Part one: Churchianity
This series is about gaining a clearer understanding about the real intention of Christianity – A relationship with Jesus Christ. We will be looking at how religion, legalism, false doctrines and false preachers have created and influenced current churches and religious organisations and from this we should be able to recognise and acknowledge why many are going in the wrong direction.
Churchianity is what I believe Christianity has become. Many Christians around the world have based and are basing their salvation around churches, organisations, pastors, vicars, bishops, etc instead of Jesus Christ. When the Bible talks about church, it isn’t talking about a building.
The word church in the New Testament is the translation of the Greek word ‘ecclesia’, which is mentioned 76 times in the KJV and below are some examples of how the word is referenced to;
From this we can see there is no connection of hierarchy, buildings, rituals, and the like which are strongly linked with the word “Church” today. To summarise, the real church is not an institution, but rather people who were bought by the sacrificial death of Jesus and have now been redeemed, saved and forgiven of their sins by the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The misconception has been that by definition ‘Christianity’ and ‘church’ are the same. And since the era of Constantine this is the way we have all been taught to think. Churches and organisations gladly accept this as they peddle the message ‘this building is the only place you can have a relationship with Jesus’. To the disappointment of some, Christ will not be returning to take an elaborate or grandiose building built by man with Him but rather the body of Christ – The real meaning of the word ‘church’. When Jesus spoke of building his church he was saying he would call people to be his people, for a specific purpose. They would be "a called out" people, ‘a church’.
Now it’s important to remember that although there are issues, churches have been and can be beneficial if they are operating how they were intended. Over time through the different early European churches, much of the World has heard about Jesus Christ and those who acknowledge Christ as their Savior will naturally head first to a church. For some it may be that a Church or religious organisation, a tract or website played a part in that person’s conversion. But as we know from scripture, the power for Salvation comes only from Jesus and it is to Him only who the born again believer is to be committed to. Salvation is not determined by how many times you attend church or whether or not you give to the church as many are preaching today. We are not compelled to go to a building to have a relationship with God but we go to church for many other reasons which we will look at in this series.
It’s interesting when you look at church attendance because in many places it is declining and we ask ourselves the question why? Well I can only speak of churches here in the UK from experience but most churches in this country are open one day a week out of seven for the congregation. This time is a precisely scheduled 90 minute service which consists of 45 minutes of worship, 15 minutes discussing the church then a 30 minute sermon. Most of these sermons are just passages of scripture read out and explained with virtually no spiritual interpretation or meaning at all. The congregations are left week in week out spiritually starving due to the lack of spiritual understanding of scripture and congregation setup.
On top of that churches are becoming more like a social club and if you look at the definition of a social club it’s not too dissimilar to what we are witnessing today.
The definition of a social club is a ‘group of people or the place where they meet, generally formed around a common interest, occupation or activity. All clubs have some form of membership – a standard or expectation which you must meet in order to join and they will require a form of payment being made to join such a club.’
Many churches can relate to this setup. The membership fee is the tithe (which we will come onto in our article tithing), the common interest is Jesus and the standard of expectation is the statement of faith/beliefs which almost every church or organisation has. The member must adhere to these strict statements otherwise they will have to leave unless they are willing to change their mind by allowing the church leader to try and persuade them to do so. I remember one occasion at my former church they were running a course about a Christian’s identity in Christ which was a great idea. I myself signed up and I asked the pastor whether two of my neighbours who were Christians could attend also as I really felt it would benefit them. He firmly told me No as they were not members of the church. Even though they were part of the body of Christ, they weren’t part of the body of this church which is a far cry from the messages which you see outside the church on posters which say ‘church is for everyone’.
There are many churches that won’t open their doors to the congregation during the week unless it’s for some sort of course. The church needs to be a place which encourages believers to fellowship on a daily basis if possible for them like we read about in Acts 2:46 and 5:42. They need to get out of this ritual of ‘one day a week church’. I believe that this is another reason why Christians are spiritually starving because they view church attendance as performance related. If they go on a Sunday and sign the register, their salvation is secure. No! God wants a relationship with us 24/7 365 days a year.
Now fellowship with our brothers and sisters is so important, I’m not denying that. What should be happening is that we should be soaking ourselves in Gods Word, being taught by our teacher the Holy Spirit and then meeting up to share revelations and uncoverings to encourage and edify one another. But many who have this performance based mentality will listen to a sermon which is 30 minutes long and that may be all they hear until the following week. As we have mentioned but will go into more detail in our following articles, what is the quality of the sermon itself? Is the preacher being led by the Holy Spirit or are they operating from their carnal mind? If our brothers and sisters are not searching and testing the scriptures for themselves then how do they expect to grow spiritually and in their relationship with Christ?
So I believe that churches should be open more often for the congregation not just for other uses. We have all seen the great things that churches have done and continue to do for congregations and in communities. To name just a few they have soup kitchens, allow the use of their facilities for food banks and other similar uses which benefit the poor which we know is scriptural (Matthew 19:21, Luke 12:13). In some cases areas have been regenerated by churches especially those in poverty stricken places in the world. But many have gone down the route of hiring the church out for anything other than what the alleged purpose of what the building is for namely bingo, sports, dance to give just a few examples. For some this is to continue to finance the business type hierarchy within the church, maintain aging buildings, buy audio or visual equipment, the list goes on. So we must ask ourselves is this really furthering the kingdom? More detail on this is in our article tithing.
