By Jude Obuseh
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? – Mathew 7: 3.
The protestant revolt that exploded across Europe in the 16th century (1517AD) was known as the “Reformation”, a movement arrow headed by a fiery German monk, Martin Luther (1483-1546). It was a formal uprising against the supposed indecencies of the Roman Catholic Church.
Some of the accusations leveled against the Church of Rome by the early reformers were that: It had completely deviated from the bible’s provision for church establishment, organization and operation, replacing them with the fabrications of men; it was promoting idolatry; it had adulterated the spotless teachings of Christ with the philosophies and sophistries of the so-called thinkers of the times, producing a new belief system driven by superstition and coloured by priestly accretions; it had restricted the general study of the scriptures; it was promoting the doctrine of “Supererogation”, the idea that a sinner’s sins can be forgiven by exchanging them with the good deeds of the saints; it was corrupting the sacrament of the Lord’s super, altering it with the doctrine of “Transubstantiation”; it had altered the ordinance of baptism, smothering its true values by synthesizing it with pagan traditions; and of other detestable abuses against the spotless teachings of Jesus Christ.
One notable consequence of the Lutheran Revolution was the multiplication of Churches of human contriving. From the sixteenth century to the present dispensation, the number of Church denominations in the world has increased exponentially. We now have Churches named after their famous proprietors and promoters, such as Wesleyan, Calvinist, Lutheran; those defined by the similarities of doctrine or plan of administration, such as Congregationalist, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian; those named from the circumstances of their origin, such as the Church of England; and others named after the peculiarities of their establishment, such as Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventist, etc.
However, it is sad to note that despite the purported reformation induced revolution in Church organization and administration, the contemporary or so-called “Reformed Churches” have not fared better than the old Church of Rome. Any iota of true religion is buried under layers of abuses against the sacred laws of Almighty God; sacrileges that have smeared the once sparkling image of Christianity. Just like the Church of Rome which had no valid claim to divine authority, most of today’s churches are completely bereft of the recognition and operational mandate of Jehovah. One wonders where most contemporary Churches derive their officiating authority, if the mother Church lacked spiritual legitimacy?
Accepted that individuals have formed the penchant for indiscriminately establishing Churches, setting rules, formulating laws, setting out operational plans, discipline, and governance, which they make binding on all the members of their assemblies’, the non-existence of divine recognition, without which there can be no true Church of Jesus Christ, exposes them for what they really are: mere contraptions of mortal men; vain concoctions of shallow minds; idealistic constructs destined to fail. That is what most modern Churches truly are.
The painful truth that stares all impassioned observers of the ongoing drama in Church circles today in their faces is that most contemporary Churches have simply substituted the taboos of the old Roman Church with newer, more despicable ones. They have refined – not “reformed” – the rank sacrileges of the Papacy and taken them to newer heights; heights that even the Vicars of the old Church would have marveled at where they around to witness the ongoing charade. In the same manner the Vicars of Rome acted like the imperial owners of the Church, the heads of most modern Churches replicate their intransigence by acting as potentates who arrogate both spiritual and moral authority to themselves. These lords act as superintending rulers in all things, exercising complete authority in Church affairs. Nobody questions their decisions, whether right or wrong. They are akin to infallible beings that can do no wrong; like gods in human flesh.
Most contemporary Churches promote an advanced form of the principle of “Supererogation” through the indirect advancement of the bland idea that a sinner can buy his way out of eternal punishment in the pits of Hellfire by complying with all prescribed traditions of the Church – attending church programs regularly, payment of all Church dues (including tithes and offerings), giving alms, praying violent prayers, and performing other extra-biblical functions prescribed by the Church councils. Just like the vain practices of the old Church of Rome, the Churches of today have refined this fraudulent practice by creating a completely materialistic generation that puts Mammon before God – a generation that thinks it can outsmart God. That is why there is so much little regard for God and His high standards in the Churches of the present age as Christians have been misled by their shepherds, into believing that they can get away with their sacrileges against Jehovah once they flash the cash and perform other hypocritical Church rituals. This is standard practice in most modern-day Churches.
Again, like the old Church of Rome, most modern Churches promote idolatry of the most devious kind through their worldly doctrines and practices. Most of today’s Churches are like gigantic showrooms where people come to show off the latest in fashion and wonders-on-wheels; centers of vanity where people are encouraged by their ministers to “seek first the material kingdom and all its accouterments that all other things might be added unto them”; whore houses where the basest, most reprehensible displays of materialism are acted out in full public view. Most of today’s Christians are Mammon worshippers who will do anything under the sun to acquire the vain trappings of life. Several cases abound of high crimes committed by respected Church leaders who, in their greed-driven and debauched quests to acquire earthly wealth, threw decorum to the winds; Church leaders whose disgraceful conducts have muddied the sparkling standards set by Christ and His Apostles.
Most modern Churches have also adulterated the spotless teachings of Christ with the philosophies and sophistries of mere mortals. If you attend some Church programs you will be amazed at the careless manner some pastors resort to extra-biblical sources – some of which are even borrowed from New Age religions – to back up their teachings, and the manner their bewildered, desperately poor, highly ignorant, miracle-seeking members of the congregation lap up these misleading doctrines with shouts of “ride on pastor”, “tell them pastor”, “talk to me father”, together with other reprehensible shouts of encouragement to the charlatans on stage. They have added and taken away from the unadulterated teachings of the Bible and shall not go unpunished (Revelations 22: 18-19). The truth is that the so-called men of God running most Churches are mere motivational speakers and nothing more. They are like psycho-analysts who work on the minds of their hapless followers; like mental health service providers administering placebo therapies. That is why most Church services have become therapy sessions that troubled souls attend expecting cures for the several debilitating challenges they face on a daily basis. To worsen matters, most Churches restrict the general study of the scriptures on worship days, replacing it with mere side attractions in form of entertainment.
The only area in which there is a difference between the old Church of Rome and some of today’s Churches is in nomenclature. What we have as post-reformation or contemporary Churches are simply contraptions of individuals with mere ideological interpretations of biblical prescriptions of what is right or wrong; creations of mortal moralists in search of power without responsibilities; concoctions of those who crave to exploit others without any form of redress; evil designs of satanic agents masquerading as angels of light; machinations of Bible despots dressed in cassocks of righteousness. Nothing distinguishes these centers of idolatry from the old shrine of Rome.
That there is an urgent need for a reformation of the idolatrous practices in most contemporary Churches is there for all discerning minds to see; a colossal overhaul of the earthly body of Christ as currently constituted and operated is urgently needed; a massive shift in the manner modern Churches are being run; a redress of the rank and villainous mess the contemporary shepherds of the flock have made of the good intentioned efforts of the reformers of old; a renaissance in the teachings and practices of biblical facts; a paradigm shift so to speak.
The few remaining genuine soldiers of the cross must boldly rise up in one accord to fight the festering decay in the earthly Body of Christ. Where are the mighty warriors of faith? Where are the true angels of light? Where are the soldiers of the cross? Where are the true seekers of truth? Where are those men and women who are ready to deny self, material possessions and family, and commit themselves totally to carrying the cross of Jesus Christ? Where are those genuine Christians with fire still burning in their bones? I challenge you to rise up against this second crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ as depicted by the indecencies of the charlatans leading the contemporary Church. The time to act is now, for tomorrow might be too late. God is watching us all!
Mr. Jude Obuseh, a peace researcher/practitioner and public affairs commentator writes in from Benin City. Syncado2006@gmail.com