Vol. 12 No. 1 January 2010
Donald R. Fox
The following quote may be shocking and disturbing to some, “One of the greatest enemies Christianity now has or has ever had is organized religion” (F.D Srygley, Biographies and Sermons, 7). The quote is taken from the first sentence of a sermon, entitled “Organized Religion vs. Christianity” by F.D. Srygley (1856-1900). Another quote from the same sermon will explain this seemly shocking statement.
Religious people have committed nearly every crime in the catalogue of iniquity to build up, strengthen, and maintain organizations Christ never authorized. All denominational organizations use the power of organization against men and doctrine whenever the interests of organized religion demand it. They have to do this in self-defense. “Self-preservation is the first law of nature,” and no organization can maintain itself with opposing men and doctrine that antagonize it. This explains why there is now, has always been, and always will be a conflict between Christianity and every form of ecclesiastical organization. (F.D. Srygley, Biographies and Sermons, 8)
The source of Christianity and the church of Christ is readily available to all. The New Testament of Jesus Christ is that source document. “The church of to-day could not disregard the government of the New Testament church and still be the same church. Its congregations are not bound in the coils of an ecclesiasticism as merciless as it is unscriptural. …The destruction of the unity of the church was the work of the apostasy; hence when the church is reclaimed from apostasy it will be freed from the disunion” (J.W. Shepherd, The Church, the Falling Away and the Restoration, 8). It is affirmed that in our time, the church of Christ can be established or restored exactly as it was in the first century. The only requirement is that we must follow the pattern and not creeds, feelings and conflicting teachings of men.
Peter’s Sermon and the Reaction of the Jews
Concerning the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. …Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:36-42; 47)
Our brief study is not shocking if we will acknowledge what the New Testament teaches. We must remember, my dear friends, one should never get angry when scriptural evidence is brought forth that may contradict your individual beliefs. Our duty unto our God is total obedience. “Every plant, which my Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15:13). “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).