It’s far worse than most professing Christians have imagined. Because a Christian church is incorrectly thought of as a place, a service, a building, etc, and not the called out people of God that it really is (the Ekklesia), most people assume that a church needs to be organized and managed by a CEO (disguised as a shepherd). They end up with a worldly business disguised as a church fully equipped with a worldly military chain-of-command hierarchy (Senior Pastor, Executive Associate Pastor, Associate Pastors, Music Pastor, etc,). This is pure rubbish as it is nowhere to be found in the Bible.
It is impossible to “go” to church or “have” church. That is because Christians ARE the church. We can only BE the church. This is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is not something that we can turn on and off like a light switch. Popular Sunday “once-a-weekism” is absolute nonsense. The church is to meet daily wherever they can, usually house-to-house. Anywhere we go, to our jobs, to the store, wherever, there the church is because we as Christians are the church. Christianity is far simpler than most professing Christians try to make it seem. In so many words, Paul the Apostle said that he was concerned that as Eve was deceived by the serpent that some have departed from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Today "the church" jumped out of a van on the way to work to help a little old lady who was shivering in the cold. This is because a Christian jumped out of his van to help that dear woman with her needs and to preach the Gospel to her, showing the love of God in action in tangible reality. This is the church in action. Theatrical stage shows, pulpit-pew lectures, music concert churches and Broadway-like productions passed off as the real church assembling are ludicrous at best.
The popular yet monumental misunderstanding of authority in the church is probably the biggest problem driving the false church system. The main problem is with the people that the Bible calls "Nicolaitans", those who Christians ALLOW to conquer and suppress them. (From the Greek, the word "nico" means "suppression or conquering of" and "laos" is where we get the word laity which means people). In Revelation 2:6 and 2:15, Jesus said that He hates the practices and teachings of the Nicolaitans.
Not surprisingly, most Nicolaitans refuse to acknowledge and admit that they are Nicolaitans. They make the false claim that no one can really know what a Nicolaitan is or is not. Most just quote a popular fairytale that the word means a follower of the mythical heretic Niclaus. Not so. The truth is we know quite clearly exactly what the word means and exactly who these people are. Plus, it doesn't make any sense that Jesus would mention something that He hates and then never let us know what exactly that He was talking about.
Today there is no shortage of those who want a counterfeit Saul to be king over them and there is no shortage of Nicolaitans who want to be that king in the place of Christ. (By the way, The defintion of an antichrist is one who opposes Christ and/or stands in His place). At least God told Samuel to appoint Saul as king. Even though God was displeased with the fact that Israel wanted a man as king instead of Him, he still authorized Saul’s appointment. Today’s multitude of counterfeit “Sauls” have no such authorization from God. They are self-appointed and people powered. Here’s why we know that they are counterfeit leaders (they may be real Christians but they are false pastors):
- All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus (Matt 28:18).
- Jesus alone is the Head of the church (John 5:26-27, Eph 1:22-23, Col 1:18).
- God does not permit Christians to have controlling authority over other Christians in the church (see Matt 20:25-28, Mark 10:42-45, Luke 22:24-27, 1Pet 5:3, Matt 23:8-12, etc.).
- We do not have multiple special high priests over us. There is only One High Priest, Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 3:1, 4:14).
- We have One Master Christ and we are all brothers (see Matt 23: 8-12).
- You cannot obey two masters; you will love the one and hate the other (Matt 6:24, Luke 6:13). You simply cannot obey Jesus as master and a pastor as master at the same time.
There is a big difference between genuine behind-the-scenes loving elders who stand firmly for sound doctrine and admonish the Body of Christ to obey the Bible compared to a Nicolaitan one-man show who teaches his own agenda and draws men away to himself through manmade teachings and traditions.
For there to be any hope for any church to navigate through the ever worsening apostasy that is upon us, now more than ever, Jesus alone must be recognized as the One solely in charge and His Word the Bible must reign supreme. That is how it was always supposed to be, at all points in church history, but that is not how it has been, and that is certainly not how it is today.