Posts Tagged ‘donewithreligion’

I have mentioned this in a previous article, and want to again make clear that I am not a teacher. The postings on this site are from a person who certainly has a lot to learn.

My wife and I feel the same on this subject, and as imperfect people who have been made holy and righteous through God’s grace, it is always good to remind ourselves and those who read these articles, that what is written is coming from someone who is on a daily path with our Father, yet constantly learning.

I don’t think any of us come to a point of knowing it all and being completely correct in our knowledge of God. Each of our lives are a daily process, sometimes one step forward and two steps back, but each and every step ordered by our Father.

After my wife and I left the institutional church, I began to see some similar divisions outside the walls as much as inside the walls. We found that even though we were outside the walls of a church, our minds still had many walls up. It was fairly easy to leave the walls of a church, but the walls that had been built up in our minds are much harder to leave.

I have found that each of us have our own views on doctrine and interpretations of the bible. I personally feel this just shows our uniqueness and individuality.

Denominations and Separation

In the organized church there are many denominations and sects. I always saw this as a great division in the body of Christ. Yet outside of church, I have found much of the same. There are universal thinkers, preterist views, anabaptist views, trinitarianism, unitarianism, pre-millennial, post-millennial, there is a hell, there is not a hell….on and on it goes and each think they are right and others have missed the truth.

There is nothing wrong with having different views and interpretations. God has designed us as unique people and He leads and guides us according to that uniqueness. The problem is how we think in our mind according to our interpretations and views.

As I mentioned before, I felt a great separation in the organized church due to so many separate churches, each based on their style of doctrine and interpretation. I grew up in the methodist church and never considered going to a different denomination. I thought I had the best doctrine and interpretation of the bible and figured all the other churches were a little off base. Fortunately, neither I nor my wife think that way anymore.

But I am finding that with all the different views outside of church, we can get into the same thought process.

The big difference, at least the way I see it, is in our minds. It is our attitude and the way we think that either separates us or opens up the path to fellowship.

When we think that our way is right, we tend to associate with others who are of the same views. We join together with those of like-doctrine. Just the same as those in church meet each week with others who deem themselves methodists or baptists or lutheran and so on, when we think our way is right and only want to meet with those who feel the same, we again divide the body of Christ.

mine is rightEven when we decide to fellowship with those outside our way of thinking, if we go into it with the thought that we are right and they are wrong, and have the intent to meet with them only to prove our way is right, we still cause division.

We are all Unique

It is time we realize that each of us are unique individuals, created by the Father and guided by the Holy Spirit in that uniqueness. We need to accept that we do not have all the answers, we may be right or we may be wrong. Each of us will change over the years as God leads us along and the Spirit reveals more truth to us.

We should be loving and accepting of everyone we meet, and be open to fellowship with any of our brothers and sisters in Christ, without any thought or intention of proving our way as the only way. There is nothing wrong with discussing our views, and we certainly can learn from others as we listen to them, but we need to keep it at discussing and listening and not trying to prove our point and convert people to our way of thinking.

It is so aggravating to me to see people get so defensive and argue over who is right. Especially on social media where other people can see that divisiveness (tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people) and hard feelings it can cause. My first thought when I read some of these discussions is, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”. Yet, we sometimes do not seem very loving toward our brothers and sisters.

Even though we are outside the walls of organized religion, I have to say there are many who are still part of the traditional church system who love God and have very open minds to accepting others and realizing their way is not the only true way.

It is obvious that after leaving the walls of traditional church and living free from organized religion, the walls in our minds are still a thing to be dealt with and torn down.

Time of Change

Our walk is a daily process. It is a constantly changing, learning process where our interpretations and views change over time as the Spirit sheds light on more truth. We need to keep in mind that we do not have it all figured out and we are not the only ones who are right. We may be right for the place on the path we are currently, but as we move forward, we may begin to see things differently.

The way my wife and I see it, the best thing is to keep an open mind, listen for the guidance of the Spirit constantly, love those you come in contact with each day and enjoy fellowship with anyone the Father places in your life, whether it is a short period of time or a lifetime.

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For those of us who have left organized religion, it seems most of us go through similar steps in the process.