So as we’ve seen there are now many uses for the church and some could even be mistaken for a nightclub instead of an assembly to worship. Churches are trying so hard to make the Gospel attractive to this generation, that they have turned it into a marketing scheme that people can buy into. In an attempt to draw in unbelievers and even ‘so called Christians’, the Gospel has been mixed with pizza nights, comedy nights, and beer and a Bible nights. If the Holy Scriptures alone aren’t enough for a person to repent and accept salvation through Jesus Christ then entertainment is not going to take them in that direction either. I’m reminded here of what happened when Jesus saw what was going on in the temple and His reaction to that in Matthew 21:12-13.
In an attempt to appeal to the masses they forget their real purpose and what started as a desire to glorify God and share the Good News now appears to be less priority. The power of God has vanished and there is a lack of desire to pursue Him from church congregations and like Samson in Judges 16:20, they ‘know not that the Spirit of God has departed them’. Sadly because of this ‘my people are destroyed though lack of knowledge’ Hosea 4:6. There needs to be a change of direction but more and more are following the existing setup adding to the growing number of Christian denominations which we will look at in the next article 48,400 denominations.
Part two: 44,800 Christian denominations
From the era of Constantine we have seen many different churches and religious organisations setting up their churches, schools and colleges teaching Bible principles. The figures today showing the different denominations across the world are quite astounding. Gordon – Conwell theological Seminary annual statistics show that there were 31,100 denominations in the year 2000 which has now increased to 44,800 in 2020.
There now exists thousands of different Christian denominations with their own specific doctrines and beliefs instead of the one church established by Jesus Christ.
So we are faced with a question. Which (if any) of these Christian denominations are teaching the correct gospel? Today we have thousands of variations of Christ’s message, most of which are accepted by church members. In the early church there were only a few different variations of the Gospel and even then Christians and potential converts questioned what the apostles taught which we will read about in our article the early church.
How many of the preachers have actually been called by God to preach like the apostle Paul? He was someone who knew he had been called to such a position as he tells us in scripture he was ‘appointed’ (1 Timothy 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:11). Institutionalised religions of the day train up pastors, vicars, bishops etc, they go to college or university, come out with certificates, live in paid for properties with wall to wall books on theology, but how many actually have any discernment on spiritual matters? How many are walking by faith and not bowing down to pressure from the organisation or institution or the world on biblical matters? Now I’m not discrediting theologians, historians etc who dig deep into biblical history and I do believe they have their place within the body of Christ. But understanding the spiritual realm is of vital importance and Christians can only obtain this knowledge by relying upon the Holy Spirit to uncover Gods Word. It’s only the Holy Spirit who brings the Word of God alive and that’s why God reveals this to us in so many places in His Word. Many churches are spiritually dead because there is just no spiritual understanding of Gods Word.
Now there is nothing wrong with hearing spiritual truths from another brother or sister. We know God uses others to speak to us individually so that is not the issue here. It is when week in week out Christians are completely reliant upon the pastor or preacher for these spiritual truths and sadly many of these preachers are still carnally minded and preaching from their flesh instead of their spirit. The congregation leaves the church with many accepting what they have heard without validating it against scripture.
Like the Jews of Jesus’ day, many Christians have chosen to get their information from human beings which Jesus told us would happen in John 5:43,
“I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”
Throughout the New Testament we are warned by Jesus and His apostles to never trust human preachers but rather to read and study the scriptures for ourselves to obtain true understanding and to validate any teachings we hear. Jesus emphasises the importance of ’where’ we get our information in John 8:31 when he declared that Christians are not ‘truly’ His disciples unless they are following or learning His Word;
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”
The New Testament Greek translation of the word ‘disciples’ means pupil or learner and Jesus called His followers ‘disciples’ which we can see in Matthew 26:18;
“And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”
As Jesus promised in John 14:26, it is only through the Holy Spirit who now indwells in us (1 Corinthians 6:19) who will teach us all things and bring to our remembrance all things that He said.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
So we can see that we have a responsibility as Christians to not be reliant on professional preachers but on the Holy Spirit and to soak ourselves in Gods Word and John reaffirms this in 1 John 2:26-27;
“These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him”
If we are not doing this then we leave ourselves open to preachers who may be preaching the wrong message and many are doing so for their or their organisations own personal gain. Jesus and His apostles warned us about false teachers, teachings and doctrines throughout scripture. Whilst with His disciples, Jesus warned them to be wary of those who appear to be legitimate disciples but are in fact ravenous spiritual wolves in disguise and to be thoughtful, wise and cautious.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
The apostle Paul warned about others who would be motivated by the power and influence that a cleverly distorted message might produce in order to attract their own following. He similarly labelled them as ‘savage wolves’ and predicted how Gods people would recognise the preachers as apostles of Christ.
“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.” Acts 20:29-30
He goes on further to emphasise the point in 2 Corinthians
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
The apostle John wrote how during his time, Christian preachers were rejecting Christ’s teachings to promote their own versions of Christianity.
