RECOGNIZING ATTRIBUTES OF RELIGION
takes a long time to understand the Scriptures recorded in the Holy
Bible. Not many who call themselves Christian believers desire to
spend any amount of time studying the Bible. Too many are ungrounded
in the truths and promises of the word of God. What about this Bible?
To you Is it history or fable? Is the Bible partly true and partly fable?
Is the Bible the Word of God and relevant to life
in the 21st Century?
Opening the Word of God. God's Holy Book
The apostle Paul tells us that spiritual matters are absurdities to
the person without the Spirit. The 'natural man' may follow any wind
of doctrine or demonically conceived teaching that parades as truth.
It is only after we have taken the first steps that bring us to redemption
that we have any desire to understand this mysterious book and can begin
to glimpse its consistency and focus. The Bible has been called many
things, such as the "Makers users manual," and "A love
letter from God." Amazingly, it also describes prophetically things
that have transpired as well as future events. Theologians and academicians
dig into the study of Scripture but at times leave with a lot of facts
but too little understanding, what we know as precepts.
apostle Paul was academically brilliant, and well situated in his Jewish
religion. Yet, after his encounter with the living presence and power
of God, he declared that scholarship, philosophy and theology does not
lead one to knowing God. Neither theology or human knowledge is a sure
pathway to knowing God. 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 imparts to human beings the
necessary understanding and revelation of the Mysteries
of God. (Read 1Corinthians Chapters 1 & 2)
are many sects and denominations who do not hesitate to call their practices
"religion" while other groups, notably the evangelicals, like
to say that the version of Christianity they practice is not religion.
But you will see as I explain in the course of these writings, that
we can indentify many attributes of Christian tradition that remain
entirely that, religion.
Christianity and church life are filled with religious 'trappings.'
In the pages that follow I will describe some practices that are more
of human aurthorship and tradition are ingrained in what many will call
the normal Christian life.
ATTRIBUTES INDEED HINDER THE MANIFESTING OF GOD'S KINGDOM
and division in the body of Christ result from denominational boundaries
and division result from the designation of clergy and the subordinate
form of priesthood remains in most churches
headship, hierarchy of authority controls followers and imposes
rituals or orders of service prohibit God interacting with the body
services become performance or entertainment
(the laity) are undervalued and serve mostly to support the mission
of the institution
members of congregations are the "sheep" to be exploited
institutional church is focused primarily on maintenance, continuance
becomes imbued with worldly aims, values and methodology
of institutional Christianity often at variance with scripture
believers are not discipled to mature and assume leadership
religious practices lack a demonstration of the power of the Holy
Christianity's Judaic roots are discarded.
There is little acknowledgment of these foundations and the future
place of the nation of Israel
PERILS, PITFALLS, PROBLEMS OF RELIGION
& RELIGIOUS ATTRIBUTES
An important caveat:
There is a residue of spiritual life in
many traditional churches today. Individuals remain faithful within
these institutions and sustain the values that laid the moral and social
foundations of our nation. There has been a noble and historic inheritance
of Christian Churches in America as well as other countries. In the
United States the nation was founded upon the faith in the living God
who is the father of all creation and moral rule.
Unfortunately there is a disturbing tendency for America to follow a
course of casting off these commonly held views of a nation under God.
Meanwhile a growing number of institutional churches are departing from
their fundamental roots allowing the tenets of worldly thought and values
to enter to their detriment.
There are multitudes who continued in
practicing the faith of their fathers, despite the shortcomings inherent
in their religion. So I will proffer no condemnation toward the faithful
and morally upright people who continue to regularly attend such 'Churches'
and find community and fulfillment there. These believers remain the
salt of the earth and have been virtuous and upstanding pillars of the
best of American culture. God, certainly knows how to find His way into
the churches who worship in more formalized ways. To the extent that
the Word is taught and valued and true worship of
God is encouraged, there is fruitfulness.
principle lesson premise of these writings is that there is more.
There is always more to be known and more to be experienced.
These experiences are entirely Scriptural based and consistent with
the apostolic teachings in the Bible. The more freedom and liberty is
given to the Holy Spirit, the more spiritual life and growth will be
"experienced" when those believers gather together.
Discipleship should serve to activate the 'gift of God' within individuals
so that they may bear evidence of The Kingdom of God and do the work
of the Kingdom and the King comes.
in Christian meetings does not perfectly address the great commission,
discipleship or freedom in worship. Negative attributes of the Religious
paradigm described throughout these writings are the elements which
impact faith in negative ways and in fact can actually keep individuals
from ever experiencing the life of the Kingdom of God or God's Gift
order to escape the restraining power of religious paradigms, it is
time to rethink religious traditions.
We will examine these in chapter topics in the list above.
does religion become a dividing force? - - Denominational empires.
Jesus' Final Exclamation: "It is finished" What was brought
to a finish?
Clergy-Laity doctrine- How Biblical is this traditional form?
What does Jeremiah's stale cisterns parable speak to us?
What behaviors of the Pharisees are seen in religious practices
emulation, church house behaviors we learn and practice.
learn and follow ritual and acceptable mannerisms.
is easy to focus on externals
frames church programs; performing to entertain, showmanship infuse
cults build upon a single leader's gifts.
True Vines and others . . If Christ is the true vine, what are the
pattern of Jesus Christ's ministry and Jesus' life is a template.
and religious Terms: often heard phrases that have become spiritually
E Book 2:
A Disciples Handbook
E Book 3:
in the Bible Index
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
Understanding Home Fellowships
Frank Viola Interviews a typical church-goer
(Discussion of Open Church)
Index to all Charles Pinkney