"APOLOGY to the WORLD"
By Doug Perry
Please bear with me, this is long overdue and there's lots of ground to cover. I want to make sure that I get it all out. Not just for me, but because I think you need to hear it. Maybe there are other Christians out there as well that need to make apologies and will find courage here. I appreciate your time; I know it's valuable.
Dear Members of the World,
I'm just a guy, nobody really. Son of a preacher and missionary. Years and years of Vacation Bible Schools, summer camps, youth ski trips, puppet shows, revivals, and choir trips - you name it. Even went to a Christian college and got a degree in religion. I ended up in the business world, but I spent two decades tithing, sitting on committees, teaching Sunday school, going to seminars and conferences, etc. I even met my wife in the single's class at church. I'm not a bad guy, I've been mostly behaving myself and everybody seems to like me. I do some good stuff here and there.
But lately I've been
trying to understand Jesus more and stuff I never noticed before has really
started to bug me. I've been looking around and I'm having a hard time making
sense of what it is we've built here. So, it just seemed like, whether anybody
else says it or not, I need to take responsibility for the part I played and say
what I have to say.
Here we go ...
I know you think that
Christians are a big bunch of hypocrites. We say we're more
"religious" and we're going to heaven and you're not, and then we
drive our big shiny cars with little fishies on the trunk and cut you off in
traffic as we race by the homeless guy on the corner. We average just 2% of our
money to church and charity, despite that we say the Bible is the word of God
and it says we're supposed to give everything. On average, we buy just as many
big screen TVs and bass boats, fur coats, makeup and baseball cards, and online
porn as anybody else. Maybe more. You've seen leader after leader end up in
jail, court, or a sex scandal of one sort or another.
Well ... you're right.
We're guilty of all of it. We've done it all. And, I'm really sorry.
You see our cheesy TV
shows and slick guys begging for money and you get that there's something
seriously sneaky and wrong here. A high-pressure call for money so they can stay
on the air? Were we supposed to use Jesus as just another form of entertainment?
Whom do we think we're kidding? Where's Jesus in all this? Aren't we supposed to
rely on him? Isn't He going to meet our needs if we're inside His will?
What happened to
sacrifice, suffering, and helping the poor? I'm just sick about this. I mean,
the church leaders, they're not all bad guys, there are lots and lots of really
hard-working well-meaning folks who love and care and are meeting real needs in
the community. Some of them understand and love Jesus - but I'm just real sure those
pastors don't drive Bentley's, have multi-million dollar homes and their own
Lear jets! I mean, what "god" are we worshipping? Money? Ego? Power?
You see our massive shiny
new buildings all over the place. Heck, maybe we even kicked you out of your
house so we could expand our parking lots. You can't figure out why we need four
different Christian churches on four corners of the same intersection. We've got
playgrounds, bowling alleys, and basketball leagues. We've got Starbucks coffee
in the sanctuary. We've got orchestras and giant chandeliers and fountains out
front. We've got bookstores full of "Jesus junk" with every imaginable
style and flavor of religious knick-knack. But where's Jesus? Is this what HE
Oh, sure, there are good
folks all over and not every church is such a mess, but Christians are the ones
that say we're supposed to be "One Body." So even the good ones are
guilty of not putting a stop to it sooner. We were supposed to keep each other
in line and not tolerate factions, dissensions, greed, idolatry, and all this
other bad stuff. Man, we really blew it! We've got 33,000 denominations and most
of them won't talk to the other ones. We lose over $5 million a day to fraud
from "trusted" people inside the church! We spend 95% of all our money
on our own comforts and programs and happy family fun time shows and we let 250
MILLION Christians in other countries live on the very edge of starvation. Not
to mention the billion or so that have never even once heard of Jesus - or the
homeless guy downtown we almost ran over when we cut you off.
We're as guilty as we can
be. All of us. Nobody is exempt. We should have put a stop to it a lot sooner.
But I can't apologize on behalf of anyone else. This is about me.
I know that you might
have gone to church as a kid and stopped going as soon as you could. I know that
you might even have been abused by somebody in the church! Maybe we got you all
fired up and then just let you drift off like we didn't really care. Maybe you
just don't fit our "profile." You might have piercings and purple hair
or tattoos or been in jail -- and somewhere inside you just know that even if
you wanted to go to church one Sunday, it would not go well. I'm sorry for that.
Jesus loves you. He always hung out with the most unexpected people. He had the
biggest heart for the folks everybody else tried to ignore. What have we done?
We've told you to put on a sweater and some loafers or you can't go to heaven. I
just want to throw up.
Look, I know you're mad.
And you have a right to be. We've done you wrong for a LONG time now. There's
some things about Jesus that people need to hear, but we've buried a beautiful
masterpiece under hundreds of layers of soft pink latex paint. If you have a
Bible handy, look up Matthew 23. (If you don't, you can look it up here -
www.BibleGateway.com .) Find it? Read it carefully, the Pharisees were the
"religious" people of the day, the leaders of the faith. In this
chapter Jesus SEVEN times says how pitiful, wretched, and cursed they are for
what they're doing to the people they're supposed to be leading. He even calls
them "white washed tombs of dead menís bones" and a "brood of
vipers"! I don't have time here, but read it and see if we're not doing
EVERY single one of those things. Jesus can't possibly be happy about what we've
done to you.
