GWR01
Introduction

01PDF

GWR02
Paradigms

02PDF

GWR03
Religious Attributes

03PDF

GWR04
Religion Divides

04PDF

GWR05
Denominations Empires

05PDF

GWR06
It is Finished

06PDF

GWR07
Clergy & Laity

07PDF


RELIGION: FIXATED ON EXTERNALS

AUTHOR'S VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE


Author's Brief Testimony


"A guidebook to accessing the life of God
Without being sidetracked by religious tradition."

By Charles Pinkney



It takes a lot of time and study to understand the Scriptures, we call The Holy Bible. Is it history or fable? Is it the word of God and relevant to life in the 21st Century? Is it infallible truth or not? It is only after we have studied the Bible carefully with the intent to  understand that we begin to glimpse its consistency  and simplicity. It has been called many things, such as the "Makers users manual,"  "A love letter from God," "A book that prophetically foretells things to come."  Theologians dig into the study of Scripture from a variety of motives and at times leave with a lot of knowledge but little understanding.
The apostle Paul who was highly educated and religiously situated proclaimed that scholarship, philosophy and theology are a pathway that does not lead to knowing God. Human knowlege is not Spiritual knowledge. Truth and wisdom is a Spiritually derived gift. Spiritual life is outside of religion. For it is only God himself who through the revelation of the Holy Spirit to impart to human beings the necessary understanding and revelation of the Mysteries of God.
(Read 1Corinthians Ch.1&2)


WHAT ARE SOME RELIGIOUS ATTRIBUTES
WHICH HINDER FULFILLMENT IN A LIFE OF GOD?

**Schisms and division in the body of Christ from denominational boundaries

**
Schism and division result from the designation of clergy and the subordinate laity

**
Some form of priesthood remains as the controlling voice in fellowship

**
Human headship a heirarchy of authority controls and imposes obligations


**
Formalistic rituals or orders of service prohibit God's interacting

**
Religious services become a form of performance or entertainment

**
Congregations (the laity) undervalued and serve mostly to support the institution

**
The members of congregations are identified as "sheep" to be exploited

**the
institution church is focused primarily on maintenance; continuance and growth

**
Religious traditions borrow worldly values and methodology

**
The doctrines of institutional Christianity may be at variance with scripture

**
All individual believers are not expected to grow, mature and assume leadership

**
Traditional religious practices lack a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit.

**Although Christianity is the outgrowth and fulfillment of

Judaic roots there is little  acknowledgment of these foundations

An important caveat:
There are degrees of spirituality and expression of heart-felt faith in the traditional churches today. People are faithful to these institutions that have sustained values that have laid the moral and social foundations of our nation. There has been a noble and historic inheritance of Christian Churches in America and other countries. Although there is a disturbing tendency today for institutional churches to depart from their roots allowing the tenets of worldly thought and values to enter in.

God, can and does find His way into the heart of people within churches who worship in more formal, liturgical ways. To the extent that the Word is taught and valued and the true worship of God is encouraged there is fruitfulness. The principle emphasis of these writings is that there is more, more, always more to be known and to be experienced. And these experiences are entirely consistent with apostolic teachings. The more freedom and liberty is given to the Holy Spirit, the more spiritual growth will be "experienced" when those believers gather together.

I will focus upon the negative attributes of the Religious paradigm in these writings which impact faith and spiritual growth in negative ways. There are doctrines and practices that can actually keep individuals from ever experiencing the Kingdom of God or the greatest gift of God, Salvation.

 

RELIGION: FIXATED ON EXTERNALS

Religion Plays Out in Costume
All institutional religions develop some formalism
and ceremony

 

Among all of the first principles to be emphasized is that God and his kingdom are not within the realm of the material world.

The Kingdom of God is not measured, touched, seen, nor reached through travel. Any practices which turn the focus of believers from the spiritual to the material needs to be questioned. Traditions which emphasize or protect doctrines which externalize elements of faith ought to be subject to revision. I am speaking more about elements of worship in religion which might be externalized and less about the behaviors which express living out one's personal faith.

Costume does not make the man or the woman! Neither does costume portray true spiritual character or authority. It is the life within that person that distinguishes him/her. Movies and television routinely portray "men of God" in special garb. Religous garments are the only tangible way to denote rank or authority, just as in the military. The world goes along with this thinking, because it has been nurtured on religous terms (paradigms) and find it normal. But this attribute of religion is shallow, vain and erroneous. I assure you, priestly garb would find no acceptance with Jesus or any of his apostles.

Within religion, clerical garments (costume) is used to separate and denote those of various spiritual ranks. When men or women are able to wear spirituality as an ecclesiastical garment they are clearly saying to the world that they have superior spiritual status and knowledge of God which sets them apart from the rest of us. Whether or not they believe they need to wear these kinds of costumes in order to be true to their calling, or perhaps honor God, I do not know. I do know, however, that Jesus never commanded for spiritual men to dress up in order to point to their status. This contradicts the principle of external things being less important than the internal. One of the things that Jesus noted about Pharisees was that there was pride connected to both their offices their costume. They wore them publicly and expected deference to be given to them.


ATTRIBUTES OF RELIGION

Professional Performance

Worship should never become performance, but a communication of the heart. It is less for human approval than God's approval. It is  directed only to the person of the Almighty. Preaching should not be  performance, but speaking the mind of Christ to persons in  need edification.  A man of God yielded to the Spirit, may well appear dramatic, persuasive and captivating but these qualities  will not be achieved  on account of rhetorical skills.

Religious performance is born out of highly regimented rituals. Activities which occur in church houses are broken into programs, including orders of worship. Each part of an order of worship, whether done by one person or several, tends to be viewed traditionally as either sacramental or performance. If the rituals are sacramental it does not matter too much whether the details are performed well or not. Ritual stands for itself from beginning to end. It is very hard to introduce any personality or interpretation into it. Ritual is as relevant as we wish it to be. Ritual, in my opinion is a kind of counterfeit substituting revelation for priestly rites.

Ritualism in many non Christian religions bears a strong relationship to shamanism. Ritualism is actually a magic rite. In it through a particular rite or ceremony using "sacred" elements or ingredients, God of gods are supposedly invoked and appeased. In highly stylistic ceremonies the congregation is fixed upon - and watching. The focus is outward toward worldly forms. God is not found in these outward forms.

There are other kinds of worship services in particular those that Protestant denominations follow, that are less sacramental. In such worship services every part of the order of service hinges on some kind of performance. Those congregations who have a more spiritual awareness make less of performance and stress the inner spiritual message. Part by part the elements of the Sunday or Sabbath ritual unfold. The congregation is either entertained a little or a lot. If the choir sings well it is a good performance. If the soloist is doing a special number all of the congregation (audience) carefully scrutinizes every aspect of the performance, of course it is usually sub-par and amateurish but we tolerate sub-par because church does not normally have quality entertainment available (unless they are a very affluent church who can pay professionals.) Of course, it is the dream of most mega-churches to have all performances of professional quality.

From the opening prelude to the closing of the recessional with the organ pulling out all stops, the church has completed another program; another religious ritual. The performers have performed upon their respective stages, the audience has 'spectated' from their pews.

The less spiritual the church, the more the emphasis remains upon performance and show. The more the demand for performance the greater the performance pressure. The greater the self awareness, the less the ability to sense God in the parts. Conversely the more spiritual the ministry the less there is a sense that was performed. A transparent minister is God conscious and less self conscious.
 



  The Gospel Without Religion

Charles Pinkney

©1995 - 2013

By Charles Pinkney