaching ourselves to live a double life? To be hypocritical? And in some cases, to lie to
God and to our neighbors? As the scripture says, “Thou shall not lie.” And again, it says
“Blessed are the pure in heart.” Those who speak with a pure heart cannot lie – neither to
God, nor to themselves.

4) Corporate groups need to have some sort of “church government” in place in order to
establish and maintain control over its members. It is the only way for it to survive as an
organization. However, this can lead to conformity (not unity), and in time can cause
members to focus on the mandates and commandments of the church and not necessarily
those of Jesus Christ. Also, the church government can erroneously be viewed as being
the “Pipeline from God”. That is, members rely on the church (men) to teach them,
instruct them, and dictate to them what God wants them to know. Instead of going
directly to God and to His Word [the Bible] and asking God to speak to us and instruct us
by His Spirit, we do the same thing that the unbelieving Israelites did when God tried to
speak to them. They said, “You speak to us, Moses, and we will hear. But let not God
speak to us.” (Exod. 20:19). I think sometimes that we fail to remember that God gives
us His pure Words of Life. Why do we think that it has to be filtered through fallible
corruptible human-beings first in order to be digested?! God says, that “man does not
live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” He also
tells us that we don’t have to go to man to learn what is right and wrong and how to live.
He gives it to us. For “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God
may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim.3:16-17).

I believe that it is only hindering the Holy Spirit’s work when men set up organized
churches. The New Testament shows us that the Holy Spirit inspires different individuals
to stand up and prophesy. This word “prophesy” simply means “to speak under the direct
influence of the Holy Spirit” which is given to edify the whole congregation. Thus showing
that God is directly teaching His people. As it is written, “And they shall all be taught of
God” (John 6:45). Now that we have the New Covenant, and the Law has been written in
our hearts, God says, “They shall no more teach every man his brother saying, ‘Know the
Lord’: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them” (Heb.
8:11; Jer.31:34).

After having explained the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul told us in I
Cor.14:1 that we should “earnestly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophesy –
that is, to interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching”
[Amplified Version Bible]. He went on to explain that he who prophesies speaks to men
for their edification, exhortation, and comfort. And that he wished that all of them in the
congregation had the gift of prophesy so that the whole congregation would be edified.
Paul explained that it is much better to have the gift of prophesy than the gift of tongues,
because when someone prophesies it can be received and understood by the whole
congregation. But when someone speaks in an unknown tongue, only those who know
the language can understand. He then gave instruction to let all those that have the gift
of prophesy speak one by one in an orderly fashion that all may learn, and all may be
comforted.

Unfortunately when men set up churches each having their own hierarchical governments,
the gift of prophesy is severely limited. The Spirit of God is restricted and only permitted
to inspire the pastor or ordained elder. And of course, if and when this happens, the
pastor or elder can only relay to the congregation what he comprehends or understands.
(In these cases, it is hoped that the minister has the gift of prophesy. Otherwise, he is
only speaking the wisdom of man and not the things of God!) The Spirit of God is
therefore suppressed and is no longer free to empower a number of individuals to stand
up and speak what the Holy Spirit has enabled them to see and understand. Thus, the
growth of the whole congregation is stunted.

When the Holy Spirit is not squelched, and is free to move around and flow through
individuals, it is amazing to see what mysteries of God are manifested. Because each
Christian is a different vessel, with a different background and set of circumstances, he or
she becomes a unique and special conduit for the Spirit of God to flow through to others.
Each Christian conduit reveals a different facet and gives a unique perspective which
ultimately gives us collectively a clearer picture into the mysteries of God. No man has
the “corner on God”. For who can understand His ways or His thoughts?! But by His
Spirit each of us can understand and relay a little here, a little there, a precept here, a
precept there (Isa. 28:10), until we all can see the fullness of His glory.

I believe that Christians should freely fellowship and congregate. I do not think that it is
wise to belong to any one certain denomination, sect or church. To do this, I feel, would
be a great hindrance to not only one’s own spiritual growth, but to others as well. We
have been called by our Lord to go out and preach the gospel to every living thing — not
sit around with those who happen to agree with every doctrine, principle, teaching, and
perspective that we have. I am by no means telling people to stop fellowshipping on a
regular basis. I am simply drawing attention to the fact that Christianity does not equal
“Churchianity”. It is my prayer that we all stop trying to bring people into our
“fellowship”, and start reaching out to others in fellowship!

Eric
eric@sharingtheway.com

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