“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” 2 John 1:10-11
The apostle Peter also warned that from among Christian fellowships false preachers would come out and would even speak evil of Gods truth,
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.”
When Jude wrote his epistle the same was happening. Private gospels were being shared which contradicted the teachings of Christ by preachers who were sneaking into Christian fellowships to promote their false teachings.
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:3-4
Titus was warned by the apostle Paul of many in the church world who were rebelling against the message of God's word in Titus 1:10-11,
"There are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain"
Paul was saying that they had been deceived by the meaningless chatter and religious deception that came from the legalists, who loved to persuade people by the ways of the law. He emphasised that these men be silenced with the truth, because they were undermining the spiritual well-being of entire families. Not only were they teaching things that were biblically unacceptable, their motivation was the financial advantage they could acquire by peddling deceptions. So many today are tempted to go after the material gain that can be obtained from those who will accept and embrace religious schemes.
So as we can see there is a long history of Christians who prefer the teachings of a church preacher instead of opening their Bibles and actually reading the teachings of Christ. We know how the apostles described a new type of Christian preacher after the death of Jesus. A preacher who is cut from the same cloth as the ancient Rabbis and just like these Jewish leaders they desire pre-eminence over Gods people (3 John 1:9-11) and incredibly financial demands for their services (Jude 11). Just like the Rabbis, by contradicting the words of Jesus (1 John 2:19-23) they are able to justify their self appointed authority and financial demands. And so what follows in the years after Jesus’ death is the continuation of these practices and emphasis on the word ‘Religion’.
Part three: Religion
Many times in our ministry we emphasise the term ‘Christianity is about relationship with Christ and not about religion’. The definition of ‘Christianity’ is - a religion based on belief in God and the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible. Now there are several meanings of the word ‘religion’. The word referenced here is referring to ‘a personal set or institutionalised system of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices that judges a person depending on their adherence and obedience to these required acts. In my opinion this is the complete opposite of what the Bible teaches.
The true message of Christianity is about God reaching down to man whereas religion is man trying to reach up to God. Christianity is about what God has already done through His grace for us to be right with Him. Religion is about performance and what man has to do to be right with God and earn salvation. We can’t earn the right to be saved; Christianity says all we need to do is BELIEVE that Christ has already paid the price for our sin. God in the form of Jesus Christ stepped into our place and paid the price that had to be paid for us, giving us all the free gift of salvation which we have the choice to accept if we believe in Jesus.
Jesus turned the religious world upside down during his time on earth. Now we could probably write a whole series in itself on what Jesus thought of religion, but I think His view is clear especially when you notice how every single hostile encounter Jesus experienced was with religious people. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were obsessed with pointing out the sins of people and their lack of holiness and not much has changed today. Two examples of the Pharisees exposing the sins of people and desiring that they be dealt with harshly are the woman caught in adultery and the prostitute who washed the feet of Jesus. Jesus’ response was neither condemnation nor did he threaten them with Gods wrath and punishment but instead He instead forgave them both and set them free from their accusers which He still does to those today who repent, believe and accept Him as Lord and Savior. Jesus challenged the Pharisees and said;
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Matthew 9:13
When Jesus asked them to figure out what this means, He was quoting a passage of scripture which they should have known; Hosea 6:6
“For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
The Pharisees failed to pay attention to the reason behind those rules and laws. Had they studied scripture which revealed Gods heart and intentions towards man, then they might have understood why Jesus saw mercy as a powerful way of turning sinners to God and away from sin.
Another time we see this is Luke 11:42;
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
Jesus knew His Father loved people and He didn’t need their sacrifices to earn His favour or love. By connecting to God in our hearts by knowing and experiencing His mercy for us, He is able to transform us and our desires.
“In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” Proverbs 16:6
Gods love is revealed by His mercy to people and the truth is that God is a good God. When people recognise and walk in the reality of Gods mercy for them then they experience the truth that Jesus said would set people free.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
One of the most religious men of his day was the apostle Paul and here’s what he wrote;
“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Galatians 2:19-21
Before Paul knew Jesus, for a long time he thought God would accept him because of his law keeping. He eventually came to the realisation where he understood the law and knew that the law made him guilty before God and not justified before God. It was a pointer then and it is still a pointer today to those who aren’t yet saved. Jesus died in our place on the cross. When He died, we died to the law and we are now alive to Jesus Christ who lives in us and we can only live out this new life by faith, not by law keeping. The faith Paul lived by was not faith in himself, faith in the law, or faith in what he could earn or deserve before God but rather it was faith of the Son of God – Jesus Christ.
If you look at the whole book of Galatians, Paul’s purpose in writing to these churches was to confirm them in the faith, emphasising justification by faith alone instead of the works of the law. Romans chapter 3 is a chapter on the same subject and there are many more passages which talk about this subject of the law and faith. Faith is so important to recognise if we are to live out our new life in Christ. The Bible explains that anyone with faith in Jesus can have an intimate relationship with Him but many have been deceived into thinking that they cannot get close to God without first approaching the person at the front of the church who they deem more holy. This is not true, there is no hierarchy, and we have all been given an equal measure of faith as Romans 12:3 tells us “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith”. Our relationship with God is through His Son Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, there is no need for any human mediator.