Sure, we like to kid
ourselves and pretend everything is OK - but it's not. We're hated. Now, please
understand, Jesus was hated, too. But that was because he said hard things and
sometimes people don't like hearing the Truth. And he promised we would be hated
if we were like him. But that's not why we're hated at the moment. We're hated
right now because we're a giant pack of lying hypocrites that say one thing and
do something else altogether. If we were hated because we were like Jesus, that
would be one thing, but that's not it at all. You see right through our happy
music and fluffy services and you can tell there's something desperately wrong
here. We're no different from anybody else - except that we say we're better
than you are.
It was never supposed to
be like this. Jesus asked us to care for the widows and orphans, to feed the
hungry, care for the sick, visit those in prison, reach the lost. He wanted us
to love our enemies and pray for them. He cared about human justice and
suffering, the lost and lonely. But I don't think He would have marched on
a picket line - He had His mind on much bigger problems. He wanted us to focus
on the eternal things, not the everyday. He never once said to go into all the
world, build big buildings, divide up into factions, and buy Bentleys. Just the
opposite! I get that you're mad at us and I think you have a right to be, but
please understand, you're mad at what we've made under our own power, you're mad
at "Churchianity." That's different than Christ and what he wanted.
Don't be mad at Jesus! This mess wasn't His idea!
Look, I'm really sorry. I
accept responsibility for my part in having hurt you. But I'm committing to you
all, dear Members of the World that I'm not going to do it any more. Not a
single penny more. I'm not going to put my faith in "Churchianity" or
any leader or program or TV show -- but in Christ Jesus and His salvation.
That's when I was set free and began to see that God wants and expects more of
us than this. And I'm not helping anybody that's not fully committed to the same
It took centuries to
build this monster, so it's not like it's going to just turn around overnight.
But the times are changing and we're way overdue for something new. Big bad
things are happening - like the tsunami in Asia - and I think more are coming. I
don't want any more time to go by without having said this. I'm sorry for all
the time and money I've wasted. But Jesus saves. Really. The church itself isn't
even the point. Jesus is the real deal. He lived and He died for my sins and He
rose again. He is who He said He was and He cares about me - and you. He's our
only hope. We need places you can go that will only teach Jesus and will not be
swayed or tempted or distracted by anything else. God willing, that's coming.
Please don't think all
Christians are just posers. Some of them really mean it when they say they
belong to Christ. The problem is mostly in the West where we're all comfy and
complacent and seem to like it that way. The Christians in China and other
places are deadly serious. There's no room for anything but Jesus when you're on
the run from the government. They are dying every day for their faith and doing
crazy hard things because they're absolutely committed to Christ. These are
martyrs. People willing to crucify little pieces of themselves every day to be
more like Christ. People willing to set aside everything they want to do what
Christ wants. People willing to rot in prison, take a beating, or die if that's
what it's going to take. People that act in pure love and never back down. I'm
not worthy to tie their shoes. And there are some like that here, too, and I
hope we can get a lot more people to start living that way. It's way overdue.
If you're talking to
someone and they tell you they're a Christian, ask them if they're the kind of
Christian that really means it all the time or the kind that just means it on
Sunday. The Bible says we'll know them by their "fruits" - by the
faith, purity, and love in their deeds and words. When you find one that proves
Christ is in them by how much they love you, ask them to tell you all about
Jesus. If you know one of those fearless martyrs that speaks nothing but pure,
clean, hard Truth - ask lots of questions. Truth is a lot more rare than you
would think. But don't settle for soft, fluffy and comfortable anymore - that's
not in the Bible.
If you are reading, this
and you are already in the church -- DON'T LEAVE! Pray hard. Listen to God's
leading. Try to stay and fix it. Seek accountability from your leaders. Make
sure earthly treasure is being converted into heavenly treasure as efficiently
as possible. Speak nothing but Truth in love. Demand meat, not milk. Seek His
face. Stop conforming to the world. Read Judges 6. We have to fix the altar in
our own backyard before we can take on the larger armies rallied against us! He
wants to restore His people. He wants the Bride spotless. Find others willing to
help and start a little tornado of revival inside your church.
As for me and my house,
we're really sorry. From now on, we're going to serve the Lord, not "Churchianity."
We're going to try to call together as many of those martyrs as we can and start
doing what Christ wanted. If I run into you someday, please give me a chance to
shake your hand and apologize in person. I'm going to try harder from now on, I
promise. I think there are lots of others feeling the same way, so don't be
surprised if you start hearing stuff like this more often.
Thanks for your time. I
hope it helps.
Doug Perry - Kansas
City, Missouri, USA
P.S. If you would like to
help me get this apology to everybody in the world, please forward it on - but
please don't make any changes. A PDF file is available on the website if you
want to print it off. Audio, too. I think this needs to be said.
-Please send any feedback to Doug Perry:
-His email- <fotm@FellowshipOfTheMartyrs.com>