A Catholic priest once told me, "All the sins of the Catholic Church can be summed up in one sentence: We mistook the church for the kingdom of heaven."

The problem is not restricted to Catholics. The masses repeatedly fail to see beyond the 'group' to the real purpose for its existence. You would be lucky to find one person in a thousand who would follow God in preference to their religion. (Ask yourself:  Would you have the courage to take such a stand against your group if you felt they were going astray?)

In Daniel’s prophecies about the end time, he predicted that God would allow “them of understanding” to fall, as a way of testing their followers, i.e. to see if the followers would fall apart, or if they would just continue to serve God with or without the fallen leaders. (Daniel 11:35)

The New Testament is full of warnings about false leaders in the last days. We really need to settle it in our minds that we are not going to find our way through the spiritual traps that lie ahead without, at some point, being called upon to question the status quo.

Take Judaism for example.  It was started by God. Jesus himself testified to that (John 4:22). Yet it was the Jews who crucified Jesus. He said that the problem was not that their religion was evil, but simply that they could not recognise truth when it came from outside their organisational hierarchy. (Matthew 23:37-39) And the problem repeats itself many times over today.  We must learn to think outside the box.

What I am saying is that you need to be able to hear God’s voice even above my own, or that of anyone else in this movement.  Yet there are disturbing signs that even amongst preppers there are many who cannot tell the difference between God and the latest rumour on the Internet.

If that is true amongst such strong individualists as ourselves, how much easier it is for people to replace worship of God with worship of their religious system when the system they belong to actively encourages such unquestioning loyalty... when no provision is made for members to honestly and humbly question leadership!

Cults with exclusivist teachings and fanatical unity easily replace God with an organisation; but mainline denominations can be even more dangerous when they find themselves promoting society as a whole, the status quo, and respectability in the eyes of the world as representing the kingdom of heaven. The system they worship may not be limited to their own denomination, but it often becomes synonymous with the godless values of the society in which we live. Along with the Jewish religious leaders, when it becomes expedient to do so, they shout, "We have no king but Caesar!"

Each time the churches let society determine what is right or wrong, they crucify Christ anew; for he would call on them to step outside the measures of respectability that society dictates, and follow God. And it is a rare churchgoer (and an even rarer church) that is capable of distinguishing the voice of God above the clamour for respectability.

So whether it's a fringe group, a mainline denomination, or our own little movement, we all must be careful that we are not guilty of putting God into a box and then worshipping the box instead of the God who supposedly resides there.

How big is your God? Can he exist outside the system that you and those around you have created for him?

*For more information related to this article, please check out the following video: Survivors Ch. #3 - Lo Here, Lo There!