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Organized Religion, Opponent to Christianity by West End Church of Christ

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Organized Religion, Opponent to Christianity by West End Church of Christ

Organized Religion, Opponent to Christianity
Organized Religion, Opponent to Christianity 
Think of the greatest obstacle religion faces today.  What is it?  
Is the religion of Christ facing enemies such as atheism or agnosticism?  
Is Christianity's greatest foe the world of Islam, Buddha, Shinto, or 
some other Eastern religion?  Let me suggest to you that the worst enemy 
Christianity faces is it's own organization.  I want to discuss with you 
today the most formidable enemy Christianity faces, organized religion.  
Please stay with us.
The West End church of Christ presents this program each Lord's 
Day.  Our purpose is to help you come to know your Bible better and also 
to become acquainted with us, who we are and what we stand for.  We urge 
you to examine what we say by the infallible standard of God's word.  If 
you find us in error on anything, please call it to our attention.  We 
do not intend to be wrong on anything.  Please accept this invitation to 
meet with us.  Every Sunday we meet at 9 a.m. for Bible classes, 10 a.m. 
and 6 p.m. for worship and every Wednesday at 7 p.m. we meet for more 
Bible classes.  You and your family are cordially invited to meet with 

Jesus was killed at the most religious season of the year, in the 
most religious city in the world, by the most religious people ever 
known.  He was not crucified because He was guilty of murder, 
insurrection, thievery, or adultery.  He was put to death by religious 
people because the things they believed had degenerated into the 
organizing of religious institutions.  Jesus knew full well the fate 
both He and all who follow Him face at the hands of organized religion.  
He said, "They shall put you out of their synagogues, yea, the time 
comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service" 
(John 16:2).  Paul spoke of those who "have a form of godliness, but 
deny the power thereof," warning, "from such turn away" (2 Tim. 3:5).  
The great apostle to the Gentiles knew from first hand experience the 
misery organized religion can inflict on those who stand in its way.  He 
told young Timothy, "You have fully known my teaching, manner of life, 
purpose, faith, long suffering, charity, patience, persecutions, 
afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what 
persecutions I endured, but out of them all the Lord delivered me.  Yea, 
and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being 
deceived" (2 Tim. 3:10-13).  Every great religious awakening since John 
the Baptist cried out against the internal corruption of Judaism, since 
Elijah was forced to eat what the ravens fed him, has been led by 
dedicated men and women who were ostracized and persecuted by religious 
people because religion was disintegrating into religious institutions. 
One of the saddest chapters in the book of religious history 
relates the torture and persecution inflicted on those who were declared 
heretical by the Spanish Inquisition, fostered by the Roman Catholic 
Church.  Men like John Huss were burned on a stake because of their 
opposition to organized religion.  The late F.D. Srygley said, 
"Religious people have committed nearly every crime in the catalogue of 
iniquity to build up, strengthen, and maintain organizations Christ 
never authorized."  How sad, yet how true!  Is the power of organization 
that is a self-defense mechanism created by organized religion.  Again, 
F.D. Srygley said, "Self-preservation is the first law of nature, and no 
organization can maintain itself without opposing men and doctrine that 
antagonize it."  This explains why there is now, has always been, and 
always will be conflict between Christianity and every form of organized 
By "organized religion," is meant the organizing of religion into 
an institution, such as the institution of government with all its 
varied forms of cabinets, organizations, and officers.  The religion of 
Jesus Christ never was, nor can be, organized in that sense.  From the 
viewpoint of doing things systematically, orderly, and in due process, 
the Lord did provide His church with organization, but never did Jesus 
intend for His church to be crystallized into a formal institutional 
body of religion.
Jesus said, "Every plant which My Heavenly Father has not planted 
shall be rooted up" (Matt. 15:13).  This sounds clearly as if the Lord 
knew there would be humanly planted religions.  He also knew their doom.  
Consider the numerous religious conventions, councils, synods, and 
societies which represent organized religion.  What is their fate?  Will 
they help us enter the pearly white gates?  Jesus said the Father will 
dig them up and cast them out.
The figure of planting in our Lord's statement is one we are 
familiar with.  A plant is dependent on someone taking the time to embed 
it in soil.  In nature, God does lots of planting.  Seeds fall into the 
earth from the vegetation God originally created.  The same is true in 
religion.  God plants only that which He chooses to plant.  He has not 
given men liberty to plant as they see fit.  He has provided the seed 
and the opportunities to plant.  Listen to the following analogies.  "He 
who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and 
multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your 
righteousness" (2 Cor. 8:10).  Paul said, "I planted, Apollos watered, 
but God was causing the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor 
the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth" (1 Cor. 
3:6-7).  Jesus likened spreading of the gospel to a sower and his seed 
(Luke 8:1-15).  Now we must ask, what plant did God set out? 
There was no organization in Christianity during the New Testament 
period.  Only assemblies of worshippers called congregations in a 
specific locality made up the organized efforts of Christ's church.  
Nothing was known about some "uninspired official dignitary."  Only men 
who met certain criteria were selected and appointed as "elders, pastors 
(shepherds), and bishops."  All these terms apply to the same person.  
These men were superintendents, not church officers.  They had charge 
