Behind the Curtain is a series of articles that document some of the more troubling experiences I encountered in the institutional church. I was involved in various ways with several congregations over four decades. I learned many things that I believe will be of value to the reader.
The purpose of this series is: (1) To validate and comfort those, including myself, who are now disconnected from the system but still love and follow Jesus. (2) To strongly exhort those who are still part of the system that it is time for drastic change. (3) To encourage believers who feel it’s time to leave but are apprehensive about doing it.
As I pull back the curtain and reveal some of the things that I saw behind it, my goal is not to attack the institutional church. I want only to expose the darkness (Ephesians 5:11) that is present. I will shine the light of truth (Psalm 119:105) where possible and encourage those who are in similar situations or believe they want to leave.
Dealing with darkness is a challenge for any believer. The apostle Paul tells us to put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:11-14). He amplifies this even more by exhorting us to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. We must wear Him and stop thinking about how to gratify the desires of our sinful human nature.
So much of the institutional church is about appealing to human nature. Entertain the people. Make them feel good. Give them some Bible verses and inspiration and send them home. However, Jesus, the true Head (Colossians 1:15-18) of the “church” (assembly of believers) is most often ignored. He is expected to observe the “leaders” as they perform their religious program. He is not allowed to utilize the other members of the Body of Christ He has gifted (Ephesians 4:16; Romans 12:3-8: 1 Corinthians 14:26). They are only present as spectators. This system leads to a celebration of humanity and not a full expression of the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s All About Control
The Urban Dictionary defines behind the curtain as the secret people who really control situations, the people in the shadows who are in charge. That phrase came to me over a year ago as I thought about the climax of the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, (1939). In order to present himself as all-powerful and terrifying, the Wizard operates a scam behind the curtain in his throne room. He uses special effects to present himself in a way that inspires awe and obedience. This is how he keeps control over the Munchkins in Oz and tries to get Dorothy to do his will. But when we see what the Wizard is really doing we know he is not who he pretends to be. Watch this scene here as Dorothy’s dog Toto pulls back the curtain and exposes the Wizard.
I can relate to this type of experience in the institutional church as well. In my days behind the curtain, I saw a lot of control strategies such as lies, manipulation and even fear to obtain the desired results. I witnessed some scams and worked with leaders who ruled like dictators. Those who operate this way need to honestly examine their deeds and compare them to the example of the first church. The New Testament reveals many significant insights. In the first church, the believers walked in love, had intimacy with Christ, and manifested the power of the Holy Spirit through all the parts of the Body. The world changed because of their deeds. How we need that kind of “church” today.
Jesus Wants His Church Back
Come with me behind the curtain. There are things you need to see. Some of what you read here may be happening in the “church” you attend, too. I passionately believe there is a better way to gather with other believers. The man-made system has become so disconnected from Jesus that it must return to His leadership. Then He will be able to build His church His way.
Behind the Curtain – Articles
For now, the articles in this list do not appear in any particular order. I share them as the Holy Spirit leads me.