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The Church in the Wilderness

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  • May 3, 2011


Among those with spiritual discernment, there is an uncomfortable, embarrassing difference between the power and practice of the New Testament Church and the religious organizations and denominations that have since come into existence. What began as a living, Christ-centered faith has evolved into something far removed from what Jesus intended when He declared: “I will build My Church (Ekklesia), and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

What IS this Church that Jesus is building? What does it look like? Where is it located? Who is in charge of it? Do the religious institutions and leaders of today really represent the faith that was first given to us by Christ, taught by the apostles and confirmed by the Holy Spirit? Or has Christianity been replaced by “Churchianity”?

Some say God is calling us to restore the Church to what it used to be. They believe the answer lies in preaching, repentance, reformation, and working from within the system to repair it.

But a growing number of Christians say that the Church as it exists today was never God’s intention in the first place. They have forsaken the “old wineskins” and religious structures of Christendom to follow Jesus in the simplicity that the early Christians followed Him. They are not called to fix the system, but to come out of it altogether. They still love the people, and are concerned for the people. They do miss something of the fellowship they once thought they had. And sometimes they miss it so much that they do go and visit other churches, trying to fit in, trying to find a place. But try as they might, something in them just cannot go along with it anymore.

Who are these people? They are part of a growing number of Christians that make up a “Church in the Wilderness” – followers of Jesus from all over the world who love God, and love God’s people, but reject the trappings of Sunday Morning Religion. This mass exodus of people from the religious system is not only inevitable, it is the fulfillment of prophecy, and sets the stage for “the final chapter in Christianity” – when Jesus suddenly returns to reward the Overcomers, judge the hypocrites, and establish His Kingdom on earth.

In his newest book, “The Church in the Wilderness: What It Means to Follow Jesus Outside of Organized Religion”, Chip tears down the sacred cows and religious traditions of “Churchianity” and paints a picture of what Jesus really wants. This book includes many of his most popular essays as well as some brand new material never released.

If you still attend church, you’ll be confronted and challenged to consider a different point of view. If you don’t attend church, you’ll be encouraged to know you are not alone. But regardless of what you believe, you’ll have your eyes opened to a spiritual vision of “church” the way Jesus meant for it to be.

About Chip Brogden

Chip Brogden is an international best-selling author, teacher and founder of TheSchoolOfChrist.Org and Sonrise Television. His writings and teachings reach more than 135 nations with a simple, consistent, Christ-centered message. Connect with Chip on Twitter or Facebook.


  • Frank Rauck says:

    Oh my goodness, Chip: I just read your introduction to “The Church in the Wilderness” and you described me exactly. It’s been over twenty years ago since I was actively involved in “church,” and finally had to walk away – it was either that or my sanity. I wish I could say that I never looked back, but, sadly, that would not be true.

    But Father has been gracious. At nearly 75, I can honestly say that I have grown in Christ more during these past few years than I had in all the preceding years in organized religion. This forum is inadequate for me to tell all that is happening within and without, but let it suffice to say that an old man still can enjoy the vision of the indwelling, living Christ.

    I have ordered “The Church in the Wilderness” and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.

    “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

    The Journey Continues
    Frank Rauck

  • Tina Baxley says:

    I want to thank you on behalf of those of us that live in the southeast for doing this.
    My town was in the path of one of those tornadoes, and Father blessed us by picking it up and allowing it to be set down way past us. The noise I heard was not one of a train or plane, but just a roaring rolling type thunder.
    This same tornado went another 50 miles and hit my brother in laws area.
    When I found out I called him and he said to me that there are whole houses missing from his street, as well as a convenience store.
    There were two people killed there and every house but his had damage of some kind.
    To his house it trimmed the tops of some trees but that is it.
    Again, I thank you on behalf of us who live in the southeast.
    Blessings to you,

  • Terry and Karis Hill says:


    We just read your latest book, The Church in the Wilderness. We have been on this journey out of churchianity as well since 2000, gradually being brought by the Lord to this lonely wilderness place you speak of. After six years in house churches, we are now unattached, meeting with believers in an unstructured way. It’s been an intense process. You hit the nail on the head several times as you attempt to describe this journey. Really liked your summation re: Reformation, Revival and Repudiation. We’ve watched close friends try to hold onto the institutional church and their relationships, reputation and roles through the first two means, because they don’t have the stomach for the latter. It doesn’t work.

    We were surprised and encouraged to hear you say certain things as starkly as we do. So we’re not crazy after all! Ha!

    Thank you for your effort and for not shrinking back or sugar-coating the truth. If you’re ever out in the Portland (Oregon) area, we’d love to host you and your wife for dinner.