over a local church in much the same way a shepherd watched over his 
sheep.  Peter wrote, "I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow-
elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of 
the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd (tend) the flock of God among 
you, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of 
God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness" (1 Pet. 5:1-2).  Paul 
said to elders to "Be on guard for yourselves and all the flock, among 
which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of 
God which He purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28)  That each local 
congregation was to have such men as shepherds is evident.  An apostolic 
pattern was established,  "And when they had appointed elders in every 
church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in 
whom they had believed" (Acts 14:23).  This is the extent of religious 
organization in the church of Christ.
Organized religion changed all that.  Today you hear of "Presiding 
Elders," "Pastors (in the denominational sense), Cardinals, Popes, 
Stewards (in an official capacity), and a myriad of other unscriptural 
designations of those who serve organized religion.  These officials 
have places of responsibility in organized religion.  It is natural for 
them to set up their own rules and guidelines.  They have done this in 
denominations by formulating creeds, confessions of faith, disciplines, 
catechisms, and way-books.  These become the official statements of 
religious belief for a specific organized religion.
Such was not the case in the church Jesus established through His 
apostles.  They had only one rule of faith and practice, His word.  John 
wrote, "Any one who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of 
Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has 
both the Father and the Son.  If any one comes to you and does not bring 
this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a 
greeting" (2 John 9-10).  When men form their own creeds they 
automatically go beyond the teaching of Christ.  If what they form as a 
creed has more than, less than, or other than the teaching of Christ, it 
amounts to a failure to abide in His teaching.  It is just that simple. 
The early Christians knew nothing of an "Apostle's Creed," "Nicean 
Creed," or any of the so-called "Creeds of Christendom."  They accepted 
only what Christ through the apostles taught.  Paul said, "If any man 
thinks himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that 
the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord" (1 
Cor. 14:37).  Any one who claims to be a prophet in our generation is 
automatically suspect.  No man has the right to claim prophetic powers.  
There are no inspired men today.  No man has the Holy Spirit in the way 
the apostles and prophets received Him.  Those who make claims to being 
led by the Spirit like Peter, Paul, James, and John are bogus, fakes, 
and liars.  When the New Testament was complete, flaming swords were 
placed at both ends of it to keep men's unholy hands off of it.  Jude 
wrote, "Beloved, when I was giving all diligence to write unto you of 
the common salvation, it was necessary for me to write you and exhort 
you to earnestly contend for the faith, once (and for all) delivered 
unto the saints" (Jude 3).  The writer of Hebrews penned these words, 
"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many 
portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His 
Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the 
world" (Heb. 1:1-2).  Later the same inspired source tells us, "How 
shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?  After it was at the 
first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who hear, 
God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by 
various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own 
will" (Heb. 2:3-4).  None of us fall into that category.  We have not 
hear the voice of God outside of the revelation called the Bible.  No 
man has the power of the Holy Spirit to work miracles, signs, and 
wonders.  Men can barely (never 100% accurately) predict the weather for 
two days from now.  Nor can men know anything of the future that is not 
revealed in God's word.  Therefore, we turn only to the revealed will of 
God, the Bible, as the one and only creed, confession of faith, 
catechism or discipline.
These are sufficient reasons to abandon all forms of organized 
religion and accept what the New Testament teaches.  Those who reject 
organized religion today do so because of deep conviction based on New 
Testament truth.  They understand the church is the body of Christ which 
ought never to be divided.  "Now, I beseech you, brethren, by the name 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that 
there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined 
together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1:10).  The 
recognize only one body (1 Cor. 12:14,20; Eph. 4:4).
Those who believe on Christ through the word of God alone will not 
divide into various religious institutions that are unknown plants which 
God intends to dig up and cast away.  They recognize that there is only 
one rule to which they must submit and one element of faith on which 
they must act.  They must recognize Christ as their Lord, believe in Him 
completely and obey Him fully.  Jesus last words on this earth included 
the following.  "Whoever believe (the gospel) and is baptized shall be 
saved, whoever disbelieves will be condemned" (Mark. 16:16).  It is not 
an acceptable option to disbelieve; it is not wise to ignore the 
commands of Christ.  I urge all who listen to study your New Testament 
and accept it as your one and only Guide.  It will lead you to become a 
Christian, a Christian only, and a member of the Lord's church.
If you have a question to ask, or a comment to make, about anything 
you hear on this program, please let us know.  You can write us at West
End church of Christ, 1609 Parkside Drive, Bowling Green, Kentucky
42101-2757.  Remember, we do not ask for nor accept donations for this.
Thank you for listening to us today.  We'll be back here next Sunday
at 8 a.m. and hope you will join us then.  May God bless you and yours,
good bye Radio Sermon No.150, Organized Religion
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