Fri | Apr 20, 2018

Garth Rattray | 'Churchians' vs Christians

Published:Monday | January 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Quite a few years ago, I commissioned a reputable cabinetmaker to build shelving for my office files. He was a practising Christian and a very active churchman who worked out of a building situated on church property. When he gave me his bill, I heard loud whistling noises in my ears and my entire surroundings took on a purple hue. In other words, I almost fainted. This so-called Christian turned out to be a rapacious knave. I was shocked out of my wits and very disappointed in him.

I hate quibbling over bill prices, so I decided to pay him, but I grumbled about his thievery for months. From that moment on, I realised that many people of faith are sometimes fallible and succumb to their weaknesses. And I also realised that some people are mere 'churchians', while others are Christians.

Churchians are posers who only defame and embarrass the body of Christ. They should either repent or stop their false proclamations about being practising Christians.




I'm certainly not a regular churchgoer, but I feel comfortable in my relationship with God. I often quip that when people miss church service, friends call them up and ask, "What's wrong? Are you okay? What's going on?!" However, when I turn up at church, friends call me and ask, "What's wrong? Are you okay? What's going on?!"

My problem with attending church regularly is that I feel assaulted by those hypocrites that turn up and try to fool God with their attendance.

People associate with church for various reasons. The most bizarre reason that I've ever heard was from a lady who revealed to me that she attends church regularly so that she will get a good funeral when she dies. At least she was honest. Some attend because they think that being part of a physical church will bring them closer to God spiritually.

Others attend because the church offers them opportunities to socialise. Some become church members to establish links for business and favours (social networking). Then there are some who avidly go to church as a buffer against the vicissitudes of life (for refuge).

And yet others go there to achieve some sort of leadership role to fulfil their need for power. I don't know how many only go to church to worship and praise their God.




Some priests and pastors are genuine servants of the Church because they felt a calling to do so. Others had the responsibility fall to them and some have it thrust upon them because of the prevailing circumstances. But some church leaders assume their place in the church for financial gain or because it makes them feel good about themselves (self-actualisation) and, perhaps even feel powerful.

Leading any group of people is empowering, and leading a group of people spiritually must be supremely empowering. But, with that level of power comes great responsibility.

A true Christian is not just a churchian. A true Christian must become renewed from within - be reborn and emerge as an empty vessel, ready to receive the Holy Ghost. Nobody is perfect, but the Holy Ghost cannot be invited into someone within whom there is hypocrisy, hate, anger, envy, depravity, lasciviousness, selfishness, puffed-up pride and/or evil.

A churchian masquerades as a Christian but has nothing behind the facade of righteousness. The recent scandalous sex revelations about a few church leaders tell a tale of churchians who somehow fooled their congregations into believing them to be Christians - but no one can fool God.

The type of disgraceful acts that we have been witnessing in various religious organisations beg the obvious question, if these people truly believe in God, how could they commit such horrible deeds, such carnality, such despicable crimes? I honestly think that such individuals do not believe in God, they believe that they manipulate the Holy Ghost.

Errant church leaders should voluntarily remove themselves from positions of power and anyone knowing of their evil deeds should expose them for the sake of the Church and the religion. It's sad that a nation so desperate for something good and decent to look up to has been so let down by a few rascals within the Church.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to and