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THE SINS OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH What Everyone Should Know

 

Copyright © 2010 Anthony Perry Jr.
ISBN is 1453898190
EAN-13 is 9781453898192.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission or authorization of the author.

Printed in the United States of America

 

THE SINS OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH What Everyone Should Know

 

INTRODUCTION PLEASE READ FIRST!!!

I always think letting people know why you are writing on a particular topic is very important.In this way theyll know where youre coming from and why you are writing from the perspective you have. This helps to keep people from misjudging your intentions.

Ive learned from experience that people have a tendency to misread your writings and see what shouldnt be there. I believe that explaining your intentions at the very beginning of any work that is religious in nature will help prevent people from taking your words and thoughts out of context.

This is simply because a persons religion is a very contentious subject.
This book is my viewpoint of the Sins of the American Church. It is a view from the top looking down (from a leadership perspective), and from the bottom looking up (from a new convert perspective).
My hope is this little introduction will guide you in understanding why I believe the American Church is sinning and needs to repent.
I want to start by sayingI didnt grow up in the church. The first time I ever heard of Christ was at the age of ten. My grandfather, who was estranged from our family, left a childrens bible on our porch for Christmas. It was thefirst time Id heard of God or Jesus.
After reading the entireChildrens Bible, and arriving at the conclusion that it was not a fairy tale, or fun story like those I read in other books, I asked my mother to find a church to come and pick me up on Sunday morning.
This first church experience would influence the way I thought of church for a long time.
Instead of meeting people like Jesus, which is what I hoped to find, I met people who were cold and rule oriented.
I was hurtfully judged by my poor appearance, excluded from worship and any youth activities, and made to feel unwelcome in the place I had hoped to find acceptance.
It wasnt until later in life that I came to fully understand what the Bible was really teaching and how far this particular church had strayed.
This new understanding changed the direction of my life. I came to believe that God was calling me to teach others about the life of love we were meant to live in the Christian Scriptures.
To enter Gods kingdom is through love for God and people. We know these as the Two Great Commandments. The entire Bible is built upon these two foundational laws of love (Matthew 22:40).
This is really what I was looking to find when I first tried to attend church, but this is what I didnt find. I expected to find people like Jesus, but instead found people like everyone else I had met in my short ten years of life.
Jesus was loving, compassionate, accepting, a champion for the poor and rejected, forgiving, patient, just, and kind. I had never read about anyone like Him and I wanted Him above all things, even at the age of ten.
From reading the Bible at this early age I came to believe that the church should be like Jesus. In fact this is exactly what the Scriptures teach.
We are to have the mind of Christ, to follow Him in loving obedience, to be His body in the world, and numerous Churches in the United States have persisted in sin by rejecting this truth as the standard outline for their community life.
I begin with this information so that you will understand that my ideals of the church were not shaped by the church, or people.
They were in every way shaped by Scripture.
As I continued to learn about the
scriptures in College and Seminary I became further convinced I needed to share what I knew, but I found myself ignored and rejected by many people who called themselves
Christians.
The churches I have served in as pastor were in no way attempting to follow their Lord. They were not obeying His commands.
Many churches in the United States fail in the same way to be the body of Christ in the world and they arent even aware of this harsh reality.
They are calling Him,“Lord, Lord,” but not doing what He asks of them (Luke 6:46).
They are wholeheartedly accepting Him as their savior, but not their Lord.
The same was not only true of the churches I served, but the leadership of those church institutions. There was a deep and engrained indifference and ignorance
concerning what the Bible really taught concerning the Christian Way.
For example; I attended one Seminary that taught Christian leadership, but never used Christs teachings as the rule for what leadership was supposed to look like in the church.
Who would better know what leadership should look like in the church other than Jesus? How can we simply cast aside His principles and purposes?
Jesus had a lot to say about leadership. Many churches all over the world have denied His principles and commands for leaders.
In the United States most of the Christian leadership models resemble the role of the leader from a business perspective.
In America it seems Churches have traded their shepherds away for businessmen and women who use financial and consumer principles to govern the church they serve. They are truly friends of the world in this way (James 4:4).
Many churches in the United States have traded away the intended design of the
community of Gods people in scripture for a community that resembles social institutions and twelve step programs.
They are institutions and programs that are more likely to teach you how to succeed in life following the American Dream, than the Way of Christ.
They have polluted the Way of Christ by viewing it through the perception and desire to fulfill the American Dream
They call it progress and order, but I call it sin. They follow Christ in ways that enable them to still fulfill their own fleshly and earthly desires.
These desires, in part, have been placed, or nurtured in them by the ungodly culture of the United States. A culture that began to pull away from Godly values and pursuits after the Second World War and has steamed ahead to what it has become today.
This is the yeast that has infested the whole and has caused numerous sinful situations to be blatantly accepted by many American churches as the only way of being the church and being Christian.
It is a culture that has greatly moved away from Biblical designs for the community of the Followers of the Way (Acts 22:14).
We see this happening throughout Israels history over and over. A generation would rise up that didnt know God, they would do what was right in their own eyes, and God would correct them first through a prophet and then correct them first through a prophet and then 15, Isaiah1: 1-4).
There was a natural inclination in the people of Israel to move away from God. This sinful nature still exists in the individual Christian.
Paul calls it the flesh. He describes a choice that we as Christians, even though we are released from theLaw and its penalty of sin and death, must continually make to follow the law of Love, or the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16-26).
If we as Christians do run the race, or fight the good fight, or work out our salvation in fear and trembling, then we will naturally be inclined to go back to ways that lead us out of Gods kingdom design for our life.
With all that I am about to lay forth in this book I dont want you to think that I hate the United States, despise its freedoms, or reject the concept of the Church.
It is because I love Christ that I love this nation. It is because I love Christ that I serve the church. It is because I love Christ that I even care about the church. It is because I love Christ that my heart breaks when I see the body of Christ far away from its perfect lover and His loving Way.
Because I was not shaped, or formed by the churchs own ideals of itself, but by scripture, I have a different perspective. It is one that wasnt bred in me, nor indoctrinated in me.
My early encounter with the Bible and my love for its teachings stood as a barrier against the ungodly culture of the United States.
For these reasons I believeIve been able to uniquely see the church from the bottom as a new convert looking up and Ive seen the church from the top as a Christian leader looking down.
I come to one conclusion. The church in the United States of America is a church enveloped in sin.

