A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a bible seminary. My students were hungry for the word of God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus. I wanted them to become voices for revival in the Church. I was taking their history class. I quoted a gentleman’s statement to them, to explain the entire history of Christianity in a short phrase. I said,
“Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy;it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. Now its spread the world over as Multi National Corporations and is customised under various Choice brands”
Hepzibah, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory. The church started as a fellowship in the first century. They were a small group of men, gathering in houses without any brand names. They were mere fellowships. Then as Christianity moved among gentile nations, it was seen as philosophy. Under Roman Catholic umbrella it became a giant institution. In Europe, it developed its own festivals, calendar, dressing style, worship style, and other cultural aspects. As it came to America, we set up management bodies in churches, treasurers, church programs and calendars were fixed for the entire year, and so on.
I acknowledged Hepsibah’s raised hand, “Yes, Hepsibah. What is your question?“
She asked me “Are you saying church nowadays, is an enterprise and Mega-Corporations?“
I said, “Yes! The church is like a business house!“
She asked me again, “But isn’t church supposed to be a body?“
I said, “Yes it is body!”
She continued, “When a body becomes a business, is not that prostitution?“
The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound, because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were sinners standing on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” Hepsibah’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t that prostitution?“
There is only one answer to her question. The answer is “Yes, The Churches we all attend is everything but not a mere simple fellowship. The simplicity is lost. Church of our days is a body which does business, – a business of exchanging prayers and blessings for them who give money. We write their names in our books and registers. We do praising at 4:00 AM early morning and 10:00 PM at night, for only those families who donate monthly tithes. The church doesn’t give communion to them who are not its members. It doesn’t marry children who are not its regular tithe payers. The church doesn’t bury the dead bodies of them who are not its customers. Church has its own version of CEO, director and managers. It extends its service to them who pay regularly 10%, instead of serving people out of pure love and kindness. The church is populated by believers, who got their names registered in its membership register because they wanted blessings in life, business, and prosperity. They married Christ for money! They married him for the chief seat in Zion. They came to TPM because they heard prophetic promises that claimed to make them feel good and chosen one. We at TPM need to ask the question, are we lovers or prostitutes?
I was pondering Hepsibah’s question again one day, and considered the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?” I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen to members who stopped paying to TPM church pastors?” As I reflected on the answer, I realized that once you stop giving tithes, “saints” will start warning you about the curse of not tithing regularly. They will say some disease will strike you or your family as a warning message from God that you have forgotten the money you used to send to me. Saint’s love for you will start to vanish. You will feel neglected. They will love other believers who are richer and who pay more. They who donate more will be given more time and importance.
I remembered the incident I heard from workers discussing among themselves. Elder brother in-charge of local faith home was saying to the elder sister,
“That Wilson guy came for prayer from us last month. I prayed for him and said you must start attending our church to get healed. When he got comfort after our prayers, he stopped attending our church, and went back and started attending his independent pastor. Let trouble strike him again and he would come running to people with white clothes for prayer. Then we will not pray for him. He doesn’t come to our church. Why should we waste our time on them who don’t come to our church?”
I remembered that so many people had been believers of our assembly in the past. Then as they left, their names disappeared from the list of the church, which was used for prayer and praise. Today if you happen to look at the list of believers, you will no longer find their names. They do not pay tithes to “saints “. Their names are forgotten! Their families do not know where they are. All the love TPM church showed them in those years, (some thirty years before) is vanished as smoke vanished.
Are we a body which is called as the lover of Christ, or are we a body which operates on principle on which business houses operate. Do we extend our services out of charity & kindness, or are our works of ministry limited only to our regular customers? Remember prostitute will not be seen in heaven. She can deceive men but not God. Apostle Paul espoused a chaste virgin unto Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). A chaste virgin, undefiled by doctrines and dilutions, stands on mount Zion.
The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mournRev 18:15 (After the destruction of Mystery Babylon)