We can\’t categorically suggest that all former institutional church members can be sorted into the buckets I\’ve provided here. But these are at least two factors to the mass exodus from the institutional organization called \’church.\’
In the video linked below, we observe a congregation who, never owning a copy of the Bible, each receive their own copy. It\’s made the rounds in various social media forums for several years.
In those forums, someone almost always prefaces the video with a variation of the rhetorical question, \”do you love your Bible this much?\” The implied answer is \”no,\” and self condemnation of sin follows. In this post, I\’m going to put forth two arguments as to why Americans don\’t seem to love their Bibles as much as the precious believers in the video below.
Used as a Tool to Enable Power
In America our view of the Bible is, more often than not, corrupted through the process of it being used for control and condemnation. This is not a new phenomena: the scriptures have been misused in this way for millennia. It\’s one of the reasons, outside of the necessity of the printing press, that the Bible remained inaccessible to the common man for so long. It\’s why King James decreed that ekklésia would be translated \”church\” (a pagan temple) and not congregation or assembly, two words often seen in the Hebrew Bible (OT).
Hence, if you grew up or were indoctrinated in some churches, you could never read or hear the scriptures without a voice of condemnation. To those people the church represents manipulation and condemnation. It\’s easy to see then why these people don\’t love, read or revere their Bible.
Principles without Spirit
Most Christians have little or no understanding of walking in the Spirit. We are taught instead to keep the law as describe by the Pastor – to live by the principles of their interpretation of the Bible. In this endeavor we are to acquire knowledge of the Bible and it\’s laws. The more laws you know, the more spiritual you become. Spirituality is then measured by your ability to act in the correct manner based upon your accurate understanding and implementation of the Bible.
In this framework, the laity is expected to uphold the doctrine of the Pastor and perform within the Church only as the Pastor either dictates or would perform a given function himself. In this context, the Pastor\’s desire is law, upheld and established by his interpretation and application of the scriptures.
As such, we view the Bible as a list of rules and laws we can\’t keep, as evidenced by repeated failures and corrections. It begs the question, what\’s the use?
Why the Difference?
The people in the video haven\’t lived through either of those experiences. They\’ve lived only in the Spirit, being taught by God. To come into possession of the written Logos, the Word you\’ve walked with every day, can only be viewed as a blessing; not an opportunity for condemnation nor an iteration of failures.