The Church In the Wilderness
What it Means to Follow Jesus Outside of Organized Religion
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Other than politics, there is nothing that stirs the deep feelings and emotions of people more than a discussion about religion. Christians have discussed and debated the proper way to worship God for two thousand years, and have often separated from one another in an effort to restore what they (rightly or wrongly) believed to be the “correct” way of practicing their faith.
It is into this area of great contention that we submit our perspective. The premise is simple. Jesus, in obedience to His Father, has a specific purpose and vision in mind for what His people should be and what they should do while representing Him on the earth. The early believers grasped that vision. They lived it out to the best of their ability, and God blessed that humble beginning.
But something took Christianity away from its simple, Christ-centered roots. Today, the original vision and purpose is largely unknown, and has been replaced with something else. This “something else” looks similar on the surface, but is actually far removed from the faith, practice, and spirit of the New Testament.
Those who are concerned for God’s Kingdom and Will, who love God’s people and care about their spiritual growth and maturity, have looked at the history of the Christianity and have been compelled to ask: what happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen? And what can be done to bring us back into alignment with God’s purpose once again?
We believe that God has answered these questions. We believe He is restoring that vision and is calling all of us back to that original foundation.
This book calls attention to the difference between what God wanted from His people and what He actually received from us instead. If we approach the subject in this light – what God wants instead of what we want – perhaps it will help us to better understand why these things must be discussed. And when we compare the difference between the two, it stirs us to bring this message to the Body of Christ; not just for our sake, but for His.
We love God, and we love the people of God. Our motivation is to see all of God’s people return to a Christ-centered (instead of church-centered) belief and practice, and be set free from all things that hinder, distract, confuse, or obscure that original plan and purpose of God for His called-out people.
To do that, it is necessary to speak the truth in love: to stir up, reveal, confront, examine, investigate, and call attention to things said and done in the Name of Jesus when they do not, in fact, have anything to do with Christ, and have no connection or correlation to His Will for His people. Even worse, when an entire system holds itself out as the representation of God on the earth, while all the time actively opposing and frustrating His Purpose from being accomplished, it is our duty and responsibility to point this out as clearly and as convincingly as possible. Our prayer is that God will use this book to encourage those of you who are “outside the camp” and let you know that you are not alone. And we hope it will provide some answers to all of God’s people (both inside and outside the religious system) as to why so many have been led by God to take this difficult path out of Organized Religion and into the wilderness. Ultimately, the reader must weigh the things that are said, search the Scriptures, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and decide how to respond.
Absolute must-read in understanding "churchianity"
Chip Brogden has a unique perspective on how to survive outside the comfort of the institutional church (IC) which comes from his own personal experience. This book is full of practical spiritual advice based on scripture, and real-life examples of how God is calling people to come out of the IC and experience true freedom in Christ. Chip has no vendetta, no axe to grind, and nothing to prove. He points out ways in which the IC falls short, has been hijacked by humanistic motives and fails to deliver the experience of God's true relationship with his people, the church. If you are searching for answers, trying to make sense of your own church situation, wondering what to do next, this book can help clarify your thoughts as you draw your own conclusions through meditation and prayer. If you have left the IC and are wondering "what next?", Chip offers a perspective on the "wilderness" experience that helps us understand that the wilderness experience only exists to bring us into focus in our relationship with God, and that once we have realized the sufficiency of Jesus, the wilderness becomes an oasis of spiritual blessing. For me, this book came at just the right time, having left the paid ministry several years ago, and having been thoroughly dissatisfied with IC experiences and desperate for depth, meaning and truth in my walk with God, I found a resource that helped me get past the bitterness, the need for vindication, the sense of defeat, "what's wrong with me" syndrome, and the not knowing "where to go" next. I highly recommend this book, along with Chip's other works, as a resource you will likely keep and refer to, as well as share with others, for years to come.