We've all heard the familiar lyrics, "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all of the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again." It is an English nursery rhyme with a satirical message. The intended meaning is simple: “Once a system is overthrown it cannot be restored.” It is a fitting analogy of what has been going on in churchanity since the early church.
Jesus was the stone that the builders rejected. We are the living stones He came to build His church with. We are His temple made without stones. The old wineskin of Judaism with its manmade traditions, blood sacrifices and temple rituals were destroyed even though some would like to restore them again. Like Humpty Dumpty, it too was hopelessly broken. While all the church men and all of the church horses have been scrambling for centuries trying to put the old pieces of outward religion back together and repair the old shell that was Humpty, all of their sincerity, good intentions and misguided religiosity have failed. All they end up doing is gluing the cracked shells back together and sitting poor Humpty rigidly in place upon one of his cherished church walls. Their best efforts are doomed because the temple-synagogue-cathedral system is built upon a faulty foundation of manmade traditions, artificial forms and religious misconceptions of what the church really is and what it was really meant to be. This is the hard truth that most cannot see.
Since the early church, legions of Popes, priests and clergy have been desperately trying to piece the broken shells back together and it still doesn’t work. They crave the shell which lost it’s substance long ago. Nothing new here. Men have tried recapturing a sense of God’s presence through their awe-inspiring cathedrals, gaudy pomp and pageantry and religious window dressing. If they could just get their manmade “forms of Godliness” right then the shell would effectively represent Christ. The only problem is they often end up denying and discarding the power of God in the process of idolizing their sacred shrines. His feeble attempts to project an air of divine grandeur and spiritual splendor through his best efforts is futile. As Stephen boldly declared before his murderers, “What house will you build for Me says the Lord?”
This never-ending quest to fix Humpty Dumpty affects even the most progressive and contemporary brands of churchanity. Today, some try a catchy new church name like “The Call”, ”Elevation Church” or “Synergy Fellowship.” Maybe we start wearing casual clothes instead of three-piece suits, implement some recommended church growth strategies, sit in a circle instead of rows, take up offerings or put an offering box in the back, add some new “peppy” songs from “Hillsong” or get a young "ear-tickling" hip hop pastor with tattoos and dreadlocks who sits on a stool when delivering his totally awesome 15 minute motivational pep-talks to biblically illiterate groupies. Then there are the state-of-the-art accessories, rock-concert ambience, seeker sensitive services, cappuccino bar, inflatable dinosaurs for the kiddies and always some cool new program.
Man has failed miserably in trying to fix something that was never right to begin with. He has even tried to fix that which was never broken in the first place like the gospel. As I have said before, it is the height of folly to think you can effectively reform churchanity from within by keeping a few healthy ones inside. Not only will the rotten keep on thinking they are wholesome fruit but they will inevitably start calling the healthy apples the rotten ones.
More and more Christians are recognizing the fact that Humpty-dumpty religion doesn’t work and are recognizing God’s call “to come out of her My people.”