I want to be honest… I have no words to describe the overwhelming discouragement I felt for a long time with the Christian Church.
As a sincere disciple of Christ, I’ve experienced firsthand the corruption and evil of denominational bureaucracies- who’s priority is anything but the Cross of Christ.
I have seen firsthand how local congregations are decimated by control-freak lay persons who care more about special interests and their “club” mentality, than to explore the vast treasures of the Christian Faith and to experience in community the life-transforming power of the Resurrection of Christ.
I have seen the betrayals of sacrificial love and the way in which the lives of those who serve on behalf of Christ, treated as if they were superfluous. I have seen the lives of good Pastors (and their families) destroyed due to the obstinate refusal of many “Christians” to seriously take hold of the Faith, while at the same time firmly grasping unto power and control; laying every conceivable obstacle (and non-cooperation) against the spreading of the “Good News.”
The more I study the Bible and the Apostolic Fathers, the more I feel unworthy of calling myself a “Christian.” I have found that every other Dick, John and Mary out there, comfortably dare to call themselves “Christians,” while adamantly resisting and rebelling against the most basic injunctions of Christ.
On his way to his martyrdom, St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote in his Epistle to the Romans, 5:3:
Bear with me- I know what is best for me. Now at last I am beginning to be a disciple.
This was the old bishop of Antioch on his way to being eaten alive by lions! Ignatius- one of the first building-blocks of the Church and a disciple of St. John the Apostle! If this was the way that he thought about himself…then how the heck am I supposed to comfortably take upon myself the title of “Christian,” when I can barely fulfill Christ’s command to LOVE and FORGIVE MY BROTHERS as He has loved and forgiven me? (John 13:34)
For a while, I was so disappointed with the Christian Church that I even considered leaving institutionalized Christianity. For months, I truly considered leaving due to the hypocrisy, greed, egocentricity and worldliness that I experienced in the Church. I prayed on my knees for months…confessing to God that although I believed in and loved Jesus Christ, that I could no longer call myself a “Christian,” at least in the sense that the Western Church uses the title.
I reviewed the reasons why I believed in Jesus Christ. Greater than all of the personal, mystical experiences that I’ve had with him, the only thing that kept me from leaving the Church was the fulfilled Biblical prophecies that announced Christ’s incarnation and the tangible fact of the physical Resurrection.
One day as I was desperately pouring my heart out to God and asking that He would give me a sign as to whether I should leave Christianity or not… I felt the sudden impulse to look upwards.
There before me… in the midst of the clouds, a miracle happened. A mighty wind pierced through the clouds above me, and to my astonishment, a Cross suddenly formed. As my eyes filled with tears and my heart with joy, I reached for my cell phone as quickly as possible, only to catch a photo at the moment when the Cross began to dissipate into the big blue sky.
If you are a Christian who feels battered by the storms of hypocrisy in the Church, I want to encourage you to keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus and to not give up! Hebrews 12:2 says:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You are not alone. Even though they are far and few in between… there are true devotees of Jesus Christ that feel the same way as you do. I had forgotten that unless I carried my own cross (my instrument of death and loneliness) that I could never truly become a disciple of the one I called my Master.
Today I discovered a Christian Pastor called Phil Fischer. He shepherds a small congregation in Seattle, Washington. He also happens to be a Christian Artist who gives his music away for free. His song called: “Stuck on You” says it all… I invite you to listen to this great man of God… he expresses through song much of what I said to God on the day He showed me Christ’s Cross in the skies.
You’re not alone… Jesus Christ and the TRUE CHURCH is with you.