I Don’t Like the Word “Religion”

As most of you all know, I am a huge supporter of my local church. I volunteer when I can, donate as much as possible, and invite people as frequently as possible.So it may come as a surprise to you that I am not a huge fan of the idea of religion. The whole institution of religion has gotten a pretty bad rap, whether its Christianity or any other religion. Doing things because your religion tells you to, is not something I am a fan of. I think living your life for a higher being is all based on you waking up each day and choosing to partake.

I  believe that going to services and in my case, following Jesus is the best thing ever. Going to church, praying, and reading the bible are what I like to consider my living traditions, rather then my religion. I practice these things because I believe that our God is way bigger then the term religion. Living by His words and will for my life are a conscious choices I make every day, and not because “it’s my religion” or ” that’s just what you do”.

So what do you think? Do you think the term religion has negative connotations associated with it, or do you think its a highly desirable institution?

128 thoughts on “I Don’t Like the Word “Religion”

  1. Superior Domain says:

    I do believe religion is man trying to reach to God.Devising means and ways to get to God,by doing certain a,b and c’s without a relationship.It’s also a form of godliness, denying the Power of God.

    I liked it when you said,”Following Jesus is the best thing ever” Christianity is receiving Jesus in your heart and following Him.It’s a relationship.Not a religion.

    I can see you getting several responses on this one

    Liked by 2 people

    • justifiedandsinner says:

      One of the challenges in life is letting other people set definitions for you.
      This is especially true among people who follow Jesus. They want to redefine everything – and we often do so to cover our own darkness, our own brokenness.

      For me, the word religion is akin to covenant. It is the description of our relationship with God, And since that relationship is one of parent to child, of people to their benefactor, it is by His design, and scripturally speaking, HIs desire.

      I need to remember that, I need HIs guidance, His loving beneficial, wonderful guidance. That “religion” I see everyone bash, and want to toss aside is my tack on the rollercoaster of life. My body and even my mind may want to jump the track, and go flying through the air, or bottom out after a steep drop – but the covenant, what God promises,How He teaches us to live with HIm, are critical. Sure the unexpected curve, or my pride will result in getting bashed and even bruised – but it is my safety blanket, what assures me of making it home.

      Not because they are just rules, but because He laid them down. (and if someone else did – that becomes apparent too!

      So I love the word, and will take the time to help others

      Like

      • Superior Domain says:

        I like the fact that you explain that,’for you’ religion means covenant.Whats important is that whatever term we use,we explain what 8t means,so that the readers or listeners may understand us.

        I do believe that when we follow ‘rules’ or whatever the Lord has told us to do,it has to come out of our relationship with Him.Not out of obligation or just following the instructions.We need to have received Jesus and relying on His ability and grace.

        For the walk is of faith and grace.

        Thanks for your contribution

        Like

  2. AddKluZiv says:

    Yes, you are very correct. Religion has now become a term that most people would loathe and not love. You’ve mentioned it very well that living your life in this way that you’re currently doing is a choice and not dictated by religion. That’s what I believe too.
    If only there were no fights due to religion and religiousness, the would would’ve been a peaceful place to live. It is ironic that what preaches peace takes it too.

    Keep writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jason Dorrell says:

    I have to agree, especially in the face of religious extremism in today’s world. The word “Religion” brings up so many negative connections that people rub away from anything that even stinks of “organized religion”.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. brujsims says:

    Reblogged this on Call to Witness and commented:
    There is a big difference between the Christian walk and other religions. In religion, it is man trying to find ways to get to God, only to fall short every time. In the Christian faith, it is the other way around, it is God who comes down to His people in order to save them from their sins. You may have noticed that I have been avoiding calling the walk with Christ as Christianity. That is because people view Christianity as any other religion; an institution where man is trying to get to God. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must stop thinking of ways of pleasing the Lord in order to get on His good side. Instead, we ought to serve the Lord out of gratitude for the work that He has already done for us. A work that we could not do by ourselves. Faith in Christ must not be bunched with religion; it is in a league all by itself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • possesshispromises says:

      Great words. Actions follow grace. There is nothing that we can do to earn the righteousness that it takes to draw near to God. It takes the sacrifice of Jesus, His death on the cross and His resurrection. We accept this free gift of God, we surrender our bodies, our lives, our dreams, we die to self and live to Christ. Then He transforms us, and actions or works naturally follow. This is not a religion we live. We live eternally through the power of the Living God. May the Lord richly bless you all and this conversation. Karen

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cristiano Sequeira says:

    I hear that very often. I guess the next word to suffer under the same curse, that “religion” has in the past decades, is “denomination”. People are going to become very vocal about breaking down denominational barriers (especially among Christians) and uniting them all under one banner (just as global religious movements are breaking down religious barriers and uniting them all under one banner). In that sense, yes, I do believe that “religion” has a very negative connotation. I do love the institution (denomination) I am part of though.

