Beware lest anyone cheat (plunder you or take you captive) you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over trying to obtain a different outcome and that is exactly what we have done with God's church! The church has been institutionalized, meaning that it has been set up to be an established practice, law or custom, a society or corporation and also as the definition describes, an asylum.
It is my experience being involved in prison ministry and the criminal justice system for years seeing how men who are incarcerated for long periods of time become institutionalized. Locked away in a box, some for 23 hours a day, doing the same thing over and over again, never being able to make a decision for themselves they are told what, when and how they are to live. I have seen some who are afraid to get out after years of imprisonment. Freedom becomes a terrifying reality leaving them mindless robots, locked away in a world of boredom and mediocrity.
So, ask yourself a question, does this describe your spiritual life, being locked up in a traditional religious box, devoid of the Spirit and led by men who are untrained and led by tradition and not revelation? If so, why do you go to church, good praise and worship, friendly folks and good preaching, children's ministry, daycare? All of these reasons sound good but have absolutely nothing to do with New Testament Christianity. The reality of this is church is not a place to go, it is a living breathing supernatural body and expression of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The body of Christ has been flooded with tradition and man made doctrines for eons leaving her in a sermon induced coma of complacency and apathy, totally unaware of her surroundings and her mission in the world. Spiritual zombies trudging off to another dead funeral service on Sunday thinking all the while that this is their spiritual service to God, as if He would be pleased by their attendance! The devil is delighted with the modern day consumer-driven, fast food, microwave church of convenience because it in no way threatens his mission to keep the world in bondage and the lost from being saved!
Wake up! Look at what we have, a church on every corner, divided from their spiritual brothers and sisters, held captive to a man who claims to be their shepherd and told to sit down, shut up and write a check! Never able to share or operate in their spiritual gifts in "The assembly" the body begins to shut down and eventually dies from lack of use. If you don't believe me, read the gospel account of Jesus, our example and how He built His church and what the outcome of it was in the book of Acts, a powerful, Spirit filled band of brothers and sisters with a mission to transform the world, save the lost and disciple them in the ways of Christ!
Therefore if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations- Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle, which all concern things which perish with the using-according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin
NOTE: There are some Spirit led churches with a vision and mission of the Lord Jesus, led by godly men and women, but if you find yourself locked away in a religious institution, flee for your spiritual life and ask God to lead you into His desired will for you!