Assuming that evangelical orthodox Christianity is cult like and perhaps even cultic one must ask and answer the question why and how did it get to be this way? We have two thousand years of church history, and over that time for the most part, the church has exercised cult like control over people. All of this in view of Jesus words, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” and… “if the son shall set you free you shall be free indeed.” Surely there must be a disconnect between current evangelical, orthodox dogma and doctrine, and Jesus’ ministry, message and purpose. Surely when you view day to day life within current evangelical, orthodox Christianity you see little if any personal freedom from the group and yet, the scripture states that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. Get all alone by yourself, look in the mirror and contemplate the idea of freedom and liberty and honestly ask yourself if you see a remote connection between those concepts and realities and your experience in evangelical, orthodox Christianity. Notice I urged you to be honest. :)
So then, what is in place within evangelical, orthodox Christianity that makes the opposite of freedom the rule of thumb? The answer to this question calls for a list because it is not merely just one thing.
- The leaven of the Pharisees: Jesus warned his followers to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and he further explained that the leaven of the Pharisees was the doctrine of the Pharisees (Matt 16:6&12.) Think about it… He did not warn that it may happen, rather, the warning was because he knew it would happen, and sure enough, one of the main reasons for the bondage in evangelical, orthodox Christianity is the leaven of the Pharisees.
- From the inception of the church in the first century there have been concerted efforts to deceive people for control. 1John 2:27 warns that believers do not need to be taught by anyone but the Holy Spirit, the anointing which dwells within. The problem is that those who would deceive for control purposes have been around teaching and developing the doctrine which really forms the body of teaching which perpetuates the bondage and control…. again, the leaven of the Pharisees.
- Paul warned in the second letter to the Thessalonians that because they did not love the simple truth of the gospel that God would turn them over to a strong delusion so that they would believe what is false… In other words, because they loved the leaven of the Pharisees, God gave them over to this delusion.
- The leaven of the Pharisees includes their teaching about scripture and the law. It includes the lens that they use for interpretation. It develops the instrument that is used for control. It includes their erroneous view of righteousness. Paul says that they were unwilling to accept the righteousness of God and so they continued to develop their own righteousness based on the law. In so doing they would not and could not submit to the righteousness of God… Friend, that is the biggest source of the lack of freedom, not submitting to God’s righteousness and trying to establish self-righteousness. This is the source of the bondage and the control.
So then, what is the way forward toward freedom? How can one escape the cultic practices of control, judgment and self-righteousness? One must adopt a redemptive view of scripture. One must stop the constitutional legal reading of scripture. One must stop trying to establish his or her own righteousness by the law, and begin to submit to the righteousness of God by trusting Jesus 24/7. He alone is our righteousness and he alone gets the glory!