Fast forward 2,000 years, here we are and not much has changed but has actually gone further. Years after His death we have seen how religious leaders and false preachers have used the same techniques to now create financially backed church institutions in order to build their own custom made form of Christianity with the basis on church authority through man. These doctrines and theologies created by human institutions have suppressed the teachings of Christ and have promoted doctrines He never taught allowing self appointed preachers to apply authority and extract money from Gods people. In the past two thousand years, memberships and finances of Institutionalised religions have increased as a result and like the first century religious leaders Jesus condemned, many of them have accumulated huge amounts of wealth from God’s people by tying them up in legalism. Legalism is a by product of the word religion in the sense that it is about adherence to a set of institutionalised systems of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices. The subjects of Religion and legalism go hand in hand so we will go into more detail about Legalism in our next chapter.
Part four: Legalism
So we looked at religion in our previous article and how religious institutions and organisations have been able to gain control over Gods people by establishing systems and practices as a way for them to have a relationship with God. Well legalism is about the adherence to such practices and recognising whether you are stuck in it is key. Across the world today legalistic messages are being preached saying that rules, regulations and other actions of holiness are necessary for God to love and accept us. It is not the true Gospel if it is being taught that God is angry with us if we fail to do these things.
Lets look at Ephesians 2: 8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
This is a profound statement about the gift of God that He has given to humanity. We are saved by God's grace (undeserved favor), there is nothing you can do to earn it, except by the faith he gives you to believe and receive it. This is made clear in Romans 4:1-5 that Abraham was declared righteous through his faith in what God said and not his works.
“For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,”
As Christians we are no longer under the old covenant, but under a new covenant. The purpose of the Law in the Old Testament was to highlight our sin,
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet” Romans 7:7
It wasn't to help us now live a holier life. Many Christians today have missed this fact and embrace the law as something positive.
Paul tells us that whoever puts their trust in the law must keep every word perfectly or they will be cursed.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” Galatians 3:10
Faith is what gives us spiritual life, not works of the law,
“But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:11
And the only way for us to be redeemed from the curse is through faith in Jesus Christ,
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” Galatians 3:13
Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
The ‘yoke of bondage’ here is the Law and Paul is saying not to go back to adhering to rules and regulations.
Faith in God is all that pleases Him,
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
God loves us the same even if we do sin and Paul tells us that holy living is still the correct way to live
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
However, all this Grace doesn’t mean that we can just continue to sin.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Romans 6:1
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Romans 6:15
We can still battle with our flesh which is why we need to walk in the spirit and renew our minds on a daily basis. We are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we have been bought with a great price - the blood of God (Acts 20:28) and we should act in a manner consistent with our redemption.
One of the first steps of becoming free from legalism is knowing whether you are stuck in it. Are you basing your righteousness on your performance? Are you condemning yourself for your mistakes? Do you place a higher value on church customs than on Bible principles? Are you comparing yourself to others?
If the answer is yes then you need to change your way of thinking. Romans 12:2 tells us;
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
And Galatians 5:16 tells us to walk in the spirit,
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
The fruits of the Spirit will be evident in your life,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25
We are to stay rooted in the truth of the gospel of Christ, knowing we have been made complete in Him. Not by the law, not by vain philosophies but by Jesus Christ alone, who is the head of all principality and power.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:6-10
What we have spoken about here may not apply to everyone but for those that it does we believe that this is an important issue to address and one which if overcome has the potential to revolutionise your relationship with Christ. Brothers and sisters we have been set free by our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Religion says DO, Christianity says DONE. Religion and legalism survives in many churches and religious organisations because it is like a big ship powered by fear. Not only is it keeping many in bondage due to a lack of knowledge but many are empowering these places financially by means of tithing which we will look at in our article the tithe.
Part five: The Tithe
There are many churches and religious organisations around the world who instruct Christians that ten percent of everything they earn belongs to God – the tithe. Therefore members are obligated to provide a tenth of their gross yearly income to them which is a method widely used by them to generate revenue. By studying scripture you will notice that the words ‘tithe’ and ‘tithing’ are not at all associated with Christians.
So here’s the favourite passage of scripture used by churches and religious organisations to validate the claim that there is an obligation for Christians to provide financial support to them through tithing (Malachi 3:6-12);
“For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say,‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts;“And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.
This seems to be the most common passage used but before we address this Old Testament passage lets look at what a tithe actually is.
God instituted tithing laws hundreds of years after Jacob’s descendants entered the Promised Land. If we look at the Levitical law, the children of Israel excluding the tribe of Levi had to give to the Levite priests ten percent of their land and livestock which would go to help the poor and to support the livelihood of those who maintained the ancient tabernacle. On a yearly basis they were required to give two tithes of ten percent each of both agricultural produce and livestock (Numbers 18:21-32 and Deuteronomy 14:28-29). Furthermore they had to give a third of ten percent every three years of agricultural produce only (Deuteronomy 14:28-29), so the total would have been more accurately 23.3% annually.
