The purpose of Christianity is reflected in the following: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners:” (1 Timothy 1:15). Above all, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). More importantly, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17). Here’s what the “MIGHT” is about: It’s “all” about your personal FAITH, because there is no equivocation with God or God’s word. All of LIFE is about personal FAITH in God and God’s Scriptures of Inspiration. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3: 16-17). Of course, most individuals know good works when they see them. Moreover, faithful Christians know: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8: 28).
For certain, it was not the “spiritual-purpose” of Jesus Christ to establish a “Collection-Plate- Religion”. In fact, Jesus chased money-changers out of the Temple. Moreover, Jesus’s purpose was “spiritual” reconciliation of individuals unto God as well as spiritual reconciliation of individuals unto each other: Remember Cain killed his own brother, and when confronted by God, lied about the killing, and then asked God: “Am I my brother’s keeper” (Genesis 4:9).
Jesus’s objective was to “build” the “spiritual” church in the hearts and minds of individuals through “FAITH”. This is why Jesus asked individuals this question: “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am? And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church: and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16: 13-19). The Christian church was built on FAITH.
Men build physical churches because they are physical beings that have physical needs; not gods, even though spiritually they are called to be Christ-like (Christians). Too many Christian pastors have embraced physical church building rather than building Christian families through “FAITH”. Christianity is a family religion. And, this is why Joshua could declare: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land we dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24: 15). Joshua’s confession is about family prayers and worship, because the family that prays and worships God together stays together. It’s all about family. Christianity is a family religion because: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). In Christianity, we are eternal brothers and sisters in Christ.
As a matter of fact, “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:4). Of course, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” (Psalm: 129: 1). Nevertheless, as Christians, we should never forget this faithful saying! Of course, individuals must give “monetarily” in a spiritual manner in order for physical churches to exist. But, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2: 8-10). It is grace not works. Even though, we must work, simply because work is the gift of God. And, as we seek to do the will and work of God in the vineyard of life, we will be troubled on every side, but not in distress: “But, God”. We will be persecuted by both so-called friends as well as professional enemies alike: “But, God”. Sometimes we will be wounded and bloodied, but yet unbowed: “But, God”. As Christians, we will be down trodden, but not beaten down: “But, God”. And, as Christians, we will be cast down, but not destroyed and bloodied: “But, God”. Yet, “Faithful Christians” know that the race is not given to the swift or faint of heart, but to those that endure to the end. Because Christians understand that Jesus desires: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28).
The Church is a spiritual fortress from the “wilds of the devil”, not an economic institution, even though it has economic functions: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6: 8). Therefore, the church exists to reinforce in our conscience what God requires of us through FAITH. Moreover, it is by Faith that we come to full spiritual knowledge in our hearts and minds that Jesus died for us that His precious blood was shed for us and on the third day He rose from the dead with all power in His hands. And, now He is at the “right-hand-of-God” preparing a place for us, and above all, making intercession for us. Therefore, “I will say the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Psalm 91: 2). For after all is said and done, this is why every Christian can say: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalms 23: 6).
Secondarily, Black society is the Black church and this is precisely why no pastoral leader should ever take any more from a local church congregation than any hard working parishioner of the congregation. Extravagant pastoral affluence is ungodly and vulgar. Entering the House of the Lord ought to be a delight; it was for King David a man after God’s own heart: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalms 122:1). Selah!
Bobby E. Mills is an accomplished college professor and public sector administrator. He earned a B.D. degree in Theology from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York and a Ph.D. degree in Sociology from Syracuse University, New York. He has written and published numerous professional articles concerning the pressing social ills confronting American society.