The Church had replaced the process. So what happened?
I believe the answer is that the system has become the focus. People now see the modern local church and Jesus Church as the same thing. Jesus’ Church is expanding. Yet the local church delivery system loses 2% per year of its population, now only reaching approximately 35% of your city (more in the south, less in urban areas).
So where did these people go? They became the church alumni when they stopped going to church and became The Church. They didn’t quit God, they quit the expensive, control hungry, out dated delivery system.
Are the church alumni a sect? Many will say the Alumni are rebellious, or even lost. Of course these are the same criticisms they laid upon Jesus as well as Paul and the early church when they began “Relating to God” outside the cultural delivery system.
This is not to say that going to church is a bad thing, for in every sunday service are sincere people who genuinely relate to God in their way despite the system. It’s just that most people (65% and growing 2% per year) have a WAY other than the Sunday show.
While many would say that it isn’t ok to find and relate to God in your own way, I would argue that it is the only way any one ever has.
Why else would Paul say in Romans 14:22: “The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God.”