Book: Lord, What Should I Do?

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As a whole, modern-day institutional “Christianity” has failed to meet the spiritual needs of its members. Rather than being a sanctuary for the personal growth and development of its followers, “Churchanity” seems narrowly fixated on image, “public relations” and membership drives. Corruption, politics and abuse continue to plague corporate church structures, while congregations are slowly but steadily consumed by worldliness. Having lost touch with the real-life issues churchgoers are facing, pastors and church leaders seem oblivious to the reality that so-called Christians today are no different than unbelievers.

Indeed, Christianity is rapidly spawning a new generation of plastic Christians—those whose belief in Jesus amounts to nothing more than a get-out-of-hell-free card. As David Kupelian quips, “Christianity has been dumbed down into a bumper-sticker religion” (The Marketing of Evil, p. 235). “This dumbed-down version of Christianity doesn’t require honest introspection or courage or self-denial or patience. The only ingredient it needs is a guilty person who’s sick of feeling guilty, wants relief, wants to feel better about himself, and desires an ‘insurance policy’ to keep him out of hell. But even the most insincere person wants to feel better about himself, wants relief from guilt, and fears death…” (p. 239).

The inevitable result of such an approach is a counterfeit religious experience—false conversion. Interestingly, Christian writers are always talking about the “churched” and the “unchurched”—but not about the converted and the unconverted. Do you know what “conversion” really means? Is your Christian experience genuine—or is it a “knockoff”? Being merely “churched” does not mean that one is truly converted—for conversion (Acts 3:19; etc.) entails repentance and genuine change (see Appendix A, “Who and What Is a True Christian?”). As Kupelian notes, the “trivialization of Christianity into a mantra of belief—but separated from works, from obedience to God’s laws, and even more fundamentally, separated from basic honesty, integrity, love of truth and true repentance—has ushered in a generation of shallow, ineffectual and invisible Christians” (p. 239; emphasis added).

But those of genuine faith realize that true Christianity is a lifelong uphill battle that only the few are willing to undertake: “Enter in through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter through it; for narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).

Are you one of those few who are willing to find the “narrow gate”—to strive diligently to enter into the Kingdom of God? Like an increasing number of American churchgoers, perhaps you too can personally identify with the problems extant in mainstream Christianity; perhaps you already consider yourself to be among the rapidly-growing group of churchgoers who are ready to look elsewhere—to look outside the established corporate church for the spiritual inspiration, teaching and guidance you need.

In the year 2000, according to George Barna’s research, 70 percent of Americans experienced and expressed their faith through traditional church attendance; only five percent did so in an alternative environment—small groups, home churches, coffee-house meetings, etc. But based on trends already well under way, Barna expects the number of those seeking a non-traditional spiritual experience to rise by 2025 to 30 percent (with a corresponding drop in traditional church attendance) (Revolution, p. 49).

Barna writes that such alternative means of finding spiritual fulfillment are the direct result of “extreme frustration or disillusionment” at the “relatively compromised and complacent state of faith in the nation today” (pp. 39, 49; emphasis added). He also notes that “the churches that have suffered most are those who stuck with the one-size-fits-all approach, typically proving that one-size-fits-nobody” (p. 63). Barna says he spent years searching for evidence that God was transforming lives through churches; in the end, he was mostly disappointed at how relatively rare such instances were. Eventually, however, his research revealed that such transformations were indeed taking place—but through ministries operating outside of the local church (p. 53).

Dubbed spiritual “mini-movements,” such alternative groups include home churches, small-group studies, marketplace (coffeehouse) groups—even homeschooling groups. A key facet of the alternative spiritual mini-movement is that “millions of people who are growing as Christians and passionate about their faith have come to recognize that the local church is not—and need not be—the epicenter of their spiritual adventure” (Barna, p. 58). Typically, those interested in non-traditional fellowships are looking to address previously unmet spiritual needs through “customized experiences” relevant to the key issues of daily life (p. 62). He writes, “the fastest-growing macro-models of church are the house church and the cyber-church formations” (p. 65).

Some Practical Suggestions

Are you ready to venture outside of the established church—to find genuine spirituality in an alternative type of fellowship? Are you ready to take a stand for the truth, for real Christianity—even if it means forsaking traditional church attendance?


If so, here are some helpful recommendations:

1) Realize that you—and others like you—are the church. Jesus said, “I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). And He did—but it isn’t made of bricks and mortar; it isn’t identified by corporate organizations or hierarchies of men. The true church of God is made up of those who are genuinely called of God (John 6:44)—those who have been immersed into the body of Christ through conversion, baptism and the receipt of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The church Jesus founded originally met in homes (Rom. 16:5; I Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15), where small numbers of believers “gathered in His name” (see Matt. 18:20). Do not let anyone mislead you into believing that you must attend an organized church. If the church you have traditionally attended does not reflect the truth of genuine Christianity in every way, it is time for you to look elsewhere. Do not continue to associate with any church that teaches contrary to the Scriptures or where the fruit of God’s Spirit is lacking.

2) Whatever alternative form of spiritual fellowship you join or initiate, start fresh by turning to God in heartfelt repentance of any wrong beliefs and practices you may have learned in your former church. Look to God the Father and Jesus Christ as you diligently study the pure Word of God to “prove all things” (I Thess. 5:21).