There are the months or, in our case, years of dissatisfaction and questioning. My wife and I knew for a long time something wasn’t right, but kept thinking it was just us or the church we were attending. We would try different churches and find our feelings were the same.

Once we got to the point that the option to stop attending church is very much part of our thinking, the next step was to really question ourselves. Thoughts like, are we really Christians, are we backsliding, are we losing our religion (losing your religion is a good thing). We began to feel something was wrong with us and wondered what others were going to think.

Next was the decision to stop attending something we felt was way off base from what true Church should be. Then there were feelings of keeping this to ourselves. Don’t tell anyone, just stop attending and keep it to yourself. In our case that was easy. We had been a part of an organized fellowship for a few years, but never got involved in other activities. It was a larger group of people and we didn’t do anything outside the normal Sunday morning show….service. This made it much easier not having to explain our actions to anyone else. To those of you who have made this decision and were active members, even pastors or so-called leaders in the church, we applaud you for making such a stand.

Next came the ‘us vs. them’ mentality. We wanted to look at the organized church almost as an enemy. We wanted to point out where they were wrong and why they were wrong. We wanted to associate only with those who felt the same as we did and didn’t want to hang around with those still stuck in the religious game. Obviously this isn’t the way to feel or treat people.

The next step was realizing God loves all people. Not just those outside the walls of the organized church. He loves us all, no matter what line of thought, doctrine, religion or lifestyle we choose. Jesus came to love people and show each of us the love of God. Finally we came to love and accept everyone. We no longer care what people think of our decision, we just want to love and accept each of them.

We are sure this isn’t a complete list of steps, but it is as far as we are for now. We are thankful for the years we had in the church as we learned a lot and made a lot of friends. We are equally thankful for the decision we made to leave the church with walls and focus more on the Church (ecclesia) made not by hands, but by God. A group of people who are saved by grace, following Christ, equally a part of the body and equally important to the body, and touching others day by day with the love of God.

We are all on different steps in life and fellowship, but we know that God is with us and leading us each step of the way. Keep the faith, keep your eyes on Jesus and be the Church each day of your life.

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My history with organized religion began back when I was just a little boy. My parents were active members of their church and once I was born, they started taking me and I’ve been a part of the organized church basically since that time. I was saved in the church when I was 10 years old during Vacation Bible School. I was active in one way or another for years and years, so when I say I’ve grown to see church in a different way, you will know I am not someone on the outside knocking church.

I grew up in a Christian family and was one of the kids who never got in trouble, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, didn’t cuss, I was always in church whenever the doors were open. I actually got to thinking I might be one of God’s favorites….can you believe it?

Over the past several years, I’ve had a groaning deep inside about modern-day church. I’ve been feeling that something just isn’t right. What we call church today just doesn’t seem like what God intended.

I began going to church out of habit because it was the thing Christians do to show they were different than the world. I felt that if I didn’t do certain things that were considered wrong, and if I did good things and attended church, I would be pleasing to God.

People seem to make so much out of going to church. I noticed that Christians, myself included, seemed more interested in finding out where others went to church. If they went to the same type of church as we did, we felt they were alright. We would make sure and invite friends or non-Christians to church rather than talk to them about what Christ did for us. We felt it was the place of the church to do all the evangelism and witnessing. We thought that if we got them into church, the pastor would take care of everything.

I also spent a lot of time, as do a lot of people, working around the church or doing ‘church’ activities. It seemed like the more I went to church, or the more things I did, I felt like a better Christian. This is a problem today. People get more involved in working for the church, or for the pastor, that they no longer are doing things out of love for Christ, but out of love for things about Christ. Many people feel the more things they do for the church, or the more often they attend services, the closer they are to God. They feel guilty if they miss a service or are asked to do something for the church and they say no.

I started realizing that going to church was not the answer. There was certainly more to sitting there letting someone else tell me what God was saying through His word. I became very dissatisfied with the church and I kept telling my wife that there is something wrong with the way things are being done. Something just isn’t right.

Over the years I’ve seen all the fighting and arguing among church goers. If you go to a different denomination than someone else, seems like you just can’t get along because of the differences in interpretation and understanding of the Bible. I would think about the verse ‘By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another’ (John 13:35 NASV) and wonder where is the love?