Back to Malachi 3. This Old Testament passage is so frequently used to try to compel Christians to tithe off their earned income.
To summarise Malachi 3, it is about the promise given to ancient Israelites that when they faithfully brought their agricultural tithes to the tabernacle or temple then they would receive blessings of abundant crops. God was speaking to Old Covenant Israel when he speaks of cursing the whole nation. The tithes which were provided was food for His House which was the Old Covenant temple and not an income for His New Covenant Church. If you read through the whole Bible, you will not find a single passage giving permission to participants of the New Covenant to receive tithes: only the Israelite family of Levi could accept God’s tithe (Numbers 18:21-26). Furthermore in these following Old Testament passages they neither mention money or earned income in association with the tithe but rather all confirm agricultural products; Leviticus 27:30, Leviticus 27:32, Deuteronomy 12:17, Deuteronomy 14:23, Deuteronomy 14:28, II Chronicles 31:5-6, Nehemiah 10:37, Nehemiah 12:44, Nehemiah 13:4-5, Nehemiah 13:12, Malachi 3:10).
No Christian wants to rob God; nor would they want to disobey Him and forsake His blessings but so many preachers use this as a way of accomplishing their own means and for their or their organisations own gain. There is nothing in the passage of Malachi 3 which refers to money or the Christian Church and tithing would actually come under civil law and so this is not binding on us today.
So we move on to the New Testament. Matthew 23:23 is a common verse which is used to back up Malachi 3, where we see Jesus talk about the Old Covenant religious officials who were paying tithes that consisted of agricultural products such as mint, anise, cumin, rue, and herbs;
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
Now what’s important to remember from this verse is that Jesus was still operating under the Old covenant laws and the New Testament had not been fully ratified. We know this because when we see Jesus healing people, one of the first things he tells them to do is show themselves to the priests (Matthew 8:4, Mark 1:44, Luke 5:14, Luke 17:14). Now this was part of the levitical law (Leviticus 14:2) and we do not have to do this today. There are other references to tithing, notably Hebrews 7 which references the Old Testament by stating historical facts and so again they are not a commandment to us. If we move on to Hebrews 9:15-17, it confirms that only after the death of a testator can a new testament come in place,
“And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.”
Brothers and sisters we are no longer cursed if we don’t keep the Law. We’re no longer living under the bondage of the Law anymore. This is why Jesus came because we are incapable of keeping the Law. He became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). Now that we are born again and God’s Spirit lives in us, He has removed the curse. We have a choice whether we trust the grace of God or we forfeit God’s grace by rejecting the sacrifice Jesus made by trusting in our own performance. The grace of God cannot be bought, it is a free gift given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).
So what is the answer? Well I think 2 Corinthians 9:7 summarises it perfectly;
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity (as tithers do); for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
I don’t believe or agree in tithing but I do believe in giving or more accurately ‘sowing’ which I believe is a better definition. We need to purify our motives, as we can see from 2 Corinthians 9:7, we are not to give grudgingly or of necessity because as we have read, God loves a cheerful giver. We should be giving because we want to and our motive for giving under the New Covenant should be a cheerful heart. The motivation for giving today is out of appreciation for what God has done in our lives. It should come as a response of love from the heart, out of a desire to bless others. Many people are living in bondage to tithing, giving out of what they don’t have (2 Corinthians 8:11-14) and as a result can get into real debt.
So I see that the key is to sow, grow and reap. We must remember that whatever money we have is God’s money anyway and it is of vital importance where we give His money to. We need to look at money like a seed. This formula is similar to the parable of the seed sower. It needs to be sown into good ground – which is a sound church, religious organisation, ministry etc. Those seeds should then grow by helping to create growth in that place if the ground is good and only each individual can be the judge of that by witnessing whether that place is doing kingdom work. Then not only do you reap by seeing the good work which the money has achieved but so does that place and so does God because it is helping to further His kingdom.
If you are in a good position financially and you feel in your heart that you want to give then give to that place as you feel led. It is down to the individual in terms of what they have and where they are giving. If you are within a good growing congregation of like minded brothers and sisters who are encouraging and edifying one another, a place with sound preachers led by the Holy Spirit with a good outreach and those in poverty are being helped then that’s the place to give.
Before I understood these principles, I used to tithe at my former church and although they weren’t as assertive as some are I still felt that it was something that was required of me. I set up a standing order and looking back now that money went absolutely nowhere. Personally, I now give and have given to ministries where I have been fed, where I see real growth, ministries whose preachers are tuned in and led by the Holy Spirit and who I genuinely believe the Lord is using to share the truths from His Word.
It’s about common sense really. If you are giving money to a dead church that is declining in numbers and you are just subsidising the maintenance of an old building then I can’t really see how that is furthering the Kingdom. On the other side of the coin we see how some churches and religious organisations actually have a super abundance due to vast amounts of money coming in and they get the wrong kind of growth. They use their finances to maintain and increase employees for unnecessary hierarchy structures, purchase properties to increase their ‘property portfolio’ and I’ve even seen some ministries who even have their own private jets! This income is funding many different possibilities and has turned the church into something which resembles more of a business and has created itself its own business model.
