So Jesus comes to restore His relationship with his children. His followers actually had God's Spirit living in them. Their selfish ways would die, and they would be guided instead by the will of their Father.
But I'm afraid we've added stuff to this. Just like the Pharisees, over time we've slowly accumulated additional beliefs, laws, and traditions. Are some of these things hindering the relationship that Jesus came to restore?
- Special buildings for places of worship
- The distinction between clergy and laity
- Sermons preached to a passive audience sitting in rows
- Thinking Church is a Sunday morning event, a building, or an organization/corporation
- The Lords Supper or communion as a small sip and bite instead of a full meal
- Little room for spontaneity at the Sunday morning event
- Having large time gaps between conversion and baptisms, or placing participation in some classes as a prerequisite to baptism
- Christian academic education instead of apprenticeship styled discipleship
- Focus on serving church programs instead of a focus on serving one another
- Viewing the Bible as the final authority of our faith
- Acceptance of denominations and divisions
I won't even attempt to list all the doctrines and/or values that different 'church' traditions would list as essentials. The lists would differ from 'church' to 'church', and most would be longer than the Apostle's creed, and highlight more recent divisions and distinctives.
Am I wrong, but has the Christian church repeated the errors of the religious Pharisees?
Many of these traditions are not wrong in themselves. However I think it is important to first recognize that certain things we do are extras.
I pray we can find a way to restore our faith to be one centered on the relationship our Lord desires to have with each of us personally, and with His body communally.