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Coronavirus: A catalyst for a shift in Christianity from religion to relationship

(Courtesy of Tim Crawshaw)
(Courtesy of Tim Crawshaw)

One of the biggest things God is wanting to happen during the break from organized services, rooted in religious institutional practices as opposed to a Christian lifestyle, is to re-establish relationship with his people. With the forced church closures, many people, for the first time, will be left with the responsibility for their own spirituality and growth.

The churches that have focused on empowering their members in a christian lifestyle prior to closure will be better off in all ways compared to organizations who have institutionalized their members and not equipped them with the necessary knowledge or skills to continue individually (such as knowledge in spiritual warfare which God values greatly.)

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me” -Hosea 4. 6

Of great concern are the people who have been conditioned into religious spiritual practice who don’t know how to interact with God without the institutional scaffolding in place (like the liturgy or holy communion.) They have been chained into a codependent relationship with the church instead of being empowered in relationship with Jesus himself who gives freedom. Without the institution, the ego of the church-goer who once loved the certainty and familiarity of the church service might be forced to realize they are not as spiritual as they once thought they were, prompting a hunger to seek God in relationship without the familiar prompts and structures of the organization. Only then will people be able to experience the true supernatural lifestyle that Christianity is in its truest form without a middle man. Alternatively, the church-goer might be so
disempowered spiritually that they may not get closer to God because they have become completely lost and fall into temptation or worldly activities fueled by the ego.

The need for a shift in the “Religion to Relationship” debate heats up when we focus our attention on the topic of communion. Communion at home (conducted safely) during coronavirus and Easter is considered essential by many Christians and churches and they participate in it as Jesus has encouraged them to do in the gospels. Legalism in the institutional church and man-made canon law has however meant that millions of people around the world have not been empowered or allowed to celebrate communion at home during coronavirus and at Easter when they would like to.

This is where religion has got it wrong. Why?

Jesus never once said in the bible that remembering him through the last supper had to be done by a church official. That directive from Jesus does not exist anywhere. The necessity of having ordained clergy present for communion is just something the church conveniently made up to hold on to power and keep people co-dependent with them instead of empowering them spiritually. Consider what Jesus said to officials in the Jewish church who practiced legalism:

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“For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.
For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter go in” - Matthew 23. 6.

These words should act as a serious warning to church leaders who deny their members everything good about communion for the sake of maintaining power and control in their institutions especially during times when communion should be celebrated as often as possible such as Easter and during times of hardship.

While it is not the intention of this article to retract from the necessity of corporate worship and congregating with Christian people, the take home message is that church services of any kind are not intended to act as a substitute for a relationship with God one-on-one. This is a clear lesson from God during this time, that Christianity is a lifestyle that is lived everyday and not a service exclusive to Sunday’s. Churches and ministries who exist to empower their members in relationship with God, it seems, will receive far greater favor from God in the future than churches who exist for the agendas of their own organizations and failing to accurately lead people to Jesus the way that Jesus taught them to... That is, if God doesn’t use the coronavirus as an opportunity to close certain institution’s doors that he is displeased with before they can

Tim Crawshaw is an advocate for Christianity to move back to it's supernatural roots from religion into relationship with Jesus. He runs a wilderness ministry in Tasmania, Australia, called "The Bay of Fires Walk For Spiritual Seekers"  which gives participants an opportunity to authentically and supernaturally encounter God in some of the most beautiful isolated beaches in the world to receive restoration and life changing spiritual growth. Contact Tim through the walk website here

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