I see the mega-churches with all the glitz and glamour and wonder why all that money is going into a building, the pastor’s car, house and all the other expenses churches seem to require. I realize most churches give to other missions and other ministries, but it seems a very small percentage of the total giving actually go to ministries that help others.

All this has been weighing on me and I’ve been more and more uncomfortable sitting in church for an hour every week, looking at the back of the head of the person in front of me, being entertained and preached too. Then I’m told that this is good Christian fellowship, although I haven’t really talked to anyone during the entire service.

I have been struggling for a long time with my feelings and wondering what was going on with me. Was something wrong with my fellowship with God? Was I getting tired of church and Christianity after all this time? I can’t say there was any one event that made me feel this way, but it was a progression of events, thoughts, praying, reading, searching.

After all these years, I just couldn’t make any sense out of sitting and being entertained for an hour and then going home thinking I had fulfilled my Christian obligation. So much of the teaching in the church today is more or less telling us what we need to do and what we need to stay away from to make us ‘good’ Christians. While sitting in a service listening to this, it hit me that all this sounds a lot like the Law. I was feeling good about myself based on what I did or didn’t do, and how often I was in church. I got to thinking, didn’t Christ fulfill the Law? Wasn’t he the perfect sacrifice for us? Didn’t he put an end to the Old Covenant and begin a New Covenant of Grace? Why was the pastor still telling us we needed to follow the 10 Commandments and do things to earn God’s love? It just didn’t make any sense. Especially when reading verses such as Galatians 3: 23-26 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

For such a long time, I’ve wondered if the issue I was having about organized religion and modern-day church was a spiritual problem or not, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had a legitimate complaint of how modern-day church was going.

The way I see it, God said that we, His people, are the temple of the Holy Spirit. To me that says that God lives in me, not in a building. He says we are all sheep and He is the Shepherd, not the person we call pastor that gets up each week and talks about what they think the Bible says.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of good things have happened in church over the years, and a lot of sincere people who love God and want to please Him are a part of organized religion. I feel the organized church of today is over emphasized, making people think that everything happens in church. We have to wait until Sunday for God to show up and do something. What happened to the fact that we, His people are the Church and we have a relationship with God every day. We can have an impact on those we come in contact with each day by the Spirit of God loving them through us. Why do we feel we have to get people to wait until Sunday to come to a building for God to do something?

Christians will dress up and act differently, saying they are going to God’s house, but don’t realize that God’s house is within us. God lives within us every day of the week and we no longer have to go somewhere to meet Him.

I also wondered why so many events and teachings of the church still seemed to center around Old Covenant living. We are saved by grace and nothing we do or don’t do makes a difference in our salvation. We can’t make God more pleased with us by doing things and we can’t make him not love us for not doing anything.

After some time of wondering and praying, I finally started coming across various other people, through books and web sites, that were feeling the same way as myself. I would read something that really agreed with my spirit and think, wow, that is exactly the way I’ve been feeling.

I think for me three things really aggravated me with the church. One was how I saw the way people looked up to the pastor and the leaders of the church. It seemed like they were almost on a different level than the entire congregation. That didn’t fit in with the verse ‘What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26 NASV). Jesus is the head, we are the body. We should be letting the Spirit teach us and lead us, not another human being.

The second was the worship leader. I felt like he was telling me how to worship, when to raise my hands, when to do this and do that and basically trying to make me feel guilty if I didn’t respond. What happened to people responding out of genuine love for God and not because someone is trying to pump it up to make the worship team look good.

And the third is tithing. Tithing is an Old Covenant law and is no longer a requirement for living in Grace. I agree, we give out of love and according to how we feel God is leading us, but tithing as part of the law is done. The way I see it, the clergy needs to get paid, the mortgage has to be paid, the staff has to be paid, so they lead people on by saying tithing is still required and that just isn’t right.

My wife and I have stopped attending services for almost two years now. I have come to realize that what we call church is a good place for Christian people to get together socially, but it is not God’s house and it is not the Church. I know we need to continue to have fellowship with other believers, and pastors like to use the verse forsake not the assembling of yourselves together (Hebrews 10:25 NASV), but no where does the Bible say that has to be in a building on a certain day. Christians can fellowship anytime, anywhere. As the Bible says ‘for where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst’ (Matthew 18:20 NASV). I’ve heard of Christian groups meeting for Bible study in a bar as a witness to those who normally go there but who would not dream of walking into a church. Before we condemn this type of thing, we need to remember that Jesus, the Great Physician went to the sick. He didn’t wait for them to come to a building on a certain day. He went to the people who needed Him.

