Escape From Churchianity: Leaving Behind The Building Of Pyramids

A lot of people seriously worry if they are in the right fellowship (or organization) or not. I’d like to share some insight God has given me in answer to that Question. Insight which helps me distinguish between a true or counterfeit expression of the Christian Church.

The true Church of God

 

by Paul Benson

…ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. -Paul an Apostle of Christ

God desires a habitation! And when all is said and done the labors of the Body of Christ that have been according to the will of God will have built a glorious habitation for God. A living Temple for him to dwell in for all eternity! A lot of people are expecting to live in New Jerusalem. I am expecting to be New Jerusalem!

But the labors of God’s people which have been only according to the will of man will have accomplished little more than the building of religious structures sadly resembling the lifeless pyramids of Egypt. And as believers we need to take a real serious look at our lives (and our efforts) and ask: ‘Am I truly building a temple for God, or merely slaving away on a religious pyramid?’ If you don’t quite get what I mean by building a pyramid read on and you will.

Building Pyramids

A robust active Temple versus a cold dark Pyramid. What a vast difference between the two! One is full of life, and one is the resting place of lifeless corpses. I cannot think of a more fitting description to contrast the difference between the true Church of God and the pride filled structures of man which have the audacity to assume that holy name. Let’s explore that contrast and see where we stand.

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: Matthew 20:25-26

Here we have described by our Lord what I see as a pyramiding of people and authority. You have a lower class of folks with a group of ‘princes’ sitting in dominion over those people; and then a smaller group of ‘great ones’ sitting as well in dominion over those princes. And there is normally some kind of competitive wrangling to see who will get to occupy the position of the ‘capstone’. Canus Majorus! (the Big Dog). But Jesus raised issue with the way mankind tends to embrace this hierarchical structure which resembles a pyramid, and then forbade this among his followers!

But how many take these words of Jesus to heart? Sadly the overwhelming majority of churches, denominations, religious organizations, and even missionary outreaches hold to the very hierarchical structure Jesus had forbidden us to embrace. Why was this so important to our Lord that he would go so far as to forbid it? I think we can find a few clues in the writings of Isaiah.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Isaiah 14:12-14

I wonder if Jesus had this passage in mind when he gave his commandment forbidding the concept of hierarchy among us? Look closely at the prideful exaltation of self evidenced in this rebuke of the fallen one. ‘I will ascend…! I will exalt my throne…! I will sit upon…! I will ascend above…! I will be like the most High!’ His pride caused him to desire to rise to the top of the stack and be a God!

This shameful evidence of pride will likewise be evident in all who give place to that sin. And a major fruit of that pride will manifest as a compulsion to rise up in dominion and control of others. Big me; little you! Notice the phrase: ‘I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation’. His pride created within him a drive to seek dominion over the people of God; to set his throne upon Mount Zion. To rule over God’s people. And religious pride allowed to take root among the followers of Christ will always exhibit the same tenancies. I will rise! I will ascend!

pyramid-me-youxcf

Something I have noticed that causes me a lot of concern is that most believers don’t seem to have a proper estimation of how serious an offense to God pride really is. How serious? Do a word search on pride in the Scriptures, and you will find literally dozens of places where God promises to destroy the proud! I think that might possibly qualify as serious!

The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow. Proverbs 15:25

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. Malachi 4:1-2

Seeing the quite serious nature of pride, and its consequences, it might behoove us to shy away from that behavior! Let’s go back to Jesus’ rebuke, and see what corrective measures he implemented to restrict this evil from reeking havoc with his followers.