    Terry and Karis Hill

  • James Mal says:

    Dear beloveds, Bless you in the name of Jesus
    The Church in the wilderness, are we talking about the New Testament Church, that Christ is building or the church which is a replica; made up of and by volunteers, those who were never sent by the Lord. “And the Lord said to me, the prophets are prophesying lies in my name, I did not send them nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination and the deceit of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14 Now if there were, say, a hundred of them, about 2600 years ago,how many of them are around now, a million or more. These volunteers keep an eye on the vulnerables and coax them and prevail upon them. their entire emphasis is on the numerical growth of their personal established church, their purpose is to raise funds to preach their gospel. Their gospel is, give us a hundred pounds and the Lord shall give you two hundred pounds, a new car, a big house and all sorts of earthly blessings.Their most favourite prophet is Malachi. They preach; Abraham was a rich man, Isaac was a rich man, Jacob was a rich man. So God who is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God of rich people.
    “Blessed are those who mourn”. None of these volunteers have experienced MOURNING. Paul was mourning day and night and then on the top of that,He was given a thorne in the flesh. Three times he asked The Lord God.Take away that thorne but the Lord said. NO, my grace is sufficeint for you. There are many Lost Sheep in the organised Churches.” The Church is all too often a pool to fish in rather than a boat to fish from. David Watson.” I was in such a church for thirty years but some ten years ago, I was sought out by the Lord. The Church is in the wilderness, how many of them in the wilderness reach the promised land; remains to be seen.

  • Mike Donahoe says:

    Hi Chip, just wanted to write and let you know I finished the book, The Church in the Wilderness ….. for the second time. My wife and I were on vacation and I read the book entirely two days straight. It spoke so much of how I’ve been feeling that I couldn’t put it down. I told my wife I wanted her to read it also. I pray that I will put into practice what I have learned and that I will continually put Christ first, whereever He leads.

  • alex anbalagan says:

    Hello Chip,

    Greeting brother. Came across your website The School Of Christ not too long ago. I share a similar passion as you do moving away from the religious church set up and been involved in House Churches in last couple of years. Ruth and I live in Melbourne Australia and if you intend to visit Australia anytime we’ll like to put you up in our home and have you share in our house church etc.
    Thanks , God Bless,

    Alex and Ruth

  • Ken and Darnella Burgess says:

    Dear Chip and Karla,

    What powerful and liberating revelations you have set down in the excerpts of your newest book. As I was reading it to Darnella I could not hold back the tears for the vivid picture that was imprinted in our hearts of the people of God who continually choose to remain in darkness and idolatry to men and women in a man made, man centered and man controlled institution called “church.” When christians prefer to “go to church,” instead of “being with HIM,” that always was and still is, “spiritual adultery,” or if you prefer “spiritual fornication.” The natural or supernatural outfall of this behavior is causing tragic consequences in marriages across the land. In our area we are aware of several pastors and “apostles” that have such spiritual control of the members that women are more submitted to the leaders than to their own husbands up to and including intimacy in their bedrooms. They continue to attend prayer meetings, bible studies, serve communion and travel hither and yon looking for an emotional fix that is mistakenly called “anointing.” When the husband refused to go on one of these “spiritual journeys” he was called rebellious. Peter spoke to this in 1 Peter 4:3-4 “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles-when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.”

    Thank you and Karla for your candid presentation of the revelations you receive on behalf of the church. We love you. I just ordered two copies of your book.

    In CHRkenIST

  • Lorill Zandberg says:

    This is the first time I’ve posted anything on this site. I’ve read many of the articles and I’ve been encouraged. My husband was the first in our family to have his eyes opened to what the church system really is and God has opened my eyes as well. We left the organized church about 3 years ago, and we’ve gone through a lot of persecution for it. We live in a very religious community and have had most of our close friends turn away from us. Those that are left look at us with suspicion, but despite all of that we could never go back. More and more we see churchianity coming apart at the seams with people trying to hold the system together. As lonely as it is out here in the wilderness I am so grateful that God opened our eyes and I’m grateful He gave my husband the strength to stand his ground. I’m afraid at the time I didn’t make it easy for him. It’s good to know there are others out there who have seen the same thing.

  • Louis Schmidt says:

    Hi Chip

    When will your latest books be available in e-book format?
    Please let us know when and where eg Amazon etc
    (South Africa)

  • Kelton Lange says:


  • Paula harries says:

    It’s a comfort to know that I am not alone in this wilderness,since it does get lonely….particularly if like me you live alone. I did try recently to go back, but not for long…I couldn’t stomach it, and found it incredible that so many of my friends from the ‘system’ are still lapping it up.I do wish there was an answer to the loneliness problem,but the Lord upholds us when we reach for him, and there is no denying, the growing sense of his presence and the increasing revelation of his word make up for the hard times. Thank you for all you do Chip.

    • sherry says:

      Thank you Paula for your word’s and encouragement.My family and I are where you are and it is very very lonely.Those that are still in the system that we speak to accuse us of hendering the fellowship and are in disobedience,but I know in my heart we are following what Christ want’s,we just don’t know what to do from here on out,we are still waiting and learning.Christ will reveal to us in due time,His time will be perfect.

  • Wilma Korthuis says:

    I encourage everyone who knows God is leading them to keep trusting Him.

  • Mario C. Alleckna says:

    Chip, you have described exactly how so many followers of Jesus feel–people in the wilderness, unable to ignore what the Holy Spirit is showing them, unable to continue playing along.

  • Mario C. Alleckna says:

    Better to be lonely than to eat with lions.

  • Robert Begnaud says:

    In your characterization of the four exodus, and the third one you described as “Christians exodus of Judaism”, would be better described as the true Jews Exodus of Judaism. There was also an Exodus of sorts in the reformation – they claimed they were leaving the harlot. These all speak to us and I believe you are aware of this. I believe our exodus will have far more in common with the third exodus you spoke of, the origins of the NT church, then most expect.

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