Leaving churchianity is not a simple decision. Neither is it something that happens overnight. No one gets up one morning and suddenly decides to just make a clean break from churchanity without first undergoing a long and sometimes painful process of rending, self-reflection and re-evaluation. It is seldom a smooth or seamless transition. It is typically a long, gradual process. It is often problematic, fitful and, at times, fraught with self-doubt, agonizing questions and second-guessing.
This is both my story and what I have observed from the testimony of many others who have responded to God’s call to “Come out from among her.” For the overwhelming majority the exodus from churchanity is neither quick nor easy. It takes time to clear away the cobwebs of confusion. It takes time to unpeel the many layers of church conditioning and indoctrination that has held sway for centuries. It takes determination and spiritual grit to fight your way through the subtle conspiracy of silence that threatens anyone and everyone who dares to question authority and the church system. It takes spiritual conviction and courage to withstand the hailstorm of condemnation, censorship and intimidation that inevitably comes from church leadership and fellow believers who will stand against you. And yes, it takes the washing of the “water of the word” to scrub away the years of brainwashing.
The reason boils down to a matter of spiritual integrity, honesty and authenticity. Most of those who have left churchanity behind were once thoroughly steeped in the rhythms and mechanics of churchanity. It didn’t matter whether it was old school churchanity or some contemporary hybrid. I was once thoroughly committed to churchanity with a deep sense of spiritual loyalty. My dedication and involvement were birthed out of a genuine sense of spiritual sincerity, integrity and faithfulness to what I thought was the truth. During those years I honestly thought that the patterns of church life I had been taught to believe in was ordained by God. I truly believed I was living out an authentic Christian life.
It was in that same internal seedbed of authenticity, integrity and accountability that the process began and the nagging doubts and questions about what I was doing and what I had bought into for so long began to germinate. As time went on, I just couldn’t avoid the glaring contradictions I saw in the scriptures and the numerous shortcomings and inadequacies I witnessed in the established church. In large part, the religious phoniness, artificially and fabricated church life became too obvious to justify any longer.
And so began a long torturous journey of rediscovery which would eventually lead me to leaving the church that man has made. During those years of questioning and re-evaluation came a clear understanding of the dynamics of churchanity and the many reasons why it is so deeply flawed. But let me be clear - My departure was not one made in haste, the heat of rebellion or executed in the fog of confusion and uncertainty. Neither was it the byproduct of a lukewarm spirit, a disgruntled mindset or spiritual deception. My eyes were wide open and I had a clear biblical, experiential, and historical understanding about my decision. I left with a clear biblical understanding of what I was doing. I left to find more authenticity and relevance. But most of all I left to find more of Jesus not less.
When I write I realize that some have gone before me, some are somewhere in the process I described and some are still deeply entrenched in churchanity. Some get what I’m saying and some think I have gone completely off the tracks. Some rejoice in the confirmation that comes with the understanding of truth and the knowledge that others are going through the exact same thing they are. They rejoice that truth answers to truth and the truth resonates in their own hearts. They take courage in the fact that others have gone before and they are not alone.