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There is only one church under God, with only one high priest – Jesus.
The only way to enter God’s church is through the door of spiritual rebirth, which is determined by God, not by people. You are not born into God’s church; you are reborn into it.
There are no denominations within God’s church. There is just the one church and the one church only. Jesus, through his ministry work, showed us the Way, the Truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through Jesus, and only at a time and place of God’s choosing. Only those who have come to the Father and live in his grace are in his church.
Christianity, as it manifests today, is nearly a complete fraud. All denominational churches are fraudulent, as are people who call themselves Christians who are not reborn. The worst thing to happen to the early church was not that it was persecuted, but that it became a state religion under Constantine. In becoming a state religion, Christianity was then forced on people as a mass cultural movement rather than a genuine spiritual submission to God. Much was changed in order to make Jesus’ teachings palatable to the superstitious pagan masses (i.e., demon worshipers). Much was also changed in order to make Christianity a means to control the masses.
When I was an atheist, mass Christianity used to make my skin crawl. It still does. Jesus I love; God I love; scripture I love; but mass Christianity leaves me cold. I feel the same way when I enter a building that calls itself a “church”, with people sitting in rows before the altar like they’re expecting a performance. When did gathering to worship God become a performance? Jesus wasn’t performing when he taught in synagogues; he was teaching. People weren’t there to watch him perform; they were learning. God’s church is a spiritual realm intended for worship and prayer and teaching and learning. No performance is required.
God’s church is wherever and whenever God’s people are. You don’t have to enter into a building or even gather with others to be in church, because those who are genuinely in God’s church are always in it. There is never a time when they’re not in church
The only reason to enter into a church building these days is to use it as a personal resource or to call genuine believers out of it.
For the first three and a half years of my rebirth, I attended Catholic churches religiously (in every sense of the term). I was front row center at mass at least twice a day. The last church I attended I was there so often, the priest gave me a key so I could come and go as I pleased. It was there, in that building, that God showed me the truth of what was being worshiped.
Catholicism is defined by Catholics as the one true church, with the popes tracing their successional lineage as heads of the church all the way back to Peter. They may well trace their lineage to Peter, but the Catholic church is anything but the true one. The day I turned 40, three and a half years after my conversion from atheism, I got down on my face in tears and asked God to take out of my life everything that was keeping me from doing his holy will. I was steeped in Catholic superstition at the time and had lost my former joy. I felt more and more “off”, and rather than growing in my faith, I was stuck spinning my spiritual wheels.
At the same time, I was a model Catholic – always at mass, always clutching a rosary, always reciting whatever set phrases (“prayers”) the priest or pope instructed me to recite. Whatever place I lived in looked like a shrine, with the walls plastered with crucifixes, prayer cards, and pictures of the pope. My candles were blessed by a priest, as was my oil, my salt, and even my cat. I thought I was doing everything I possibly could to serve the church (including considering becoming a nun), and yet I felt a growing hollowness and coldness inside me that I knew was wrong. It was that odd coldness in particular that drove me to my knees and then down on my face in tears, begging God to help me regain the love I’d had in the days and months following my rebirth. In hindsight, I believe this is the first time I’d genuinely prayed to God since I was reborn.
God answers all heartfelt prayers, but he does so in his timing, not ours. Nine days later, after early Sunday mass, God answered my birthday prayer. I was sitting alone in the church, as was my habit after mass. I loved the stillness and the quiet and the smell of the just-extinguished candles, which reminded me of birthday cake. It was then, as I sat alone in silent reverie in what I thought of as “God’s house”, that God showed me precisely what kind of a building I was in.
It was either as if something fell away from my eyes or was added to my vision, but I suddenly saw the building as a pagan temple. The statues of saints were pagan idols, the worst of which was the massive statue of a dead Jesus hanging over the altar. I could not remain in that place another second. I had to get out.
And so I left and never went back. That was nearly 20 years ago. At the “shrine” where I was living at the time, I tore all the Catholic paraphernalia off the walls and tables and threw them into boxes, which I then shoved into a cubby hole and later placed at the curb for garbage collection. All I had left after the purge was a pristine white-covered King James Bible that I hadn’t even cracked the spine on. I’d bought it a few months after my rebirth, but I hadn’t read it. The day I left Catholicism was the day I started to read the Old Testament for the first time. The New Testament I’d read cover to cover in the days following my rebirth, but the Old Testament I hadn’t touched. In finally reading the Old Testament word for word (rather than as cherry-picked verses, as Catholicism does), I found in it clear and indisputable evidence that Catholicism was a redo of everything gone wrong with Judaism.
Catholicism is not alone in thinking it’s the one true church. Every denomination labours under the same delusion. Every denomination espouses a creed or a list of beliefs that adherents must sign off on in joining the congregation. Tellingly, being genuinely born-again is not one of those must-have beliefs.
After leaving Catholicism, I sporadically attended a broad range of Protestant churches, finding in each of them the same superficiality I’d found in Catholicism. These were not genuine believers sitting before the altar. These were not my spiritual brothers and sisters. Most of them were either “raised in the faith” and so were there out of obligation or were attending the services as a social event.
But every now and then I’d stumble across someone who, like me, was looking for their brothers and sisters among the pretenders. That was a happy day for us, to find each other, like finding a gold nugget in the river sludge.
I cannot imagine pretending to love God and pretending to follow Jesus, and being content with that state of being. I cannot imagine just going through the motions of ritual observance year after year, thinking that’s all there is to worshiping God and being a Christian. The worst thing ever to happen to Christianity was for it to be declared a state religion. When the persecution ended, the fraud began.
To sum up:
- There is only One True Church: God’s church.
- You become a member of God’s church through genuine spiritual rebirth.
- This is how it was at the beginning, and this is how it is still.
- All denominational churches are fraudulent. At best, they’re social clubs; at worst, they’re money-making schemes, preying on the gullible.
I do not recommend joining denominational churches, but you can use them as a resource tool. Jesus used synagogues, and in so doing modeled for us that we can do the same. Don’t hesitate to use denominational churches for your needs. It’s one of the few reasons why God permits them to still exist – as a resource for his children in his One True Church.