Reforming an institutional church doesn’t change human hearts–my take on church history (Part 2)

After many centuries of Christianity being dominated by two huge denominations (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox), Martin Luther, a monk with a hammer and 95 criticisms of institutional church, split things wide open in 1517. That church split opened the door for never ending splits and was called the Protestant Reformation.

An internet search reveals that today there are about 40,000 Christian denominations. (Some people call them “tribes.”) There are also innumerable independent, “nondenominational” churches doing their own thing. That’s some massive “reformation.” What a religious smorgasbord!

Discovering and telling the history of all those 40,000+ definitions and expressions of church is an impossible job, so I’m not going to try. (Nobody would live long enough to read it all anyway.) For me Christianity is about the heart, not about a church headquarters.

About 40,000 “reformations” of church haven’t brought about love, Christian unity, or the kingdom of God, but conflict, competition, and religious pride. Whatever you want Christianity to stand for, you can find (or start) a church that supports and affirms your view. Organized Christianity has been reformed into institutional meaninglessness. No wonder it’s in decline.

Yet, sprinkled in those 40,000 denominations (like the salt of the earth), there are millions of people who have experienced the living Jesus and have an ongoing, daily relationship with Him. There are also millions of people who are following and obeying the risen Jesus without any affiliation with an institutional church (especially in countries that arrest, torture, and murder Christ-followers).

True Christian history is about hearts changed by Jesus, not about religious organizational names. That’s the history that is written in Heaven–the history that really matters. If you haven’t let Jesus reform your life, the form of your religion makes no difference!

Read Part 1: Institutionalism or experiencing Jesus–my take on church history (Part 1)

Photo by cottonbro on

About Steve Simms

I like to look and think outside the box. In college I encountered Jesus Christ and I have been passionate about trying to get to know Him better ever since. My wife and I long to see the power and passion of the first Christ-followers come to life in our time. I have written a book about our experiences in non-traditional church, called, "Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible--Ekklesia." If you need encouragement, search for: Elephants Encouraging The Room and/or check out my Amazon author page. Thank you!
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1 Response to Reforming an institutional church doesn’t change human hearts–my take on church history (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: Institutionalism or experiencing Jesus–my take on church history (Part 1) | Free Gas For Your Think Tank (A blog to jog your mind and unclog your heart . . .)

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