The truth is that the “Black church” has been deceived and led wayward, just as the community and its leaders and people more generally have been deceived. The sad part is this is a soul killing deception. Losing money and land and material things is one level, but when you trifle with the souls of the righteous in this way, destruction awaits. Such “churches” have been changed in Eurocentrism to nonprofit or even for profit legal businesses. The Lord warned us against this in the person of His own disciples. He told them to continue to engage in gainful employment when they were not on their apostolic duties. He understood the world enough to know that when ministry becomes a business, then services that are to be freely given like love, compassion, mercy, aid, empathy, sympathy, and charity are going to be “rationed” according to one’s capacity to pay and who you know and so on. This began early in the European church with the principle of something called indulgences in which your failure to pay offerings to the priests and the church organization would lead to you not being forgiven for your sins. Protestants in the Eurocentric tradition picked up this doctrine in Calvinism in which they specifically associate material wealth and social standing with moral worth. So suddenly a church built upon and for the meek and poor was transformed into an institution for the strong and dominant. For centuries the bondage of African people and their knowledge of the original tradition made their churches different than the mainstream but with integrationism of culture, our churches became as those in the system and today we have wealthy churches, sometimes with wealthy members, praying weekly for God to send “someone” to help the poor. Even worse, sometime thinking that the poor are poor because they are morally flawed and thus walling themselves up as the “community of the saved” amidst a surrounding community of the rightfully damned. And since the church juxtaposed itself heretically between the people and God’s will, that lack of forgiveness was believed to prevent you from going to heaven. But a church of Christ is NOT a business and thinking of it in this way, is to make it as Christ said “the synagogue of Satan” where its power, wealth, and resources are not for the people of Christ but for itself. You cannot serve God and mammon and many churches have become servants of mammon.
The church as a business then has “members” which become shareholders and suddenly the blessings of God are to be withheld for card-carrying members. But Christ’ call was not to make members for MY church, but disciples for His. He noted that the church was not a building, a denomination, a corporate entity even, but a collection of believers engaged in doing the work of His ministry which was available to all. In that sense, membership in Christ’ church is not about hoarding resources and benefits for yourself, but being committed by the work of grace in salvation Christ has done for you to serve ALL OTHERS. I will go further, you should serve non-members and non-believers with extra emphasis. Why? Because these are the ones who have yet to experience Christ’ love. We are His ambassadors. What a foolish hospital that sits in the middle of the killing fields with the only doctor that can truly fix anything and the staff that has been anointed for the purpose of improving health to say you can only be served if you are well or you can only be served if you have insurance or if you have a degree in medicine yourself and that brags about how healthy it is. In such a case, there is no institution more diseased and sickly in need of revival from the dead. Christ did not confine His love to his family or to his disciples or to a particular nation or to any such condition. An institution cannot truly say that it is of Christ if it denies succor to any of God’s children. Christ was specifically asked about those who did not follow His ministry at that time and He said “I have sheep not of this flock,” the suggestion being that there are those who feel and know of the Spirit of God who may not be part of any particular institutional arrangement who should be given the love of God still. He even adds “If they are not against us, they are for us.” Christ church’ “membership” is not created by mere ritual baptism or the paying of tithes and offerings and engagement in vain rituals, it is by baptism of the spirit and the offering of one’s self as a reasonable sacrifice in His service. Fail to do that and you can have the biggest church with the most members, the most credentialed pastor, the most well kept bibles and all of it for naught. Believe me not? Why then does the Book of Revelation which speaks of God’s coming judgment of the world, begins not with the chastisement of the wicked, but the destruction of the false churches and the charlatans that run them, promote them, and proselytize within them.
The Lord says what you do unto the least of these is what He shall record as your service. The Father says His blood as the full oblation and amelioration for sins, If you cannot seek help from the children of God in an institution that is supposed to be a training ground for the kingdom of God to come, then wither shall you go? We cannot supply every need as He can, but we are charged with the work of training people to meet their needs and connecting them with that training. To fail to even do that much, is to fail the charge and the commission. But there will be a reckoning soon and those who in clergy and administration will be asked of the entire people, “these are my sheep, what have you made of them?” Going to be some really sad ministers and ministries and crushed churches and congregations on that day. In every church I have served, I have never turned away any in need. We either met the need, or walked with them to help them meet it, telling them all the time that it was and is Christ that allows us to be able to serve and that He can fill all needs beyond our abilities and offering to share out testimony and support for their finding and knowing Him. I myself have been rejected by some churches for help, despite my faith and my work, on the grounds that I was not a member of their congregation, their denomination, or because I did not meet their criterion at the time. I thank God for setting up the barrier between me and those condemned houses of worship and for leading me to His true children in those times. The wheat will soon be separated from the chaff. I was once asked about heaven and hell. God says I must know little about either, but of one thing is my spirit made clear. That heaven shall include some that I might not have found worthy in my blind arrogance as a person of the flesh. And that hell will include a lot of bible-thumping holy rollers who in all their religion forgot to develop a relationship, in all their solemnity forgot the savior, in all their recitation forgot revival, in all their monetary offerings forgot the necessity for their own reasonable sacrifice of them selves. He must increase, I must decrease. And so must We.
it’s not limited to “black” churches, but the problem is that “black” churches for several centuries avoided many of these kinds of problems and served the community. Once they integrated into the model of the mainstream churches and legal structures outside of the community, they abandoned their traditional role. Not every church, but a lot of them. When a church does that, its just a leech that siphons off resources from the community, gives little or nothing back, and worst of all uses Christ as a hustle. There will be a bitter day for the people who are participating in this sham. We had a local event for the community and we asked a local church to use their parking lot (it wasn’t Sunday) so that people could gain easier access to the event. We were turned down..from using a empty parking lot with no one there. God’s parking lot for God’s people. I think these people think THEY own this stuff rather than it being leased to them for a time from God, for all of God’s people and for His purpose and when God comes to reclaim all that is His, some of these will be left like the forlorn man in the parable of the talents with nothing, not even what they thought they had.