3) Throughout this book, we have emphasized the importance of keeping God’s commanded seventh-day Sabbath holy, which is Saturday. Remember this: diligent Sabbath-keeping is a vital key to a genuine relationship with God. If you expect God to bless your life spiritually—and to bless your new home-study group or fellowship—you must honor as holy the day He made holy (for more information on Sabbath-keeping, see the recommended Web sites below).

4) In time, some may be desirous of baptism (or, perhaps, concerned about the validity of their previous baptism). Baptism—which represents one’s spiritual covenant with God—is a momentous step for the believer and requires careful spiritual preparation. Please feel free to contact us for counsel and assistance (contact information is available on our Web sites below).

5)Don’t let your new “house church” become a social club. Meeting in homes creates an informal atmosphere, which is fine to a point. But keep it organized and on target—or it will become just another feel-good social gathering with little spiritual value. Hundreds of small, home-based groups are forming across the country, but many of them are perpetuating the same mistakes and false teachings found in the corporate churches. Remember why you left organized Christianity!

6) It is inevitable that someone will assume a “leading” role within the group. But that person should not be allowed to “lord over” fellow believers (Mark 10:42-43). Do not repeat past mistakes of allowing any man to stand between you and God—Jesus Christ alone is our mediator!

7)There will be a need for those qualified in teaching in the Word of God. In her book Quitting Church, Duin notes that one of the problems with house churches is that small-group leaders typically have little training in teaching. She asks, “How is the emerging house-church movement going to be any different [from corporate churches] without qualified leadership?” (p. 66). This presents a real problem for those seeking Bible-centered fellowship outside of the traditional church setting.


One practical solution is to rely on educational materials produced by various ministries operating via the Internet. But again, the same warnings apply: be diligent to “prove all things”—be sure materials are truly biblical. The danger of false teachings propagated through so-called Christian Web sites is very real! As a group or fellowship, work together to thoroughly check up on any Web-based support ministry.

The Internet site www.churchathome.org is dedicated to providing small, home-based fellowship groups with quality scripturally-based materials and resources necessary for a solid Christian foundation. Designed especially for those who are seeking genuine spirituality outside of the corporate church environment, the “Church at Home” site features over one hundred 30-minute video presentations on various topics; the videos can be viewed “live” or downloaded for later use. The most helpful video titles include:

• Who is God?

• The Kingdom of God

• God, How Do I Find You?

• How Did Mankind Get A Sinful Nature?

• What is Sin?

• How the Christian World Has Been Deceived

• Which Day is the True Christian Sabbath?

• The Love of God and the Law of God

• Quitting Church

“Church at Home” also features numerous downloadable articles on a variety of biblical topics. Here are a few sample titles:

• A Call to Repentance

• The Biblical Truth About Sabbath-Keeping

• Christ Was Taught Directly by God the Father

• Did Christ’s Sacrifice Bring an End to the Law?
• Did Jesus Abolish the Seventh-day Sabbath?

• Did the Apostle Paul Teach Against the Laws and Commandments of God?

• The Four Great Love Commandments

• Have the Ten Commandments Been Nailed to the Cross?

• How Did Jesus Christ Fulfill the Law and the Prophets?

• How to Study the Bible

• It’s God—Not the Economy or Politics

• Jesus Christ—Lord God of the Old Testament and Son of God

• Jesus Christ—Spiritual Lawgiver

• “Learn Not the Way of the Heathen”

• One Perfect Sacrifice

• Ninety Facts About God

• What does it Mean to be Born Again?

• What Happens to the Dead?

• What is the Purpose of the New Testament?

• Whatever Happened to Moral Absolutes?

• When and How Will Jesus Christ Return to the Earth?

• Who Will Save You?


For more intensive and advanced study materials, “Church at Home” has a sister site, www.cbcg.org. With a theme of Restoring Original Christianity—For Today!, this site features over 1500 audio sermons and Bible studies, including hundreds of video sermons, sermon transcripts and biblical articles—all available for download free of charge.


To get you started, we recommend you request the Introductory Study Package No. 1—which includes the following booklets:

• Fourteen Rules for Bible Study (also included in the back of this book)

• How Did Jesus Christ Fulfill the Law and the Prophets?

• Is God a Trinity?

• The Mystery of the Trinity

• The Truth About Christmas

• When was Jesus Born?


Also be sure to request the following from www.cbcg.org:


• The Grace of God (booklet)

• The Holy Sabbath (sermon series)
www.cbcg.org/holy_sabbath.htm

• Refuting Sunday-keeping (sermon series)
www.cbcg.org/refuting_sunday_keeping.htm

 

Because the diligent study of the Scriptures is such a vital part of your Christian life, be sure to visit the site www.restoringtheoriginalbible.com to learn about The Holy Bible In Its Original Order—a new, easy-to-read translation in which the books are arranged in their correct manuscript order.

 

As you step out in faith to either form a new home-based fellowship or join an existing “house church,” strive to keep God at the center of your efforts. Pay special attention to honoring and obeying Him in everything; worship Him in spirit and in truth and He will indeed bless you with peace of mind and genuine spiritual growth!

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