But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:26 28

His solution was to demand exactly the opposite behavior from his people. Humility! This literally flips the structure of prideful dominion on its noggin. UPSIDE DOWN! And we can see this upside down hierarchy quite clearly in the teachings and example of the Apostles. Lets check out our opening passage in greater detail:

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

In this description of the Body of Christ as the Temple of God where do we find the Apostles and Prophets? Are they sitting in dominion over the Church? Are they the roof? Are they the covering (a term many are a little too fond of in my opinion)? No! They are down in the foundation; with the Lord Jesus being the chief (first lain) cornerstone! What are they doing down there? Holding up the structure; bearing the weight and providing a stable base for the temple to rest upon. To me that takes on an image exactly inverse of the structure of prideful dominion:

pyramid-me-youxcfinverted

Overlords Versus Under-girders

The genuine Church of God and the impostor! Both these structures are comprised of groups of people; and thus have somewhat of a similar appearance. Because both the true and false Church so closely resemble one another, and also since the false has so many sincere folks trying to operate in its midst, it can be very hard for many to distinguish between the two. So how can we recognize what is God’s true Church and who are God’s true ministers? We need to look beyond those similarities and examine the marked differences of the two.

Both share a goal of expansion; albeit for very different reasons.

As the religious organizations of man reach out with a perverted expression of the Gospel their ranks swell under them as folks succumb to their efforts (most of whom are sincerely wanting to draw near to God). The top of this structure (Pyramid #1.) remains the same but the base expands. So their pyramid grows and grows.

Likewise, as the genuine temple of God (#2), built upon the foundation of Christ and the Apostles, reaches out with the true teachings of Christ it also expands. The more believers who are added to the ranks the more the temple grows; but the foundation always remains the same.

Again, because the two are comprised of people they appear quite similar. But to those with discernment the two are as different as night and day. I see the difference between true and false ministers, as well as the true Church versus the counterfeit, typified in these two pyramid pictures. When evaluating either ministers or ministries I always ask myself if I am seeing an under-girding or an over-lording. It’s not always readily apparent but it is absolutely there, and will be manifest in a most clear fashion sooner or later. Just watch for it!

Whereas religious Overlords are always looking to expand their support base of members upon which they rest (and also upon which they feed!); true ministers in the Body of Christ are focused upon being they themselves a support structure for those they are under-girding; and they sacrifice of themselves to feed those precious ones.

Two completely different mindsets; and also two completely different expressions of ministry (all preached from the same Bible!). One is focused on extracting support from the structure under him; and one is focused upon supplying the needs of those he is upholding! One seeks to edify; and one seeks to exploit. (A true Shepard feeds the flock; a Wolf feeds on the flock!)

Is your fellowship truly feeding you, and encouraging you to move in your calling; or are you mainly just there as support for its growth and expenses?

FOOD 4 THOUGHT: When Jesus returns these two pyramid pictures are going to both be inverted! Jesus will then be at the top; along with those who have through humility sought a position as an under-girder of God’s Temple. Those who have made themselves the least shall now be the greatest! Promotion Time! HOORAY!

But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. Matthew 19:30

And all those who sought power, position, and dominion over God’s people through the pride of their heart shall now be demoted to be the very least! Yikes! So a pertinent question we should all be asking is: ‘On that day will I receive a promotion or a demotion?’

Religious Authority Versus Spiritual Authority

Contrary to God’s methods, the authority of man’s religious structures is an authority of position. If you put a person into that position he now carries the authority of that position regardless of his spiritual condition. The danger this presents should be easy to grasp. Thus countless millions are in subjection to, and looking for an *expression of God’s grace from, many people who aren’t even found to be in communion with God! They are merely religious!

* (Oh the folly! of continually coming to a well without water hoping for refreshment! But sadly so many have wasted, and so many are still wasting, years of their lives on a fruitless quest. Looking for life among a tomb full of dead men’s bones. James said a body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26). Is the body you are a part of truly alive?)

The authority of the true Church of God is an authority not of position, but of anointing! The authority in the Body of Christ is the Spirit and the Word. The more Spirit and Word a person has in them the greater spiritual authority they have among God’s people (within the guidelines of God’s Word). This is Jesus the Head governing his Body through his workings in the hearts and lives of those submitted to his grace.

An unschooled janitor could conceivably have tremendously more authority than a man with many years of seminary training depending on the spiritual condition of each. That is why we are supposed to give double honor to elders who labor to draw near God in devotion and study (1Tim. 5:17). They have the goods! They know how to *dispense grace to those who hunger for it.