    I also really like my favourite Christian author’s—Ellen White—use of the word “religion”. She uses it as synonym of “spirituality” or “devotion” or “relationship with God”. Much more positive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 3375F says:

      I agree. It seems everyone can be open about their different denominations, except Christians. The second you identify as one you are paired with negative thoughts. Makes no sense to me

      Liked by 1 person

  6. onebumps says:

    I believe if it wasn’t for the misperceptions fostered by a number of religions, even Christianity in some cases, there would be many more people coming to Christ. When we stay focussed on the flawless example of Jesus as shown us in the Bible and express that we paint quite a different picture for doubters. There is no better way to do this than by letting him take the reins and guide us through the process.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 3375F says:

      I agree, even as Christians we aren’t exempt from leading others astray as times. As long as you live as Christ like as possible that’s all we can do.

      Like

  7. rothpoetry says:

    Like you I am a person of faith and can apprecitate your statement. I find that mainstream Christianity can get rather embarrassing at times especially whent it gets involved in the politics of the day. When we stray from the command of Jesus to love God and our neighbor, I believe we are getting off track.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jeff Lossau says:

    The big thing about “religions” is most are driven by the misconception that man/woman can reach a higher state by doing “things”. They are based on what can I “DO”? I put my faith in is Christianity and the belief that a personal relationship with God, through his Son Jesus, is what drives me. To paraphrase, “I am a fully devoted disciple of Jesus Christ, cleverly disguised as an old, retired, grandpa.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Intentergy says:

    I have always felt that faith was belief in God and religion was how you chose to practice that faith. I think I need to modify this self-explanation a bit. I really like how you stated, “Going to church, praying, and reading the bible are what I like to consider my living traditions, rather then my religion.” Organized religions serve as guides for believers but can never fully define what our faith is or encompass all of our beliefs. Thank you for your insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jeffrey H. King says:

    “Religion” has indeed acquired too many negative feelings. Still, we need some sort of organization, and it needs, of necessity, to be called something. We’re told to meet together as the first disciples and Christians did, …singing songs and hymns and meeting together. We organize ourselves together for mutual support, bearing one another’s burdens. We organize ourselves together for protection. Just like sheep, we stand a better chance of surviving in the herd as opposed to going it alone.

    What to do? Jesus was very clear on what He expected us to do, so it isn’t a matter of us doing anything because WE feel like it. Ours should be a response of love and gratitude for all He gave us.

    Stay grounded in the bible, play nice with others, and don’t put on others anything God hasn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. w1nt3l says:

    Religion has taken on a meaning that doesn’t necessarily describe someone who is faithful to their chosen following. It’s been warped into a word that is used to describe both actions and feelings and news reports that have an “in the name of” feel to them. I’m not necessarily faithful at the moment but was raised most of my younger years a Christian. Several poor experiences and fundamental unanswered questions about my faith pushed me to broaden my horizons. I respect and accept all faiths people choose to follow and feel that we can all learn from each other regardless of which they follow.

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    • 3375F says:

      I have noticed that in my case, the people I encounter that have left whatever faith they use to identify with, did so because of something someone who claimed the same faith did. No wonder ever choose to follow their God, because of something God did or didn’t do. It’s usually people who skew others views

      Liked by 1 person

  12. kertsen says:

    Does your enthusiasm ever clash with your family duties. I ask this not to trip you up but simply because in marriage often one person is more committed than another. I believe this is why Catholic priests are celibate so they may be wholly devoted to God’s work with out distraction.

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  13. Salvageable says:

    It’s interesting that the New Testament writers rarely mention religion, and almost always in a negative light. Paul in Athens calls his audience “very religious,” and Paul describes himself during his days as a Pharisee opposed to Christianity as “religious.” J.

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  14. letsxplore says:

    All the versions of religion teaches one common thing- to be morally upright and to spread love and peace ! But people, nowadays, are adulterating it as per their own convenience and causing inconvenience to others- all in the name of ‘religion’. It is sad to see religion becoming a barrier to love and world peace!

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  15. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

    Religion comes from the Latin, “religio” which by etymology (the origin and development of a word) means reverence for God or godliness, in the worship of God Himself. It does NOT need to be a negative The godliness of the true Christian is GOD Himself, ‘In Christ’!

    Liked by 2 people

    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      And btw, there are two Greek words used for “religion” also, “Threskia” (and threskos), as used in James 1: 26-27. James there uses the word to contrast the unreal and deceptive with “pure religion”. But the Greek words can be used for the ceremonial service of religion also, as Acts 26: 5, and Col. 2: 18. And see too Rev. 22: 8,9.

      And there is a third Greek word, “Deisidaimonia”, used more for the negative and superstition (of religion). See Acts 25: 19.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. hiwaychristian says:

    I’ve learned to say that religion is man’s attempt to please his version of God. I would guess that works pretty good if the man’s God is nothing more than a piece of stone or another man. Unless our religion is obedience to the Living God commands in his Holy Son, it has to be worthless. He starts out by saying “Love me”. If we will follow that simple command our religion will be transformed into something useful. If not, we simply hang around with all the other unemployed folks wishing we had a job.

