I suppose it comes down to the discussion of what "church" is and isn't. I believe that the religion that is presented to the world is not the church.

I realize that this is not a safe thing to say because the culture of the world over the past 1700 years says differently. I realize that people who were associated with that religion have accomplished good things. But, I think the religion inhibits the church from living.

It is like a Start Trek episode. Of course, you knew I was going to refer to a movie or a song - right?

In the story, people lived on this planet and they were perfectly happy. They lived the way they wanted to live - even if they wanted to do bad things to people. When someone became damaged or dead from the things they wanted, the owners of the planet would put them back together. Everyone was happy with the situation. But, Kirk discovered that these people who lived on this planet were really in a cage and were there for the entertainment of the owners of the planet. They people had the illusion of freedom because they did what they wanted. But, in reality they were restricted to living in an illusion instead of reality. Even though they lived happy lives, Kirk opposed them because their true potential that is there when they are truly free was not there. They were allowed to do things that they were permitted to think they did, but in reality, nothing was actually done.

So, even though we can list lots of people who have done really good things for God, it is my belief that they were permitted to do what they did only within the restrictions of the religion and weren't accomplishing their true potential. This was permitted in order to support the illusion that they were doing what the church should be doing.

When missionaries went to other countries to show them the way of salvation, the result was that the religion was established in that area, and just like the rest of the world, some of the people who joined it were actually part of the church and others joined the religion. But, both are duped and both are being constrained by the religion - even if the physical head had changed (Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, etc...). The real owner of the religion is keeping his guard on it to only allow enough activity for those who are in the church to believe that they are free and those who are only in the religion to believe they are in the church.

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