At times I still battle over leaving the church or to stay involved from time to time. I have so many friends that are part of the organized church and they just don’t understand my feelings. It’s almost as if I am out on my own when it comes to my friends and it makes me feel like it would be easier to keep my mouth shut and keep on attending services like normal. The problem with this feeling is, am I trying to please men or am I trying to follow the leading of the Spirit? I am fortunate to have my wife and a few good friends to meet with every other week who have the same feelings. I now know in my mind that I have not truly left church because I am a part of the Church, which is not a building we go to, but is the people of God who are saved by grace. I know that fellowship with other believers can take place anywhere and anytime. I am part of the Church every day no matter where I am.

If Jesus walked the earth today I’m not sure we would find him in church. He would be out meeting the people who most of the church crowd would not want to be associated. It was the religious leaders who were His biggest enemies in times past. I’m not sure it wouldn’t be the same today.

This post was a Guest Post at Gods Leader
You can view it at http://godsleader.com/my-journey-leaving-organized-religion/

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I’ve read many articles about church abuse. Seems many Christians have been through bad times in the organized church and they have become angry and frustrated with the system. Certainly understandable.

For me, I can’t say I went through anything I would call abuse in the system. I grew up in church and was very active over the years. I truly felt I was doing what was pleasing to God and I earnestly was trying to learn and do what He would want me to do.


So when I hear all the abuse stories and all the troubling times in organized religion, I don’t always understand. I know there are many people in the modern, organized church that truly love God and are trying to please him. I also realize there are many people who were unduly abused in various ways during their church life, and that is very sad.

For me, after several years of being unsatisfied with the system and feeling there certainly had to be more to it than what I had been part of, I dropped out of traditional church. Obviously this has to be something you feel is right for you, and I don’t think it is a good thing to tell people they should do the same. This is a choice that each believer has to make for themselves. I came to this conclusion after many years of seeing things, questioning things, reading things and just being completely frustrated with the system of organized religion.

I have no regrets in leaving, although I have no regrets for being a part of it for so many years either. I did learn a lot and made a lot of good friends. Of course because of the years involved, there are many beliefs and ideas I need to detox from now.

For now, feeling the system is wrong, I have decided to walk with God outside the walls of the organized church. Not that anyone is intentionally trying to do what is wrong but the whole modern-day organized church is off base. Granted, the system is the only thing we know. It’s been this way for years and we grew up with it and thought it was the way it should be.

We have it engrained in us that to assemble ourselves together is to go to church on Sunday morning and sit through a scheduled program. No where does scripture tell us that assembling together has to be done in a particular way, at a special time or in a set place.

We are told that the pastor is the spiritual head and he is who we learn from and come under authority and guidance. Of course God tells us that Jesus is the head of the church, which is his body, and the Holy Spirit is our teacher and we need no one to teach us other than him.

We are taught that we are saved by grace, but we need to live by the law to be pleasing to God. Reading through Paul’s teachings, it is easy to see that we live by grace, and trying to live under law is a curse (Galatians 3:10-13). Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant and the Law for us because we couldn’t. Jesus did the work, Jesus died and ended the Old Covenant. Upon his resurrection, the New Covenant began and we now live by grace. The New Covenant commands are to love God with all our heart and love others.

The Law was a tutor to show us that we were completely incapable of keeping the law and living a perfect life. Only Jesus was able to live a perfect life. For us Christians, a tutor is no longer needed because we have come to Christ and depend on his work and grace.

We are taught that the Bible is the true, living, inerrant word of God. John 1:1 tells us that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. To me that says that Jesus is the living Word. The Bible is the inspired words of God, but we are not to look to the Bible as the all-powerful, inerrant source of what God has to say. We should look to Jesus who is our all in all, our very life.

