God has called you to be a participant, not a spectator! May you heed this upward call—and be forever delivered from your slated occupation of “layman,” kneeling before an altar, sitting under a pulpit, and having your hand in a purse! May you rise to your God-called, blood-bought, Spirit-endowed right to be a functioning member of a functioning Body.
Regrettably, few have had the courage to respond to this higher call. Admittedly, the deck is stacked against those of us who’ve left the religious system for God’s higher purpose. Despite it’s horrible flaws, the institutional church continues to succeed on a certain set of terms. It succeeds because it provides a much more convenient and predictable way for people to get their needs met.
Let’s face it. It’s much easier to have someone else worry about the problem of creating an environment where we can worship God together. It’s much easier to just plug in rather than having to be responsible for direction yourself. It’s much easier to make use of an in-place “children’s ministry” than to figure one out ourselves. And it’s much easier to passively listen to a sermon that someone trained in oratory has prepared than it is to handle the Scriptures ourselves.
At bottom, leaving the institutional church to gather around the Lord Jesus Christ (alone) means being responsible. It means having no one to blame but yourself when things go wrong. It means testing your ideals in terms of real relationships rather than escaping into non-floatable theories.
It also means inciting the wrath of the institutional church. Some benighted pastors will invariably see the end of the gravy train in you and your kind. The discovery that you don’t need their “professional” help is quite threatening to them. So expect the authority-mongers to intimidate you with tall tales about the horrible consequences that follow those who throw off their “covering.”
Yet for those of you who can’t abide the bondage of the institutional church system, leaving is not an option. It constitutes an honor, a right response to God’s revealed will, and an act of spiritual survival!
Only then will the future course of church history begin to map to its first 200 years—when there was a church without clergy or laity—a church completely in the hands of God’s people!
For more, see Frank Viola tv