I asked a friend of mine, Andrew some questions related to his experience since leaving institutionalized Christianity and with his permission, I am posting his responses here.
Do you consider yourself a christian, i.e. part of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Are you affiliated to any denomination.
How is it you consider yourself a part of the body of Christ while you are not affiliated to any christian denomination?
Not any congregation that meets regularly at a particular place. I am comfortable meeting with any other believer where there’s mutual edification or admonition: it can be in a restaurant, a house, or a large building provided that everyone is participating or allowed to participate.
How long have you been outside the gathering or covering of a religious institution?
Covering or gathering, is there a difference? This is my third year.
And for this time would you say your relationship / walk with the Lord has been more or less real?
Aaah, my relationship with Christ has improved exponentially much to my surprise. While I thought I’d backslide, my faith building activities have multiplied.
What do you mean by ‘faith building activities’?
I mean prayer, time spent in the word (especially), meeting with brethren, reading christian material, etc
Was there a way Institutional Christianity was a hindrance in that regard?
Yes. My desire to know God more and the frustration I was getting in that regard is what led me to leave, desire for answers both spiritual and natural. Many questions I had were not being answered, I saw a lot of abuse of authority by the clergy. A lot of hypocrisy among the brethren, which led me to question many things. It was in that frustration that I left and later started meeting others exploring life outside the institutional framework – seeking and searching beyond what was already there.
Are you OK the way you are or are you in a kind or waiting until God gives direction to a new grouping?
I am fine, very fine. Like I mentioned , my definition of Church is very fluid:- we may gather with two or three brethren for a season, I may also gather congregation-ally for a season; whenever and wherever God would have me gather with others, I am ok the way things are.
In the early church, you notice that different groups of Christians were identified by their brethren in their city; Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, etc. is this of yours not a departure from identifying yourself with the body of Christ in your city, Nairobi?
How is it different?
a. “You cannot say you are a part of any church in Nairobi.”
r. ‘I am not part of any denomination/institution. Church is not a physical/tangible entity: 2Pet 1:4 – we are partakers of the divine nature: church is divine, not something you see or grasp, so Yes, I am part of the body of Christ in Nairobi – we may not meet at a particular place at a particular time – my meeting with other brethren are spontaneous. Church is definitely a God concept not a human concept.’
How do you feed from and supply to your brethren without a scheduled regular gathering?
Does it need to be regular and scheduled? That is a world thinking being transferred to the spiritual – setting up programs and schedules is the human way of doing things, but as I was saying church gathering is supposed to be spontaneous, by divine promptings.
q. “Are you saying we should not plan anything related to church?”
r. “I should say there’s nothing wrong with planning especially when dealing with large gathering of large congregations, but I am saying that even when that is done it ought to be by the leading of the Spirit and mutual consent.”
Are you not missing out on the strength of the corporate gathering as described in (1 cor 14:26), “26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”?
It does not say there, it has to be ( Heb 10:24&28, Cor 3:16 ) large numbers or scheduled , i.e no mention of numbers. ‘Daily’ is not a command, I see it as a guideline or exhortation.
What would you say to one toying with the idea of leaving institutional Christianity, but wondering, “who will be my covering?”
You see, that one needs a covering is based on a hierarchical understanding of scripture within institutional Christianity which has no basis in the new testament. You do not need a covering (1 Tim 2:5). We go to God directly by Christ Jesus, so there’s a world out there to explore: take the plunge..
“Ummmh, Church is defined by mutual edification; it is not a one man show. In my thinking, any church meeting where a single individual is teaching/admonishing to the exclusion of other believers is a recipe for deception. Growth is achieved in the body when every member plays his/her part. (Eph 4:15&16)”
Thank you Andrew for sharing with us your life.