THE RELIGIOUS SYSTEM
Are we still following the religious course of this world? Man has taken the entire dispensation of grace, up until our day, to clearly demonstrate that all human religious institutions, no matter how humbly and focused they begin, end up in apostasy. And what is it that makes us feel that we can do better? Are we smarter? Are we more spiritual? What do we have that others have not?
There is something about the very nature of religious organizations that eventually takes the focus off of the original message, ministry and spirit of its purpose and transfers all these to its very self. They take on a life of their own. All of them eventually do. Some of them do it more quickly than others. Some take a generation or two. Do we dare attempt success at a human concept that has only managed to demonstrate failure? Shall we create a future monster to deliver to our children and grandchildren? Is concern over preserving finances, maintaining some type of religious "testimony," or whatever our goal my be, really worth the risk, even if it were only a small one? Shall we leave our children with religious politicking and power struggles, with misplaced direction and love, with endless business meetings and financial statements and squabbles as the attention and focus is off personal relationships and ministry and on the perpetuation and control of "the institution". I think that I know the answer. There is a part of me that wishes I would not think this way, that I would just leave everything alone. But, then, there is the conscience.
To emphasize the point, let's quote from The Berean Searchlight, May, 1996 (and all emphasis in this quote is as it appeared in the publication):
"Paul warns us about those who, whether wittingly or unwittingly, would spread unsound doctrine among us. We are living in a time when some of the brethren seem to deem it important to find something new. Of course, it is not our intent to discourage anyone in regard to exercising the 'Berean spirit.' However, care should be taken not to undermine the foundation upon which our faith rests. We do well to remember that 'The Doctrinal Statement' our forefathers forged for us, was a product of intense debate with the denominational leaders of their day. Each plank of the statement was carefully crafted as a defense and confirmation of the Fundamentals of the faith and Paul's gospel. Therefore, let us not be too quick to challenge those things which are 'tried and true'.
"At this late hour, there are those who tell us that the 'gifts' of evangelist, pastors and teachers or pastor-teachers are no longer in operation today. Some have even gone so far as to say that the enabling 'gifts' have also passed. This flies in the face of our 'Doctrinal Statement,' which has served us well for over fifty years..."
Does this not trouble you?
Is "the foundation" upon which your faith rests "The Doctrinal Statement?" Are we concerned that something "flies in the face of our Doctrinal Statement?" This is a sad commentary on organized religion. And now, were not talking about "the other guys" were talking about "the Grace Movement!"
Think on these things.
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