CHAPTER 1

 

Knowing Your Own Perspective

I feel that I need to define a few terms for those of you who understand the words “church” and “sin” differently than I do.

By understanding what I mean when I say church and sin you will know what it means in the scriptures, and what I mean when I use these terms in this book.

Many people believe the church is the building where the people meet, but this isnt what the word church means.

The word for church that the bible uses in the Greek is Ecclesia. It means the assembly, or gathering. It is referring to the people.

The building where the church meets is just a building. It is the place where the people meet together for worship and use as a base for learning and missions to the local community and world.

The early church met in peoples houses and other locations such as Jewish Chapels and even on hill sides.

The next word I want to define for you is sin. The word the bible uses in its original language is the word “harmartia”.

This word is an archery term. It refers to an archer aiming an arrow and firing and missing the bulls eye at the center. It literally means“missing the mark.”

This helps define the aim of this book. I intend to show how the people of God in the United States have missed the mark, or missed the very purpose of being the body of Christ in the world.

I intend to show how they have been conformed to the world instead of being transformed by Christ.

I intend to show how they have missed the mark and have failed at being the true salt and light of the world.

Please understand Im not talking about all churches in the United States, but a majority will fall under this umbrella.

I want to make it clear that I can only speak for the United States. If you are from a different nation, then you will have to determine the possible sins present within the church you attend, through the untainted light of the scripture.

To see the untainted light of the scripture you will have to step out of yourself. You will have to look up and look down, and inside and outfrom Gods perspective instead of the one youve been taught, or know.

This means you will have to search for the truth and not blindly accept what you may know or believe as the Way, the Truth and the Life already.

This may also mean that once you see properly through the untainted light of the scripture that you will have an obligation to Christ.

If you love Him you will have to claim His ways, His truth, and His life in any sinful situation you encounter.

Let me first help you to understand what I mean when I say step out of yourself, because many of you are probably asking how this can be done.

First we need Gods help. Jesus teaches us that the Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 14:26). We must ask and trust that the Spirit, who is the Lord (2 Cor. 3:17), will guide us into all truth.

Secondly we need to look at ourselves and recognize our own perspectives on the subjects being talked about.

We all have different perspectives. When we read the bible those perspectives influence how we understand what we read. Many times our experiences or even our current life situation may influence how we read and understand the Bible, or approach God.

For example David in Psalm 8 looks up at the sky and is in amazement at the God of the Universe.

He says, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him” (NIV)?”

Many believe that David is writing this as a young man. This is because the Hebrew word we translate as avenger is also used when describing Goliath.

David may very well be in awe of how God used him as a little boy that praised Him and had faith in Him to conquer a great foe.

He is in awe of Gods vastness and mans smallness and is wondering how God can care about man at all.

God is so far above us and so unlike us. God is all powerful and we are weak. God is all knowing and we lack understanding. God is present everywhere and we exist like a speck in the universe and yet God cares about man.

Job has a different perspective on the subject. He says something similar to what David says, but approachesGods vastness from a different angle.

Remember Job has lost everything. He has lost his family, possessions, and has become sick.

Job 7: 17- 21 says , “What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention, that you examine him every morning and test him every moment?

Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant? If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men?

Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins?

For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more” (NIV).

Job, like David, looks upon the vastness of God and the smallness of man and through the perspective of his suffering asks God why.

I believe he wants to know, “What are humans to you God? Why should You even care about man who returns to the dust from whence he came?

Why do You care so much about my life that You punish me and cause me to suffer? Why dont You leave me alone and stop bullying me, becauseI am only a man!”

Do you see how Jobs struggles lead him to view Gods vastness and power differently? Our own life experiences, our early church learning, and yes, even our culture can influence how we read the scriptures.

Poverty and wealth can shape the way we understand scripture. Christ deals with both of these issues extensively in His teachings to correct our misled human perceptions.

Christ and His followers taught a great deal about status, about who our neighbor is, about how we should look upon people, ourselves, and our possessions.

They taught about how we should live in such a way that honors God and not the ways of the world.

It is the Way of Christ that calls us to love God more than the world and even our families. It is the Way that calls us to love people more than status, wealth, or earthly gain.

It is the Way of Christ that many Americans who have read their Bibles have never seen, or really understood.

Paul carries forth this concept in Colossians 2:8, 2:20, Galatians 6:14, and Romans 12:2. (Dont read one step further until you have read these verses and meditated upon them.)

Its time for the American Church to open its eyes. The days of slumber are over, and the time to awake is now.

Chapter 2

 

The Sins of the Leadership

 