If the body of Christ would just use the principles of sowing, growing and reaping then the people and places that are truly ministering the Word of God would have a super abundance. If the financial supply is cut to certain places then the charlatans and false preachers of today would either have to repent or cease whatever they are running. This is the problem which needs to be addressed because in many cases money is being used as a key tool to embolden religion, legalism, doctrines etc which is tying many of our brothers and sisters up in bondage. We need to get back to basics and in our next article we will be looking at the early church for some answers as to what the future church should look like.
Part six: The early church
To get an understanding of what the church should look like today then a good place to start is by looking at the early church. Lets look at the last words which Jesus speaks at the end of the book of Matthew as He instructs His disciples on what to do after He departs them;
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:19-20
In the book of Acts we learn a lot about the early church. It is an expansion and fulfilment of the promise “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). By following Jesus’ instructions, the apostles preached the Gospel and made disciples and these disciples became the church of Christ or the body of Christ. This is the same for us today, wherever the Gospel is preached the church comes into existence there.
In Acts chapter 2 we read about the day of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, empowering them for the work which the Lord had called them to do. If we look at Acts 2:37-41 we can see the first account of how the early church was established. Peter proclaimed the gospel and the Spirit brought conviction to the hearts of those who heard.
“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37.
They ask Peter the question “what shall we do?” and he gives the answer in Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
And we see the result in Acts 2:41, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”
The gospel continued to be proclaimed in the following days and more and more people were believing and being baptised as we see in Acts 2:47, “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
So thousands were being saved by the Lord because they responded to the gospel which was being proclaimed by the disciples. These people were the first members of the church – the church being the saved. The body of Christ began to grow and in Acts 16:12-15 we see how God directed Paul and those with him to Macedonia and specifically Philippi where the first church in Europe was planted. When Paul arrived in the city of Phillipi these people believed the gospel and they were immediately baptised and counted among the people of God. They, like those on Pentecost, were part of the church Jesus had come to establish.
So as the numbers increased and Christianity began to grow there was a need to ensure that what they were hearing was correct. In Acts 17:10-11, a group of people were listening to one of Paul’s sermons and this is how these people responded to what Paul said:
“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were morefair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
During this period of time, potential converts didn’t automatically accept the words of a preacher like Paul. What they did instead was study the Scriptures on their own to determine the accuracy of Paul’s statements.
We know the importance of knowing Gods Word as we can see in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
“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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
So Paul was in agreement with the Bereans regarding the examination of scripture as we can see in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21:
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
They were testing (examining) what he said against the scriptures and Paul was not against this as he goes on to say that those listening to sermons should retain what is good by seeking out Gods truth.
If you look at 1 John 4:1, we can see the apostle John felt the same:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Here John was explaining how evil spirits inspire “many” false preachers. So we can see that every Christian is responsible for testing and proving that those who claim to share Christ’s teachings are indeed telling the truth.
Everyone preached in the early church and this new style of hierarchy which we see today within the church was not practiced during the early years of Christ’s Church. Look at what the apostle Paul wrote to the early Corinthian brethren about their gatherings as believers in Christ:
“Let two or three prophets speak…” (I Corinthians 14:29-31).
Now the original greek translation of the word prophets means either prophet or inspired speaker. Inspired here obviously meaning a spirit filled believer who is led by the Holy Spirit. So here Paul was referring to those believers who reveal inspired messages among Christian fellowships.
So Paul continues
“… and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy (share inspired revelations) one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted.”
We can learn a lot from these early Christian fellowships which we read about in scripture. They had a personal responsibility to study scripture, then share and discuss revelations of scripture revealed to them by The Holy Spirit. Every Christian within the fellowship shared their spiritual insights and others within the fellowship had opportunities to relate to their spiritual knowledge. These revelations and teachings were shared and open for discussion not only with the rest of the congregation but also interested non-believers. So preaching was not reserved to a few educated leaders who follow a man made statement of faith or statement of beliefs like we see now. The fellowship educated itself.
It also shows us how a congregation should operate. There was no single speaker as we find today but rather Paul tells us that at least two or three people should speak at every assembly. He suggested that during a sermon, if a listener felt something was revealed to them by the Holy Spirit, then the speaker should allow that person to interrupt to share that revelation. Furthermore the assembly should “pass judgment” on what was being spoken about which strongs concordance defines as to ‘separate thoroughly’. So as a congregation they would assess and discuss the sermon, sharing their opinions and then reaching an overall view on the legitimacy of the speakers sermon. Again Paul reemphasises how all believers present should share their inspired thoughts with the rest of the congregation.
These practices aren’t recognised and don’t seem to be allowed in the church today. I have been in a church where they have someone known as a ‘gatekeeper’ at the front where if someone has a revelation during worship or a sermon then that person must go to the gatekeeper to seek permission to share this with the rest of the church. If the revelation doesn’t relate to the sermon on the day or if that person is not well known within the church then they are told to go and sit back down as it doesn’t fit into their narrative. And I am unaware of any congregation which holds group discussions to assess the authenticity of the sermon preached which Paul instructs us to do.