*{ I think those who claim to be dispensationalists need to find a dictionary and seek out the true meaning of the word dispensation!

Strong’s Definitions says dispensation is: administration (of a household or estate); specifically a (religious) “economy”: – dispensation, stewardship.

There is nothing about the definition of the word dispensation which indicates we should take a machete to the history of the Church, and sever it into segments. I never did buy into that concept. Is the dispensation of ‘soap’ for example the history of soap chopped up into segments for study and doctrinal application? No! It’s as simple as this: A soap  dispenser dispenses soap!

The Lord has called us to be grace dispensers; and NOT ‘Learned Overlords’! But sadly, so many seem to be more in love with their education and doctrine than they are with God’s people; and therefor not a lot of grace seems to get dispensed through them. Of course that’s just my not so significant opinion. 😉  }

Religious Duty Versus Fulfillment Of Purpose

In a human body all the various parts have a role and a function. If you are a member of the Body of Christ then God has a role he desires for you to fulfill to accomplish his purposes in the Earth. Are you being encouraged to move in your calling (whatever it may be) in the fellowship you attend? Or just warming a pew, writing checks, listening to sermonizing, and basically stagnating? Are you just one more brick in a lifeless pyramid; or a part of a living entity which truly is inhabited by the Spirit of Christ?

God really wants to use you! But Satan wants to keep you in a nonproductive state of religious slumber. When you stand at the end of your days, and look back upon your life, which of the two will you see as the epitaph of your walk with God?

God Will Reward Obedience To His Call, NOT Works Of Religious Duty!

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1Corinthians 3:11-15

On the day of judgment the believer will be greatly rewarded for their efforts that were in agreement with the will of God. But many will on that day be horribly disappointed to see a lifetime of labor and religious devotion that were not in accord with his plan end up a pile of ashes. A lifetime of building pyramids for the glory of men will bring no eternal reward. Those that lend their labors and finances to build the organizations and religious structures of man do so for naught!

All the time, prayers, and money folks have invested in pyramid building have been a poor investment! Their time? They might as well have been playing golf! Their prayers? They might as well have been praying for God to rebuild Babylon (and actually they were!). How much reward would that bring? Their money? Do you think God will be dishing out reward for sinking their dough into something he never wanted built in the first place. Nope. There will be no reward for that which was not mandated by God!

The work of God among his people is not about building buildings or organizations. It’s not about helping charismatic ministers build themselves a kingdom! It’s about people! Winning them to Christ, teaching them the ways of Christ, and strengthening them in Christ. Let’s make sure we are functioning according to the call of God upon our hearts and lives, and laboring to build him a living breathing holy temple to dwell in; and not wasting our time building pyramids!

The best place for the pyramid like religious structures of man is in your rear-view mirror! Is God calling you to come out of it? To leave it behind?

A very wise man once said that to obey is better than sacrifice! (1Samuel 15:22)

If you cannot distinguish between the true function of the Body of Christ as it builds a habitation for God; and the counterfeit Church as it builds the kingdoms of man, please seek the Lord earnestly for discernment in this area. Your eternal reward (or lack thereof) is contingent upon this discernment.

And just maybe you could keep those two opposing pyramid pictures in the back of your mind.

I do; and it helps me a great deal!

Paul Benson

http://www.paulbenson.me

 

 

I welcome your input. If you would like to share comment or criticism please feel free to do so in the section below. Overly long comments may be edited for length. Also I will not post the false teachings of others.

Thank you for visiting my site.

Author: Paul Benson

My Website is at www.paulbenson.me. My blog 'Let's Get It Right!' is at pbenson.me.

1 thought on “Escape From Churchianity: Leaving Behind The Building Of Pyramids”

  1. Thanks Paul;
    Pride and unforgiveness is the biggest hinderence to revival. I have seen in the past small out pourings of the Holy Spirit and before they can grow and spread someone will pipe up and say” wow see what we/I are doing.” they forget so soon the it is the Holy Spirit and not some man, and just as soon as man takes credit for a move of God, God moves out. With out Him we can do nothing.
    Blessings Dave

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