Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Christianity is Not a Middle Class Religion

In the last twenty years or so, certainly in the UK, there has been a very downplayed but certainly very firm and purposeful disengaging politically, socially and economically from the majority working class, in the broadest sense of that term. The major political parties and the establishment, with the help of the mainstream media, have not only abandoned ordinary people, they have made them scapegoats for the economic downturn sparked off by the ‘banking crisis’ of 2008. The British Conservative government have also imposed austerity on the poorest people, whilst the wealthy, big businesses and global corporations enjoy huge tax breaks and the ‘offshoring’ of money in any number of tax havens around the world. From what I’ve heard, and from what I can see in the media, America, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are also suffering similarly, too.


What is particularly noticeable, is that as the very wealthiest are getting wealthier and a relatively small subsection of the middle class, millions of people are struggling economically, even many in work, and the present government are cutting all kinds of funding for school meals, the NHS, wages for ordinary people are stagnant, housing is impossible to buy for many people on low wages, education is being priced out of the realms of many people, and there is a maliciousness towards the (white?) working class majority coming from a number of quarters, which is unfair and in some cases downright vile.

Now, there will be Christians, and no doubt non-Christians, who will say perhaps not without reason ‘surely this is political, should a Christian be involving themselves in such things?’  I would answer that I am not involving myself politically in anything, I am merely commenting on a number of social issues I see around me and in the nation at large.  I also see the greed of wealthy people and the middle class people who prop them up via institutions like the media, law, academia and others as MORAL ISSUES. When the wealthy decide to get wealthy at the great cost of the poor and working class, there is something particularly unjust, even amoral, about it.

‘13 The Lord stands up to [j]plead,
And stands to judge the people.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment
With the elders of His people
And His princes:
“For you have [
k]eaten up the vineyard;
The plunder of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing My people
And grinding the faces of the poor?”
Says the Lord God of hosts.’ (Isaiah 3:13-15)

 
Now, what about this middle class church? Well, as the media, politics, law, charities and virtually every other institution and organisation has politely, carefully but very firmly pushed ordinary working class people out of them, I would say that the organised Church has done pretty much exactly the same, particularly the Church of England. Almost by default, we have at the moment a society that demeans the majority of us, that lionises the very wealthiest and makes the middle class the arbiters of good taste, respectability and those who are acceptable. And the rest of us? Well, we are either ignored, dismissed or downright attacked maliciously for being responsible for our own poverty, blamed as racists or fascists at the most extreme, or just seen as somehow surplus to requirements. Hardly a very Christian thing, is it? I do not see organised churches making any comment about this, in fact they seem more busy being ‘PC’ or incorporating worldly ideas into their belief system. There is more than a tendency in organised Christianity in the UK that unfortunately sees being middle class and perceived high social status as synonymous with being a Christian. I think this may have its roots in the Victorian era, that era of fake respectability, double standards and hypocrisy. I see a return to those times again, a time of fake respectability, double standards and hypocrisy... and all for what? For power, influence, political gain and money. Nothing changes.

Let me say this, quite clearly: CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A MIDDLE CLASS RELIGION!!! When everything else seems to belong to the wealthy and some of the middle class, faith in Jesus Christ doesn’t. Organised religion, perhaps even organised Christianity may have simply become another part of the social system, nice and cosy, challenging nothing, accepting everything worldly and staying quiet about social injustice and the growth in economic divisions, but Jesus IS NOT A PART OF THAT AT ALL. Religion is not relationship, and no matter how many wealthy and powerful people wish to use religion for their own selfish ends, God deeply frowns on them. Let me say quietly and politely, that there will be a price to pay for greed and selfishness, particularly when the accumulation of wealth for some creates poverty for many others, and that that poverty and hardship is justified through the media, governments and even organised churches.

 
Let My People Go!

I don’t particularly feel that churches of any kind need to become working class, whatever that would actually amount to anyway (rather posh out-of-touch middle England vicars talking about Ed Sheeran or rapping like Snoop Dogg??!) but all churches need to reach out into the community they are in, and focus on Jesus Christ and not worldly things or the current layers of worldly injustices justifying poverty for many and the growing wealth of a relative few. For many people at the moment, and this includes many Christians, society resembles ancient Egypt ...??!! Yes, you heard right. Bear with me. Ancient Egypt was a highly complex, well organised and well administrated society with a sophisticated social structure. Yet, for all that, it basically revolved around making the pharaoh and his family very wealthy, which was partly kept in check by the powerful priestly class. There was no absolute outright poverty to my knowledge in ancient Egypt but ultimately their gods were false and the pharaoh laboured for most of his life to fill a pyramid with often stolen wealth. In the end, utterly pointless, futile, selfish and blatantly narcissistic. Without checks and balances, capitalism descends into the same nonsense, a handful of very wealthy individuals hoarding vast amounts of wealth, whilst millions need food or work or help to get on in life, and that hoarding often doesn’t even bring real meaning or peace to people who already have wealth, only a fleeting sense of triumphalism and perhaps superiority and smugness. But happiness? That  seems to elude the very wealthiest, as it does many other people.