Sadly with Christian fellowships today, too much emphasis is put on the person on the front. Pastor, vicar, bishop whatever the title is, it’s just assumed that they know what they’re talking about and the rest of the congregation has nothing to offer. Many Christians share the viewpoint today that if a preacher, pastor etc has been to college or they are good speakers then they just trust them regardless, and as we have seen there are thousands of different Christian denominations and many contradictory doctrines. Without recognising and acknowledging the issues we have looked at then things stay the same. The body of Christ is limiting itself. I believe that we have enough evidence from the scriptures we have studied to see the shape of what the future church could look like which we will look at in our next article.
Part seven: The Future church
If you look at the state of the world and society today, I truly believe that we are living in the end times. The signs which Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24 are happening. We are witnessing famines, pestilences (plagues), earthquakes (Matthew 24:7) all before our very eyes. Many are turning away from faith and many false prophets are rising up and deceiving many (Matthew 24:10-11). All of these are a foreshadowing of the time before the Lord makes His return. The question is are you ready?
Religion has left a lasting impression on those who don’t believe. Scandals, child abuse cases, hypocrisy, cronyism, political wrangling, and constant infighting have provided a negative view not only upon those outside of faith but many Christians have also turned away from faith because of it. Far from the love and peace which was intended for us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In this series we’ve covered a lot of ground on the issues within churches and religious organisations. By looking at the background behind these issues and by highlighting them, the body of Christ has a choice. The issues remain or we look to change it. I believe that the Lord is preparing for one big final sweep of people before His return. Could what happened in Acts happen again? Could we see another great movement of the Holy Spirit? Yes we could, but it starts with you and it starts with me.
As individuals we need to become rooted, grounded and established in the Word of God by giving Gods Word first place in our lives. Part of this is to separate and distance ourselves from the garbage of this world. Yes we are in the world but we are not of it (John 15:19). We no longer need to participate in the darkness of this world any longer; we have been translated into the Kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13).
Philippians 2:12 tells us to “work out our own salvation”, and the question we must ask ourselves as Christians is who or what has the greatest influence on me? My pastor, the doctrines of my church? Christian TV or radio programmes? Christian authors or televangelists? The answer should be the words of Jesus Christ and the empowerment from the Holy Spirit who dwells inside us. We need to rely upon our teacher the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us and to empower us in our new life. By meditating on and memorising scripture we will recognise who we really are in Christ. We need to put off the old man and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:24) and walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). We need to see ourselves as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:16) and renew our minds (Romans 12:2).
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”
We know that the mind takes in and remembers information and it also thinks. Now only by thinking are we able to discern the good information from the bad. Being led by the Holy Spirit and knowing scripture helps us to do this. So renewing your mind is rethinking and this is what this series is about.
We see in Acts 17:11 how Paul compliments the believers in Berea for checking the authenticity of his own teaching by searching the scriptures. Like the Bereans, this is no different for us today. We can see from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 how knowing Gods Word is of vital importance to us. We need to test and examine what we are hearing (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21) and discern the good from the bad as we are warned in 1 John 4:1
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” 1 John 4:1
Many Churches or other religious organisations actually discourage genuine individual study of the Bible with the view that they should rely on their Pastor, vicar, Theologian, Televangelist etc to give them the message which is presented in the Bible. Many of these churches and organisations present themselves as the way to salvation. But by soaking ourselves in Gods Word it is clear that it points to Jesus as the ONLY source of salvation and our Christian lives are an outworking of our relationship with Him. So personal Bible study presents a potential risk for many of these leaders and so they will downplay it and not recommend it lest the congregation finds the truths out for themselves.
So we can see from what we’ve studied the responsibility for change in churches and religious organisations starts with us. Romans 12:1 tells us we need to present ourselves as a living sacrifice for God and this is so He can use us. If we as individuals practice what we’ve spoken about here and we get to this point then we can discern good churches, religious organisations, preachers, sermons from the bad. The traditions of men are making the Word of God of none effect (Mark 7:13) and we need to see change. We should be questioning things. It shouldn’t be confrontational. As born again believers we should be exhibiting the fruits of the spirit – love, joy and peace (Galatians 5:22-23) and so ask the preacher or whoever is in charge of the congregation for a discussion on their teachings or doctrines in private or even in a group.
“But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” Matthew 18:16-17
If they are not willing or open to accept your words then ‘shake off the dust from your feet’ (Matthew 10:14) and move on. As a ministry we’ve acted upon these verses and have found ourselves in this position a few times already. We have sat down with church leaders for discussions and in some cases for several hours to talk about this subject but some are so rooted in religion and legalism that they just can’t see any other way. But the point is we have positioned ourselves to question things and then it is down to these leaders to study scriptures for themselves to verify what we are saying.
So what should the church look like today? We’ve seen how successful the early church was and it should be used as an example. As we saw in Acts, the disciples spread across the world, preaching the Good News and people repented, believed and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. These believers become members of the church – the church being the saved – The body of Christ. The same happens with us today and we should continue to follow the same principals as we’re instructed to do.
I believe that a congregation shouldn’t just be limited to a church building but rather like the early church, congregations should be encouraged to meet up within their homes or any other place for fellowship on a regular basis.
