Monday, October 20, 2008

What the Church Does Not Want You to Know


Greg Espinosa
Cereb Press (2008)
ISBN 9780979757235
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (9/08)

"What the Church Does Not Want You to Know" contains an in-depth discussion about how churches have evolved into corporate-like money making entities. As a result of this, the followers are the ones paying the true price.  Church members are threatened with damnation if they choose to leave.  Espinosa was not just disillusioned by the ministers; he was also disgusted by the behavior of the congregation.  There is also a lot of peer pressure among them for people to behave and even dress a certain way.    This could include tithing, or even with going to services.  I have seen some of this myself.  A church that I grew up in used to post member's contributions annually in the bulletin.  Another church used to have a priest that expected members to turn in copies of their tax returns so that he could make sure that they were tithing appropriate amounts.  
To my own observation, cult-like behavior is promoted among many congregations.  Another example of this is of a church, in my town, that admonishes its members if they do not attend mid-week services and two services on Sunday.  It appears that God is only present in that church and if you do not attend, you miss out on seeing Him.  There are also collections at both services.  Unfortunately, Espinosa has experienced similar events in his own life.  How disillusioning this is.  Turning to the Bible, he discovered that it is not necessary to go to church to have a close relationship with God. He found that he can go to God directly and experience the Holy Spirit in his life, without having a middle man.  He fills his book with biblical quotes to back up his beliefs.  He also enjoys living his life based upon his relationship with God, and not living in fear of retribution by what someone else tells him, especially if that person stands to profit from what they say.  He hopes that readers will find their way to a close relationship with the Holy Spirit by reading the Bible on their own.
I found "What the Church Does Not Want You to Know" to be very interesting and well-supported with biblical references.  I have seen so much of the negative experiences that Espinosa writes about, either in churches that I have attended, or from watching what my friends have gone through. Though I have to say I have not had this experience with every church that I have attended.  This book made me really appreciate the church that I currently attend.  I have not had any of the negative experiences that have been discussed in the book.  So I will keep going where I go.  I do read the Bible and pray on my own, but I enjoy the music and fellowship of the services.
"What the Church Does Not Want You to Know," is an eye opener that will make its readers become more aware of the traps that religions can put out to snare their members. I think it a very important book that should be read by people who find their relationship with God to be very important (hopefully everybody).  It should definitely be read by those who have feelings that things are not right with their religion.  It will help them overcome fears of damnation because they are having doubts.  Churches and religion are manmade; it is our relationship with God that we should have no doubts about.

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