Educational Sins

I think its appropriate to start with the sins of the leadership.
In many ways you could say the problems that exist in the church have been the result of bad leadership. It is leadership that has gone astray from the true Biblical understanding.
Then again, those who instruct the leadership of the church, achurchs educational institutions, can equally be blamed.
Over this past century we have seen many educational institutions of mainline churches become conformed to the standards and practices of the worldly academia.
Most of these institutions in charge of training church leaders do not teach faith, hope, love, or enable Biblical Transformation.
What they teach are empirical facts. They instill modern social causes and mold humanitarians. In their destructive analytical approach they engrain the thought process of doubt.
I have seen educational systems that have carelessly destroyed the faith of believers under their care and undermined the loving Christian zeal within others.
They have done this for the sake of educating the Christians through the lens of modern academia instead of maturing a life of faith, hope, and love in Christ.
In fact many educators I have met do not believe in a soul or spirit per se that needs to be transformed, but simply a cognitive life that should steer clear of emotions. Emotions in modern academia are seen as primitive evolutionary nuisances and are an inessential part of the human religious existence.
They send pastors into the world that are full of head knowledge, but lack the heart of the transformed pastor. They send out CEOs, fact believers, program makers, followers of modern academia, and doubt mongers instead of loving shepherds shaped in the image of Christ.
An education is important. This is something I agree with, but Jesus, and much of the New Testament talks about what and why it is important for Christians to learn and who we should learn from.
we should learn from.
30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (NIV).”
Many people have misinterpreted this verse. It has been misinterpreted so many times that many people are unaware of its true meaning.
The burden that people are tied to is the burden, or yoke, of many Pharisees in the synagogues and Sadducees of the Temple. In the time of Jesus the yoke of a teacher, or institution was their teaching.
Jesus many times accused some of the Pharisees of placing too heavy a yoke upon the people. It was a heavy handed teaching about life with God that was too hard to follow and left people without comfort and rest for their souls. It left people farther away from God, than nearer.
Listen to what Jesus tells the Pharisees in Luke 11:46 “Jesus replied, „And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”
Any religious leader that teaches Christ and makes following God a burden, because they lay down rule upon rule to be followed, is not following, nor has learned the Way of Christ.
Jesus said, “Learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart.” His teachings were never meant to be a burden to the people hearing them.
His truth was meant to set people free to love God and neighbor and not imprison them to a system of dos and donts and the accompanying spiritual burdens they bring.
Part of the problem is that people forget that all the law and teachings are based upon two
commandments. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22: 37-40).
Pastors without the foundation of love and who fail to show visible love for God and people are not pastors in the biblical sense.
I claim they may only beCEOs, burden makers, money mongers, and/or false teachers that are blind. (Matthew 15:14).
This now leads me to all the misled uneducated pastors who have been self taught, or have been taught a doctrine full of error.
In either case, whether they are educated and blind, or uneducated and blind, I believe they have the same problem.
They dont have the eyes to see, or the ears to hear, because they dont have the Spirit of God to discern, or the humbleness of being open to their own misled motives and perspectives.
Paul explains the true Christian understands and responds to the truth because,“We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Co 2:12).
What exists in the United States is a Christian religion that has become entwined with capitalistic pursuits, propagates a consumerism mentality, and is dependent upon ungodly democratic counsels. It has been shaped to uphold and undergird the pursuit of the proverbial American dream.
The gospel is even being used as a means for profit and for the perpetuation of the unspoken, but yet engrained American ideal of the pursuit of worldly wealth and happiness.
In doing so Christianity in the United States has become Americanize to the point that in some cases they wrongly sell the blessings of Jesus to the public to the highest givers, or those who make a donation to support its misguided institutional pursuits.
Many pastors are not even taught to discern the faith and the life of the church from the ways of the United States and its ungodly democratic and consumer mentality.
Leaders and congregants have been
indoctrinated by their culture, education and twisted view of Christ and the church through this lens.
This has birthed a version of Christian living that is sinful and leads people astray from the Way, the Truth, and the Life of Christ.
This can leave entire churches and
denominations ineffectual for the kingdom of God, but possibly successful from the American point of view.
A Church may be growing, prosperous, and by all appearances seem healthy, but inside it could be full of all sorts of detestable things.
Jesus warns a church in Revelation for having the same mentality and sin (Rev. 3: 14-22).
Many churches rely upon tactics, psychology, and aiming at the lusts and desires of the people to bring them in, and mold them accordingly.
They say they want to reach people where they are, but never move them to where God wants them to be.
Churches do this without ever focusing on the gospel of God that has the power for salvation.
In some cases the gospel seems to be the unwanted necessity that is quickly spoken, assented to and forgotten, so that the preaching and teaching aimed at living the American dream can be returned to.
It is the gospel of God that has the power for salvation. The American pursuit of wealth and happiness does not have this power, nor will it ever.
This is why a group of Christians can build a 120 million dollar facility and not think twice about the massive amount of poor, hungry, and lost around them.
A young woman once told me a true story about a certain church that owned a high rise building in a large American city.
The main church was on the first floor. The Pastors house was the penthouse. She said it was decked out like a penthouse too. It had all the perks and amenities of the wealthy.
The rest of the high rise buildings were offices rented out to law firms and businesses. The board of the church had voted that all rents received would go into a fund for building repairs and that none of the money could be used for missions, or ministry.
The fund had collected over 100 million dollars and none of it could be used for the gospel of Christ! It could only be used for a building!
In the basement she volunteered to help out in their food kitchen for the poor and homeless. The homeless were ushered in through the back door like second class citizens.
I assume they didnt want the homeless to come through the front door. It was bad for business I assume.
There they were given clean undergarments and fed a meal.
The pastor of the high rise church showed up to watch and talk with the visiting volunteers. He was very proud of his churchs ministry.
The woman asked him if he knew any of the weekly homeless visitors of the church by name. She asked him if he knew any of their stories, or had shared the good news of Christ with them.
The pastor did not know a single person there in the food kitchen. He had not talked to any of them. He said he was too busy with the business of the church to get involved in ministry.
Since when did the business of the pastor become business? When did the business of the church cease being about ministry to people, and the offering of salvation through the proclamation of the Good News and the learning and obeying of the teachings of Christ?
In this country it happened when leaders and educators began turning the church into a conformed community that looks and operates more like their world, than the transformed people who look like Christ.
It happened when the culture desired more of a business like structure and sporting event style worship that entertained, rather than changed.
We have forgotten that anything that sets itself up against the Way, the Truth, and Life of Christ is hated by God. It is Anti-Christ!
Jesus said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in Gods sight.”
Paul makes it clear when he says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will (Ro 12:2).
And how does one gain a renewed mind?
Paul begins to deal with this issue in 1 Paul begins to deal with this issue in 1 16, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any mans judgment:

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.”

I believe that it is because Christian leaders and followers do not have the Spirit, or mind of Christ that they have become unable to discern whatGods perfect and good will is for His community.

They have religion, but what many dont have is a loving relationship with the savior that births in them the irresistible desire to honor Him as Lord of their life in all things.

We must not forget that part of being able to have the mind of Christ has to do with our
commitment to be transformed.

To have our minds renewed and transformed means desiring and being lovingly committed to knowing the mind of Christ. It means learning to humbly to obey everything Jesus taught and commanded through His perspective, because our love for Him is relentless in all of our ways (Matthew 28:20).

Democratic Sin

 

Let me return to the democratic aspect of the

American Church.
I have sat in many church meetings where a
decision has to be made and I was appalled at the way
the decision came about.
Everyone would give their own opinion about
what to do and why to do it. Many times they never
used scripture, nor did they ask themselves what Christ
would have us do.
I have sat in many meetings where they did not
pray for God to reveal his will in their own hearts and
minds.
I have set on many boards where the majority
would vote a certain way that blatantly contradicted
the Way, the Truth, and the Life of Christ, but it made
sense to them in their own worldly understanding. If we do not have the mind of Christ, then we
are operating with the mind of men and women. We are operating by what seems natural and best
according to our own human thinking and desire. I have seen many churches make democratic
decisions that had nothing to do with God, or t

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