BEGINNING TO QUESTION...
You believe on Jesus and are born again. If you are the child of Christian parents you arrive spiritually already with an evangelical conveyor belt called the local church. If, like me, you get saved outside the church it takes you a while but eventually you are assimilated into that same local church structure. It is a place that operates like a well oiled machine and they feed you what they believe in a consistent manner. Any who dare to question are quickly identified as trouble makers and soon disappear into the room of the rejected where the church awaits your reprogramming at which time you will be re-assimilated.
But one day you begin to hear a very, very small voice within you. At first you can barely hear it and the communication is muffled. At first you can only feel that something is wrong. Perhaps something very small. You begin to see some differences between what your church is teaching and practicing and what the Scriptures clearly teach. Don’t get me wrong. You learn a lot of wonderful things in many churches and things which are of Jesus. And you meet some great and sincere friends.
But you still are hearing something within your heart. Yes, something just is not right. You begin to feel somewhat discouraged because you feel a little restrained in corporate worship. You are beginning to lose the sense of abandoned joy you once had. It soon reaches a point where others see it in you. You slowly begin to share your feelings and insights with a few friends. Most attempt to soothe your conscience and help you disregard what you see and feel. After all nothing on this earth is perfect.
But the inward leading continues unabated. Yes, sometimes you feel like just a critic or even a hypocrite since your own spiritual walk is far less than perfect. It is quite discomforting and either leads you to delve deeper or quit altogether. Many leave the organized church system and spiral downward spiritually or grow personally. This scenario is rampant and observable across the western hemisphere.
So you find yourself in a complete quandary. Should you leave the local church structure or should you stay and “gut it out”? But no matter how you try and how you pray you cannot escape that feeling, which is now a conviction, that something is very wrong. How could you not have seen it before even while reading just the Sermon on the Mount? And then you discover a small group of people on the internet feel and see the same things. Ok, now what?
You began with some questions and those questions led to other questions and now you have gone too far. You can really never go back. You are in evangelical no man’s land. Gone is the fellowship. Gone are the church activities. Gone is the swelling music. Gone is the ecclesiastical ambiance you once enjoyed. You have entered a lonely country where you must seek the Lord more fervently than you ever have before. This is a time of great challenges and also of great opportunities to live the cross.
But the further you go the more you see. Perhaps the entire church structure in the west was entirely wrong and unscriptural and the feelings you have are a result of being in that system and becoming used to it. These questions you have are disrupting your entire spiritual life. Many of your friends have taken a few steps back from you. And believers you know and respect and who love Jesus do not see what you see. It is a ball of confusion. But somehow the Spirit strengthens and nourishes you in spite of your uncertain journey. You now see Scripture for what it says and teaches without the western influence.
And then you find you are losing your patriotism. Oh no! It is amazing that believers might endure certain question about church structure but when you deny your allegiance to any nation you now find friends walking away from you. It seems that denying allegiance to anyone but Christ brings persecution within the church. Politics now disgusts you, elections are a waste of time, and you have been released from worrying about the economy. And what a great surprise! The Spirit has given you a love for Muslims and gays and liberals and all sorts of sinners that the church seems to hate. Yes, the Spirit is molding you into His image and not the image the church has designed for you. You now are experiencing a freedom that had long been unknown to you. Jesus is now Lord and not the church. Wow!
And where do you go from here?
(To be continued.)