God’s truth is found in the living Word and the written Word. It is revealed by God through His Holy Spirit, and confirmed by the Bible. It is not found “in” Bayside, Reno Christian Fellowship, or Saddleback, but only by and through God. This is one of the central issues that I have with the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church is that they view salvation and grace in terms of what the church has to bestow on it’s members.
Churches are not repositories of or for God’s saving Grace and do not impart salvation but rather they are commanded to be vessels to facilitate the fellowship of believers as found in the book of Acts and the Pauline books. Reference 1 Corinthians, “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ” (NASB). No where in the New Testament does it state that the Church/Body of Christ is the “gospel” or meant be a vehicle for salvation, but rather a conduit to grow disciples of Christ and to use each persons spiritual gifts for the building of His Kingdom. (Romans 12:5-7)
People often gravitate to discussion involving the virtues of Catholic or Mormon emotion versus the emptiness of Protestant emotion. Emotion should never be used as a gauge for truth or commitment. Jeremiah was very clear in his warning that our heart is corrupted and is not be used to determine truth. This is not to say that I am disputing the problems that are found in both faiths. The struggle to bring today’s youth to Christ and devote their lives to His service is monumental and most faiths with the exception of the cults are finding it quite challenging. Protestants in some cases have lost sight of what John called our “first love,” in Revelations, and instead are pressing on without a centralized focus on the One who both calls and saves us; Christ Jesus! Without this focus we will continue to lose members and fail to permanently convert people to God with that solemn declaration the Christ is LORD and surrender their lives to His service! I do not nor will I advocate for the Evangelical movement to abandon their progressive music, concerts, or even the mega-church phenomenon, but what they must do is refocus on Christ and the basics that existed with the early Church!
True growth in our relationship with God comes as a result of surrender, belief, studying and immersing ourselves in God’s Word, and establishing true fellowship with believers. We need to quit relying on Pastors, Priests, Churches, and mass media to solely facilitate our relationship with God and get back to what is truly lasting and important. In my walk with God, I have grown 1000% more in my relationship and understanding of God while in private study and in small group fellowship than I ever have in church based worship. The world needs to quit equating church attendance, while important, to being the sole means for gaining a lasting relationship with God.