Moses’ cry of ‘let my people go!’ could be levelled at Western governments today, who create drudgery and enforced poverty for many people, and in some cases persecute disabled people and withhold welfare benefits from people who desperately need them, and as growing numbers of people are becoming Christians, particularly amongst the poor and working class, the governments of the day, as in Jesus’ times, are persecuting people who are God’s people. Now, I know that anyone with wealth and power and perchance someone from the government reading this will either laugh in disbelief, ignore without a second thought or dismiss as ranting nonsense all of the above, but God has a way of tackling wilful and malicious injustice and sometimes it can come from the most surprising quarters. Heed my words.

 
The Great Apostasy?

I’ve read and heard a few things about a great apostasy during the end times which means a great falling away from the church. Now, like most people interested in the ‘end times’ before Jesus returns, I’ve wondered what this great ‘falling away’ from the church might mean. I suppose we could ask which church, too. As a Christian of longstanding, I believe that there is a difference between the church most people think is the church, and what God considers the true church. For instance, there is the organised church, or churches, like the Church of England and the Catholic Church, and of course there are various other established organised denominations, which are supposed to pass for God’s ‘church’ on earth, but I’m convinced not one of them is. Then you have many the autonomous churches, which may come under looser connections like the Elim and Grapevine and other churches, some which may be ‘Charismatic’ or ‘Pentecostal’ and other things, but generally I’ve found such churches quite welcoming, open and not too fussy or snobby about who you are. Then many people get confused with the term church, thinking it means the building, rather than the people.

I believe the true church of Jesus Christ are merely the people all over the world, and throughout history, faced by many troubles and persecution, who have stayed true to the Gospel and their calling as Christians, despite and in spite of what persecutions, troubles, hardships and societal trends and passing beliefs have come.
 
Here’s a question for you: What do you think will cause, or is causing, the Great Apostasy?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

25 comments:

  1. Hi Controversial Christian!

    I found your article quite thought-provoking. It reminded me of the whole chapter of Matthew 23, link below for any interested readers:

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=NIV

    I agree with much of what you typed. I would add that countries that are predominantly Christian or regard themselves as having Christian values have waged war on othe countries that are predominantly Islamic. Many innocent women and children have died (perhaps a million in Iraq alone).The blood of those innocents is on the hands of the people from the countries that sent the troops because it was with their tax collected money that it was financed.

    What happened to the Second Great Commandment? "Love your neighbour as yourself." Have we gone back to thinking that it only applies to those in close proximity to us? Didn't Jesus clarify that the Good Samaritan was the only one of the three who acted in accordance with the Second Great Commandment? Did Jesus die to save only those who believe in Him or for all humanity? I can provide a link that suggests the latter if you're interested.

    Peace and love to all humanity,

    Dinos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dinos. A really interesting comment. Britain, the US, France, Germany, Greece and many others have
      Judaeo-Christian roots and heritage and ways of doing things, but generally nations cannot be Christian in the way individuals are. The English nation as a whole cannot or will not accept Jesus in the way you or I will and can accept Him as our Saviour.

      What are the reason for wars? My taxes may have been spent on guns, bullets and bombs by the British government, but I never asked them to. Did God ask them to invade and attack predominantly Muslim countries?

      You can leave any comment at all, Dinos, but I would ask one question, and that is, is the link and its contents biblically sound?

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Hi Tim!

      This is the link that describes how Jesus' mortal death was for all humanity:

      http://www.frimmin.com/faith/godislove.php

      It's a lengthy post but worth reading all of it before you judge it.

      Peace and love to all,

      Dinos

      Delete
    4. Not really sure what to say to that. You would need to weigh its main message against what scripture says. That is the final word for me. God's Word trumps all.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tim, you may find this hard to believe but the day before you put up this post you came into my mind and I looked to see if you had put another post on your blog, as you haven't come up on my sidebar as doing so for a long time.
    I saw your post was quite long and have not been able to read it until now, as I did not want to feel rushed when reading it, and my life has been quite busy over the past couple of days.
    I agree with everything you have written, and God does not live in a house made with hands - as in any building - even though it is quite alright for believers to gather anywhere.
    Strangely also, my last but one post on my blog is about 'denominations'.
    It is nice to see you back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Brenda. I do believe you!