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,” Acts 2:46
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” Acts 5:42
We know from Matthew 18:20 that it doesn’t matter how many attend, whether it is two or more, the Lord is in the midst of them. This gets Christians out of this mindset and mentality of ‘one day a week’ fellowship. Throughout the New Testament we are reminded not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but to exhort one another (Hebrews10:25). So that we grow (Acts 2:42), encourage and edify one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and stir up love and good works (Hebrews 10:24).
Now there are many verses which direct us to organisation within congregations and this is where it is crucial to recognise whether a Christian has been called to serve in certain positions. From Ephesians 4:11-12 we can see how those who have been appointed to different roles within a congregation are to equip Gods people so that the body of Christ may be built up.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,” Ephesians 4:11
In 1 Timothy 3:1-12 we read about bishops which some translations refer to as overseers. Deacons are also mentioned and in these positions we see what their character must be like. In Acts 14:23, the apostles ‘appointed’ elders and again in Titus 1:11, Paul tells Titus – a man of faith to ‘appoint’ elders.
We know that someone who had been called by God was the apostle Paul. He himself knew he had been called to such a position as he tells us in scripture he was ‘appointed’ (1 Timothy 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:11) as an apostle, a preacher and a teacher. So how do others know that they’ve been called to fill such positions? It’s about knowing what gifts God has given us and what we are called to do. As we’ve seen here, Paul knew his gifts and he knew he had been appointed and if you look at Acts 14:23, the apostles who we know were full of the Holy Spirit ‘appointed elders in every church.’
In Acts 6:1-15 we read how the widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. The twelve apostles didn’t want to give up preaching the Word of God to serve tables. They summoned the multitude of the disciples and told them; “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:3). Look at verse 5; “they chose Stephen a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit”. These Christians knew. Now how many churches are using this as an example today? This selection process should be used like the early church. But what you end up seeing, especially in institutionalised religion is an ad in a paper or on a website looking for a ‘job of vicar etc’ to be filled and then it gets filled by someone with the most qualifications. What we need is Christians to fill these positions who are strong in faith, filled with the Holy Spirit and who are soaking themselves and living by the Word of God regardless of worldly qualifications. They need to know that they are called and we should be able to discern whether they have been called just like we have seen in Acts 6.
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28
The same is for us, we need to find our place in the body of Christ. We need to know our calling. Romans 12:1 tells us we need to present ourselves as a living sacrifice for God and this is so He can use us. Church leaders should be helping the assembly to grow by seeking the gifts they have. Jesus has given us all gifts (Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12) and we need to know what they are in order to edify the body of Christ.
The measure of any church or religious organisation, regardless of denomination is not the name it is called, not what it looks like nor how well it is organised but instead how faithfully it adheres to the Word of God. Churches are made up of people who are capable of error, so no church is perfect. We see this in Galatians 2:11 when Peter, the first apostle, gave into pressure by the Judaizers to separate himself from Gentile believers. Paul tells us that when Peter had come to Antioch, he withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed’ (Galatians 2:11). Paul was able to confront Peter not because he was an apostle but on the revealed truth of Gods Word.
So to summarise what we think the future church should look like. As individuals we have a personal responsibility to soak ourselves in the Word of God, being led by the Holy Spirit. We need to search the scriptures and test all things that we are hearing and be able to discern the good from the bad. Within congregations we should share and discuss revelations and uncoverings of scripture as revealed to us by The Holy Spirit. Every Christian should be sharing their spiritual insights so that others within the fellowship have opportunities to relate to their spiritual knowledge (2 Peter 1:20). These revelations and teachings should be shared and open for discussion not only with the rest of the congregation but also for interested non-believers. The congregation should be organised and led by someone who has been called or ordained to be within that position. Instead of just one single speaker, at least two or three people should speak at every assembly as they feel led. If something is revealed to someone by the Holy Spirit, then the speaker should allow that person to interrupt to share that revelation. As a congregation we should then assess and discuss what we have heard by whoever has spoken, sharing our opinions and then reaching an overall view on its authenticity in line with scripture. Brothers and sisters, the traditions of men are making the Word of God of none effect (Mark 7:13) but as we’ve seen change starts with us. We are the church – the saved – the body of Christ and we need to encourage, edify, and love one another and grow together being part of a congregation where its leaders are helping to make disciples and seeking the gifts they have.
As you may have read on our other pages, our ministry is founded by a group of believers who broke free from religion and legalism and recognised that there are many issues with current churches and religious organisations. Christianity is about relationship with Jesus and not religion. So as a group we have become rooted and grounded in the Word of God and we listen to our teacher the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). It would be rather selfish and unjust for us to just criticise the church, fellowship with one another learning spiritual truths and not sharing them. So that’s why we founded this ministry to raise awareness of these issues and to share spiritual truths that we have learned about scripture through our articles. We feel as a group that this is what God has laid on our heart and what we have been called to do. We continue to upload our articles on a regular basis and we have been meeting up with leaders of various different churches to see if they themselves recognise these issues, discussing scripture and whether there could be opportunities for change. Since starting as a ministry we have attracted many like minded believers who feel the same way about what we have spoken about and so for the foreseeable future we will continue with what we are doing and allow the Lord to direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5) for His Glory.