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

AUTHOR'S VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE

Author's Brief Testimony


GWR_03

ATTRIBUTES OF RELIGION
Consider How Christianity Becomes "Religion"



It takes a long time to understand the Bible. Not many who call themselves Christian believers desire to spend time studying it. Churches in the early twenty first century are seriously ungrounded in the precepts, truths and promises of the word of God. What have you discovered about this Bible? What have you been told? Is it history half truths or fable? Could the Bible possibly be the Word of God and relevant to life in the 21st Century?

Opening the Word of God, God's Holy Book

One of the most profound changes that I experienced after being Spiritually reborn was a new love of the Bible and a desire to probe its depths. My eyes that had been blind to its power and potential were opened. I began to discover its consistency and veracity. The apostle Paul tells us that spiritual (Biblical) 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 were spoken hundred of years in advance that have already transpired as well as events that are yet to occur at a future time. It is a fact that theologians and academicians can dig into the study of Scripture but leave with a lot of facts and too little understanding, what we know as precepts.

The apostle Paul was an academically brilliant rabbi. He was well situated in his Jewish religion. Yet, after his encounter with the living presence and power of Yeshua (Jesus), he stated that scholarship, philosophy and theology alone can't lead one to know God. Neither are theology or human knowledge a sure pathway to knowing God. Truth and wisdom is a Spiritually derived gift. Individuals are edified by the Holy Spirit either by self study or shared teachings and testimonies. Spiritual life is outside of religion. For it is only God himself who through the revelation of the Holy Spirit imparts to his children the necessary understanding of the Mysteries of God. (Read 1Corinthians Chapters 1 & 2)

There are many sects and denominations who refer to their beliefs and practices as "religion." 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 many attributes of church-house Christian tradition relegates them entirely as 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.

RELIGIOUS ATTRIBUTES INDEED HINDER THE MANIFESTING OF GOD'S KINGDOM

  • Schisms and division in the body of Christ result from denominational boundaries.

  • Schism and division result from the designation of clergy and the subordinate laity.

  • Discipleship is not seen as the first order of importance. (1 Corinthians 14)

  • Some form of priesthood remains in most churches .

  • Human headship, hierarchy of authority controls followers and imposes obligations.

  • Formalistic rituals or orders of service prohibit God interacting with the body.

  • Religious services become performance or even entertainment.

  • Congregations (the laity) are under-valued and serve mostly to support the mission of the institution.

  • The members of congregations are the "sheep" to be exploited.

  • The institutional church is focused primarily on maintenance, continuance and growth.

  • Religion becomes imbued with worldly aims, values and methodology.

  • Doctrines of institutional Christianity often at variance with scripture.

  • Individual believers are not discipled to mature and assume leadership.

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

  • Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, Most of the disciples were Jewish; Yet, Christianity's Judaic roots are discarded.

  • Much of mainstream Christianity practices "replacement theology." This is the belief that the church has replaced Israel; unfulfilled prophecies naming Israel apply not to Israel but to the church.

THE PERILS, PITFALLS, PROBLEMS OF RELIGION 
& RELIGIOUS ATTRIBUTES


An important caveat:

There is a remnant of Spiritual life in many traditional churches today. They use the Bible more or less in their services. Individuals within these institutions have remained faithful to sustain the God fearing values that laid the moral and social foundations of our nation. There has been a noble and historic inheritance of Christian Churches in America and in other countries. The nation of the U.S. of A., was founded upon faith in the providencial hand of the Living God, the Father of all creation and morality. Unfortunately today, there is a disturbing trend in America to follow a downward course of moral apostasy, casting off the morality of its traditional moral values. Meanwhile a disturbing number of institutional churches are departing from Biblical roots, allowing worldliness to enter.

There remains a remnant who continue in practicing the faith of our fathers, regardless of any religious shortcomings. It is not our place to condemn the faithful and morally upright people who faithfully attend such churches and find community and fulfillment there. There are salt of the earth believers who remain virtuous and upstanding pillars of American culture. God is able to find His way into the churches that worship in more formalized ways. Their is fruitfulness to the extent that the Word is taught and valued and true worship of God is encouraged.

The principal premise in this study is that there is more. Through study of the Bible, 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.

Traditional Christian religion meetings do not perfectly address the great commission, that focuses upon discipleship or freedom in worshipping the Lord. Negative attributes of the Religious paradigm described in these writings are the elements which impact faith in negative ways and in fact can actually keep individuals from ever experiencing the full life of the Kingdom of God which follows the God's Gift of salvation.

In 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.

  • How does religion become a dividing force? - - Denominational empires.

  • Examining Jesus' Final Exclamation: "It is finished" What was brought to a finish?

  • The Clergy-Laity doctrine- How Biblical is this traditional form?

  • Religion: What does Jeremiah's stale cisterns parable speak to us?

  • Pharisee-ism: What behaviors of the Pharisees are seen in religious practices today?

  • Religious emulation, church house behaviors we learn and practice.

  • We learn and follow ritual and acceptable mannerisms.

  • It is easy to focus on externals

  • Performance frames church programs; performing to entertain, showmanship infuse successful ministries;

  • Personality cults build upon a single leader's gifts.

  • Vines, True Vines and others . . If Christ is the true vine, what are the counterfeits?

  • The pattern of Jesus Christ's ministry and Jesus' life is a template.

  • Jargon and religious Terms: often heard phrases that have become spiritually empty.

Next Chapter

E Book 1:
The Gospel Without Religion


E Book 2:

A Disciples Handbook

E Book 3:
Mysteries in the Bible Index to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles

Resources: Understanding Home Fellowships

Frank Viola Interviews a typical church-goer

(Discussion of Open Church)