      It's good to be back, and nice that you are commenting on here again.

      Delete
    2. Hey Brenda. I think I read your post on denominations. If I haven't I need to check it out. :-)

      Delete
  4. Hi Dinos,
    I read your comment and agree with much of what you have written. However, I believe that the Bible is a living Word that, once we are born again of God's Holy Spirit, teaches us as individuals in Christ even though we are joined together as one, being parts of the body of Christ and having the mind of Christ.
    The Holy Spirit is the teacher and growing in Christ is a process as we are each given the bread of that living Word that we need. That Word actually says there is a time to hate and a time to refrain from speaking, but that is because, as Ephesians ch. 6 v. 12 says:- 'For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'
    God loves all and wants all to be saved and I love the way He builds His house.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is so true Tim, "
    I believe the true church of Jesus Christ are merely the people all over the world, and throughout history, faced by many troubles and persecution, who have stayed true to the Gospel and their calling as Christians, despite and in spite of what persecutions, troubles, hardships and societal trends and passing beliefs have come."
    Followers of Christ will patiently endure till the very end by God's grace. We have all we need to overcome this world through Jesus Christ. Just gotta holdfast to the truth and have faith.

    Great question you asked at the end too. I think the great falling away has started because many are already losing interest in sound doctrine and are heaping up teachers who teach what they want to hear. I really like your response to Dino in the first comment, hopefully he returns and responds to what you said. Great pos. God's word in Michah 6:8 I think it is, says we are to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.

    Glad you're back Tim. May God continue to bless and keep you:-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi,
    Thank you for your recent comments for my blogs.
    Indeed, you have a very much the same line of thinking about our churches as I do, namely tending towards middle-class believers in preference over those from more humble backgrounds.
    And my church at Royal Ascot is no exception. Although I'm well liked and respected by the majority of the congregation - especially among the students, there will always be one or two who have a favourable disposition towards the better educated professional as well as acting so smugly, as if putting on a show to cover his own sense of inadequacy.
    A very well written post. God bless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Frank. Always a pleasure to hear from you and read your blog.

      Delete
  7. Sateigdra,
    it is lovely to see you on Tim's blog again. We all seemed to have lost touch for a while. I had my email hacked into so had to change it, and yes I have written a post on denominations. It is the last but one on my blog. God bless you, lovely to be in touch with you and Tim again.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Tim,
    just to say that when I look at your followers I am coming up as jocoat888. That is an old email that got hacked into, which I have changed, but that follower is still me. The pic that comes up now as Brenda is my attachment to my lighthousvision blog now. I do not know enough about technology to change things right now, but I am learning. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Brenda. Yes I can see what you mean. What you could do, is click on the 'unfolllow' button, refresh and click on the 'follow' button afterwards and see if that changes anything. ;~)

      Delete
  9. I will give that a go when I have someone with me who has a bit more knowledge than me, it sounds quite easy but I don't want to make a mistake and wipe something out. There is someone coming during the week to help me recover files that I can not open, so that should be a good time. Thanks Tim.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Tim,
    there is no 'follow' button on your blog, only by email- which I don't do.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey Tim, It's good to see you back up and writing. I've been checking in on you, ever once in a while. It's great to see that God has lifted you up. How's everything going? I'll read your entry over the next day or so and comment. Again, my friend, it's great to hear from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Keith. I'm hanging in there. Need to re-evaluate my life, and recommit to Jesus. That's the first thing.

      Delete
    2. Hey Tim, just checking and seeing if all is going well. It's hard when life gets in the way of living. If it helps, I set an alarm everyday to dedicate to the Lord. Now, it second nature. However, it is a choice to follow and choose to use whatever mechanism I have available to help this fleshly lump of clay to follow our Lord and Savior on a daily basis. Shalom and God With God, because He is Going with You!

      Delete
  12. Hi Tim,
    you have just come into my mind and I came over to see that you are still replying (as in Keith's comment) I have a new email but I don't want to put it public. If you want to give me your email, or tell me how I can find it, I can contact you and give you mine. I find this very strange that I have come over to your blog near enough the same time as Keith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Brenda, God moves his Remnant as one, Echad. :-)

      Delete