Deception is a powerful tool for the use of those who want our harm and destruction.
She (Babylon) has planted these principles in man to make him drunk with a false sense of security ...
... a religious system that in the outward appears Christian, but is devoid of Christ's truth, presence, and power.
... when God calls us out, He also calls us in.
We must believe in the claim He makes of Himself -- that He is the the way, the truth, and the life.
To share our love and give of ourselves is the fruit that shows that indeed we have come unto the true Christ.
... we have been freed from Babylon's deceptive drunken snare at last.
Christianity or Churchanity?
The Evangelical Herald
CHRISTIANITY OR CHURCHANITY?
It has been said that the greatest asset of modern man is his amazing optimism - that no matter how bad things are, he has a deep conviction that everything will be okay. In our day and age, everyone loves a positive attitude. The power of positive thinking has swept every avenue of human activity. However, not withstanding this commendable spirit, we ask, is it possible that God's adversary has used this very quality of man for his own benefit?
In the book of Revelation, chapter 17 and 18, we read about that great city of Babylon, which made all nations drunk with the wine of her fornication. How has Babylon been able to bring all nations to this drunken condition? What tool did she use to accomplish this? In Revelation 18:23, we see that it was deception. Deception is a powerful tool for the use of those who want our harm and destruction. Given man's spirit of optimism and Satan's deceptive power, we can be easily deceived to believe that everything is going well, but in reality we are being led to eternal destruction.
Most Christians have understood Babylon to represent false religion and further more, many of us have identified this false church and her craftiness. Does this mean that only the people that have their names written on her church rolls have followed this false religion? Not necessarily, rather more likely, we see it to mean that those that are intoxicated are those who have been led to practice her truth-denying principles. Cannily she has planted these principles in man to make him drunk with a false sense of security -much like literal wine makes a man feel when he is under the influence.
In verse four of Revelation 18, we hear God's call to come out of her. The question for every single being is: Have we come out of her? All who love life will want to make a sober investigation of this question. Our lives depend on how we respond to this question. Before we answer too quickly, perhaps we ought to ask another question: How do we come out of her? Is it by removing our names from her church rolls? Is it by changing our manner of dress? Or is it by intellectually changing certain religious doctrinal concepts? Or could it be by performing certain religious rituals - such as water baptism?
While we are pondering these questions on how to come out of Babylon, we come to the question: Christianity or Churchanity? What do we mean by churchanity? May we suggest to you that it is the means whereby a great portion of the world is being deceived - namely, a religious system that in the outward appears Christian, but is devoid of Christ's truth, presence, and power. This religious system confines Christ to an enclosed building within four walls. It confines Him to a one hour a week "service". It confines Him to church formalities and liturgies. It confines Him to a "meism" concept of self-improvement and self-happiness.
This deceptive religious system is characterized by four major principles:
Performance requirements (I must perform works that gain God's favor)
Mechanical mysticism (participating in religious rituals that gain access to God)
Inward contemplation (what can I get from this religion or what does this religion have to offer me).
A temporal perspective of life (the eternal/spirit world is unreal)
Again we ask, have we come out of Babylon? Has our Christianity become Churchanity? If our Christianity is based on meeting performance requirements, going through the motions of church formalities, limiting Christ in time and space, using His teachings for temporal ends, or making God a psychological servant for our self promotion, then our Christianity has become churchanity. Do you see the point? Babylon is not so much being a physical part of her as much as subscribing to the same mentality of her religious system. We can be in Babylon and yet not have our names in her church rolls!
Christianity is not a system of do's and don'ts, of obligatory duties, and minimum requisites. Christianity is not a emotional roller coaster where we are driven to emotional highs once a week and then descend to the "real world" the rest of the week. It is not a machine with ritualistic gears that press out Christians. And Christianity is not a system of psychological therapy that caters to every want of man.
We have said what Babylon is and what Christianity is not, but the question still remains unanswered: How do we come out of Babylon? To come out of Babylon, we must realize that when God calls us out, He also calls us in. This is "the Out and In" principle. Christianity is centered in a person - Jesus Christ of Nazereth and a little word - "in". God calls us to come unto His Son. When we accept this call, Christ comes into our hearts and lives and we are in Him - immersed in His will and purposes. It is like coming out of a smoke-filled room, the best way to get out is to make a decision to get into a clean room. It is this positive action of coming to Jesus that releases us from the snare of Babylon's deceptive drunken power of churchanity!
Yet, we must have a clear understanding what it means to come to Jesus, lest we also be deceived unto coming to a false Christ. No one comes to Jesus unless the Spirit of God convicts him/her. No one comes to Jesus unless he/she has seen the vanity and destructive power of staying in a drunken, darken state and hungers and thirsts for light and life.
The key word involved in coming to Jesus is "believe". We must believe in the reality of His existence. He is alive and present in the affairs of man. We must believe in the claim He makes of Himself - that He is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). There is life in no other for He has defeated death in our behalf. Another key word in coming to Jesus is "transformation" (Rom 12:1,2). We are transformed when we walk through the door (Jesus) from the deceitfulness of this old world into a new world wherein dwelleth righteousness and truth. By repenting from a life without Him as the center, we are born again - spiritually begotten into His eternal kingdom in the heavens (Eph. 2:5,6). From this perspective, we can now see that all our earthly goals, interests, and activities belong to Him.
In Christ, our churchanity of I have to's and I should's become I want to's. In Christ our desire to be somebody is transformed to a desire to magnify Christ. In Christ, our desire to be served and to get is transformed to a desire to serve and to give. To share our love and to give of ourselves is the fruit that shows that indeed we have come unto the true Christ. (2 Cor. 5:15) A practical evidence that Christ's spirit is in us is our desire to come together in fellowship and worship in order to share our love with one another as we built the body of Christ. Indeed, the true definition of the word "church" is a congregation of called out ones - called out of Babylon in order to exercise heaven's rule of love among our Father's family.
Love converts our churchanity to joyous privileges of service as we become co-workers with Christ in His task of redeeming the world unto Himself. This is Christianity - filled with the Spirit of a transformed mind and walking in the Spirit - we have been freed from Babylon's deceptive drunken snare at last.
Again the question, Have we come out of Babylon?