Welcome to Brian's Bits, where Brian gets to share at length about various topics stirring inside of him.
Searching For Followers of Jesus
4 September 2014
Have you EVER heard a Bible teacher say, “It’s OK, as a Christian you don’t need to go to church”? In my half-century on this planet, I never have!

Or if they are really radical, they might say, “You don’t need to, and probably shouldn’t, attend the institutional church — but you MUST be in fellowship with some sort of group of believers!”

I’ve heard many, MANY warnings about the tremendous dangers faced by Christians who are isolated and not connected to a group of believers. “There’s no such thing as ‘Lone Ranger’ Christianity,” they say.

I’ve never had ANYONE tell me it’s OK that I’m isolated, not connected, and “out of fellowship.” Quite the opposite, let me assure you!

Even in the two books I have been reading recently by Charles E. Newbold — The Crucified Ones and The Harlot Church System — in which he totally rips institutional Christianity as unscriptural and spiritual harlotry, he still insists that believers join regularly with other believers.

In past articles I’ve written about why I don’t go to church, as well as the consequences of not going to church. I’ve studied the Bible and I’ve read many books. I’ve pondered and prayed. I’ve written quite a few articles about the fundamental problems with institutional Christianity. And the more I do all this, the more convinced I am that Mr. Newbold is absolutely correct: institutional Christianity IS unscriptural and IS spiritual harlotry.

Even though I don’t miss meeting with other believers, and even though I have little desire to attend such gatherings, I began to wonder if perhaps Mr. Newbold and the other are also correct that I’m out of God’s will by being isolated and not connected to other believers. So I started to reevaluate my situation once again. Maybe I SHOULD try to find a place where I can meet regularly with others from the Body of Messiah.

I have absolutely NO interest in attending an institutional church — I would be violating my conscience if I were to participate in that man-made system. So how in the world can I find this non-institutional group of believers where I’m “supposed” to be “connecting”?

Tech guy that I am, I turned to Google to help me find the answer. I did a search for “albany oregon house church unchurch”. And what were the results? Page after page of news reports, and listings for institutional churches! That’s it! NOTHING along the lines of what I was looking for.

Although that was discouraging, I figured that I couldn’t wimp out after only one try, so I did a somewhat different search: “albany oregon followers of jesus” Were the results any better this time? NOPE! The first entry was for the non-Christian Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Albany, and the second entry was the Jesus Pursuit church which my wife and youngest daughter attend. Ummmm... I don’t think so! Many of the other entries were, once again, for institutional churches.

Obviously Google is not the place to search for simple, non-religious followers of Yeshua (Jesus) who are connecting with each other outside the system. I highly doubt that such believers have a Web site advertising their existence! For them, that would most likely contradict their philosophy of letting Yeshua build His Church organically through the working of the Holy Spirit.

Well, that really left me in the lurch. I want to find a group that I have no idea how to find. And which may not even exist in little Albany. I supposed that if I want to connect with such a group, I’ll have to do it their way: organically through the working of the Holy Spirit, through prayer, as I continue to follow Yeshua on a daily basis. But who knows how long THAT will take!

I can at least pray and ask Father God to hook me up with the part of the Body of Yeshua that He wants me to be connected with. If God can’t do it (because they don’t exist in Albany), or won’t do it (because it’s not His will for me at this point), then I suppose He still wants me in isolation — even though all the Bible teachers I’ve ever heard all say that I’m completely out of God’s will by not connecting with other believers.

Hmmmm... is that REALLY the truth, or just man-made religion? It’s hard to say for sure. I think it’s generally true, but maybe there are some exceptions. I have SO little desire for religious gatherings — I really don’t miss them at all. I’m just feeling like I SHOULD....

Hmmmm... that word “should” should really tell me something! With the writings of Mr. Newbold fresh in my mind, that word “should” starts to stink of religious obligation, which is the opposite of being led by the Holy Spirit.

If I am feeling obligated to do something — which I have no interest in and no desire for — because of the religious expectations of man, then that right there is a very clear indication that I’m on a wrong path! Yeshua is my Master, and not the religious leaders. Yahweh is my God, and not the man-made institution called Christianity.
UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments further down the page, which add another twist to my search....
This article is 27th a series of articles on this Web site related to My Journey with Yeshua (Jesus) which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
7  Jan  2010
1  Aug  2010
28  Sep  2010
7  Oct  2010
27  Oct  2010
20  Dec  2010
27  Jun  2011
20  Dec  2012
17  Feb  2013
7  Mar  2013
8  Mar  2013
9  Mar  2013
10  Mar  2013
11  Mar  2013
12  Mar  2013
13  Mar  2013
14  Mar  2013
15  Mar  2013
28  Apr  2013
8  Jul  2013
14  Jul  2013
11  Aug  2013
24  Oct  2013
18  Nov  2013
20  Dec  2013
28  Jan  2014
Searching For Followers of Jesus
4  Sep  2014
16  Jan  2015
23  May  2015
Reader Comments
On September 9, 2014, Tsiox wrote:
Easy answer. Meetup.com. search. Religious groups within 50 miles of you.

Yes, you'll have to go through the list to find the occasional Christian meetup, but for what you're looking for, it'll either be a church you don't know about or a meetup.
On September 9, 2014, Brian wrote:
Hey Tsiox! Thanks for the Meetup.com suggestion. Now why didn't I think of that? I've participated with a Meetup photography group in the past, but since then that service has been off my radar.

So I followed your advice and searched for the term "religious" within 25 miles of Albany. There were only three matches, and unfortunately none of them were even close to what I am looking for.

One match was for Salem Humanists who are anti-religion and anti-God. Strike one! The next was for Oregon Spiritual Experiences Group which is basically occult and demonic. Strike two! The last was for Muslims for Progressive Values who as part of their mission want to support the homosexual agenda. Strike three, you're out!

I did try other search terms as well, like "Christian," "Jesus," "Yeshua," etc. The results were even fewer and just as unsatisfactory. It was a nice suggestion, but, ummmm... I just don't think so!
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