The most deadly, least recognized, most prevalent and most subtle counterfeit of Christian discipleship has been at work for decades deadening churches, sapping missionary and evangelistic vision, and deluding many into lukewarm Christian lives. This counterfeit is evangelical churchianity.
Evangelical churchianity is more often a counterfeit lifestyle than wrongly held doctrines. It is where someone who has orthodox doctrinal beliefs and genuine saving faith in Christ nevertheless places his or her devotion in religious association, conformity and ambition. This manifests itself in certain attitudes and actions which deviate from the New Testament portrayal of the life of following Christ.
Evangelicals have rightly recognized a form of churchianity in churches which do not clearly adhere to Biblical authority and salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. But churchianity infiltrates doctrinally evangelical churches also, through shallow conversions, false professions of faith, backsliding, Biblical ignorance, and treating the life of discipleship as church attendance and association. While it is the religion of those who want church association without true spiritual life in Christ, the nominally but not spiritually Christian, it can also become the the real religion of a church that is nominally evangelical.
|Christianity: New Testament Discipleship||Churchianity: Human Centered Religious Association|
|Emphasizes Jesus Christ as the one to be trusted, loved and obeyed.||Centered on the church as a social group and human organization|
|Emphasizes the Bible as the authority for faith and practice.||Follows an often unwritten set of human rules and traditions.|
|The church is a fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ united by their common faith in Christ.||The church is an earthly social gathering united by social compatibility and conformity.|
|The mission of the church is worldwide evangelization.||Maintenance of the status quo for personal comfort and prestige is the real agenda.|
|All people are made in the image of God and are to be treated with the self sacrificial love of Christ.||Anyone can be treated according to the personal likes, dislikes, prejudices, insecurities and expectations of those in control.|
|The qualifications for leadership are from the Bible and the model for leadership is the servanthood example of Jesus Christ.||The qualifications for leadership are social standing and the model of leadership is the social climber.|
Fostering Discipleship Rather Than Churchianity:
- Clearly communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation by his grace through faith in him alone.
- Clearly teach and model the Bible as God’s Word and the true basis for our faith and deeds.
- Clearly teach the nature of the church as the church of Jesus Christ, and his sovereign Lordship over all the church.
- Clearly live as if the church itself were a fellowship supernaturally created and sustained by God through the Holy Spirit.