We are taught to tithe, although that is not taught under the New Covenant. Giving as we see a need and as we feel lead is now done out of love, not tithing to the church as a requirement. I personally feel the church today is more of a big business than it is a religious organization. Tithing is pushed because the organization needs to have the bills and the salaries paid.

We are told we are poor sinners saved by grace and that we are weak, unrighteous worms who are unworthy of God’s love. Now apart from God, we are nothing. We can’t live a perfect life and we were not worthy to be in God’s presence. BUT, because of Christ and the work he has done, we were given the gift of righteousness. Apart from Christ, yes, we were poor sinners, but through Christ the sin nature was crucified and we were raised up with him as new creatures. We are now the house of God, and we are holy and righteous in his sight because of Christ.

People want to put themselves under the authority of a pastor or the elders of the church, but God says we are all kings and priests and Jesus is the head. We all have something to say when we come together to build one another up. There are no levels of authority among believers. We are all equal parts of his body and have equal parts to play in encouraging and building one another up.

I think an important fact for us to remember today is that no matter if you are ‘in church’ or outside the walls, we should be looking to each other in love and not fight and argue amongst ourselves. Whether you are going to church, you are going for the Lord, or if you don’t go to church, you are doing so for the Lord. Accept each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, pray for one another, encourage one another, and stop looking down on people who see things differently than you.

Even those outside of Christianity need our love, not our condemnation. Jesus loved those who the ‘religious leaders’ of his day didn’t want to have association. We want our Christian church, Christian schools, Christian dating sites, Christian this, Christian that, whatever we can do to be separate and apart from the non-Christians, yet we were told to go into all the world. That certainly doesn’t mean we are to act like the world, but we do need to love all those that are around us.


I truly feel that being a person in Christ is a daily lifestyle. Being the church is a 24/7 way of life, not a Sunday only thing. God said that He is building His church and that He no longer lives in buildings made with hands. We are the church, we are God’s house. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are the body of Christ. We function together as equal parts of the body under the headship of Jesus. We may be the only Jesus a lot of people will ever know.

We need to adjust our way of thinking and realize that church and Christianity are not a religion. It is a lifestyle we live day by day. Jesus is our life, it should be no longer us trying and doing, but resting in what Christ has done for us. We are in Christ and it is him living in us day by day that makes the difference.

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As I become more inclined to follow my feeling that the church of today is way off base of what God intended, the organized, man-made denomination, the ‘religious’ church, I continue to come across books and websites that confirm my thoughts.

Take for instance, the teaching of the church on tithing. We are constantly told we need to give our 10% to the church or we are robbing God. Wait a minute, wasn’t that in the Old Testament? Didn’t Jesus come to fulfill the law and provide grace for us? Follow the following links and read a different thought on tithing:

Am I saying it is wrong to tithe? No. If you attend an organized church and you feel they are doing what God wants for them, yes, support it. But don’t feel you ‘have’ to tithe. Don’t let a pastor guilt you into giving because he uses some Old Testament verse to tell you that you’re robbing from God. Give because you love God and want to give. Give 1%, 5%, 10%, 50%, whatever you determine in your heart to give. We are free to give the amount we determine and are no longer under law and required to tithe.


Why get so caught up on being in a building each week, listening to one man (or woman) telling us what God is saying or what the Bible says. Doesn’t God’s word say that we now have the Holy Spirit to teach us?

Am I saying it is wrong to go to church? Of course not. I do believe the modern-day organized church is not in line with what God intended, and I do believe we do not have to attend any organized church. Some will say the Bible says don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together. That is true, but it does not say you have to assemble together anywhere in particular. Meet up with other believers in a restaurant, or invite them to your home for a meal and a time of fellowship. That is what I feel the Bible is talking about. Check this article to see what I mean:

In our day and age, it is time to get over the man-made religion and the church building being the center of our Christian life and realize there is more. Most churches today are more of a social meeting place or a big business than anything. We should focus on Jesus and build our relationship with him and realize that WE are the Church and the Holy Spirit lives within us, making us the dwelling place of God. We are the temple of God. We need to build our fellowship with God and with one another. This doesn’t need to be done in a building with an organized service, but in spending time with our brothers and sisters in Christ, helping one another and talking about God and His love for us. Others should be able to know that we are Christians because of the love we have for one another.

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