    Thanks for the piece. It’s right on the money (So to speak).

    Liked by 1 person

  17. homerbuford says:

    I will not read past a couple of comments. Tho’ I agree that bad examples of the church have been highlighted and ‘exposed’ by the leftist media and that CHRISTIANS have been blamed for wars….all of the.
    The facts are:
    *War is caused by greed. If Greedy is what the church is, then, Again, Greed is the god.
    * few reminders are posted about the importance of Church and what the Church has accomplished over the centuries…the true Church.
    “Church” sent fearless and faithful volunteers…Volunteers…not a single member of the Church was sent on a forced march into jungles and velds to carry a message of hope to savage cannibals and head hunters.

    Like

  18. homerbuford says:

    * Also, by God’s great and un erring promise, he will save a remnant of his people, IN THESE TIMES, to offer, finally and totally his great salvation to those who , instead of analyzing the ruin of the church as a ‘ relgion’, will look wisely uno the hills and know that our redeemed lives and is on his way as we speak!

    Like

    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      I am just seeking to be biblical, since the word or words (in the original NT Greek Text) are several. And yes, it can be positive and or negative. Btw, I am perhaps the only minister (an Anglican priest/presbyter, but an Evangelical one for sure) writing here? But I bet I am the oldest here? 😉 And I am a theologian type for sure, that means I seek to teach biblical theology, but with historical Creeds (note in the BCP, the Thirty- nine Articles, etc.) I used to teach both theology and philosophy, when I lived in Israel. And that was after I was in Gulf War I (Royal Marine, RMC). But, I am living now in the USA, the So Cal, and for several years now.

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  19. Reviving A People says:

    Religion is man-made. Christianity is just a term for those who follow Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the one who is God. God created his church, which is who we are. The church did not create God. To lower ourselves to that of a religion is to lower Christ to that of Allah or Buddah

    Like

    • Reviving A People says:

      So in essence…yes, the term religion does a disservice to Christ. There’s a lot that goes into it, but that is the overall combination of ideas!

      Like

  20. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

    Can I remind our zealous Christians friends here, that the word “religion” is used in a positive way in the Bible? See James 1: 27 – “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” And this is of course part of the Jewish Wisdom Literature in the Bible, which James was so familiar with. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  21. JandWs says:

    I think you’re right, the term “religion” isn’t helpful. It’s not about religion it’s about faith. Faith in someone greater than you, me or us collectively.

    Perhaps religion is a human attempt to make comprehensible the unknowable.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. jdwhriter says:

    I actually tend toward viewing the term “religion” in a positive light (I.e. The way Spurgeon, Edwards, and other old “greats, would have used the word).

    When referring to dead ritualistic practice or false religions, I try to use the terms dead/false religion so the I don’t feed this negative view of the word itself…

    I actually disapprove of the phrase “it’s a relationship, not a religion” in any form, because the idea puts an entirely negative connotation on religion. Religions have statutes and taught worldviews – ways to live and behave. Do we honestly think that the One True God did not stipulate such things to the first followers of the One True Religion(Christianity) when He gave them Scripture?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Fr. Brench says:

    I think you said it best: “Going to church, praying, and reading the bible are what I like to consider my living traditions…” Right there, “living traditions” is a fantastic definition of what “religion” actually means. It sounds right in line, also, with the definition of religion in James 1:26-27.

    Sure there are lots of bad associations with the word, and lots of bad examples of people who do terrible things in the name of religion, but that need not take away from the positive/original meaning(s) of the word itself!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Jane Catherine Rozek says:

    “By their fruit you will recognize them.” True followers in any religion have beautiful fruit in their lives. That’s what we are attracted to! It’s what Jesus meant when he said God’s laws will be written in our hearts!

    Like

  25. Isabella Simons says:

    It definitely has bad things associated with it. Christianity is a religion but also more than that. I can see why you don’t like to call it that because it tends to bring all the wrong things to mind.

    Like

  26. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

    Indeed this blog on “Religion” has been a good one! And I noted our blog host talked of her love for her local Church Body, nice! For true “religion” is actually about that body-life-visible, and our relationship therein, where Jesus Is Lord! I would actually say that true-religion is our godliness too ‘In Christ’! Always a visible and spiritual reality, oh how we need the Visible Body-Life of Christ, which is surely under grave attack today! (And now both spiritual and physical)

    “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul (Paul): And when he found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Acts 11: 25-26, good old Barnabas!)

    Like

    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      Note Titus 1: 15 -16, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” Wow, this is NT revelation, and Pauline, i.e. Paul! (I quoted the NIV on purpose, just a good translation here!)

      Liked by 1 person

  27. letterstomypeople says:

    Religion, when people ask, what is my religion, I tell hem Yeshua (Jesus). And when they say, they don’t understand I quote: John-14- 6
    14- 6- Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but bye men. (no other explanation is needed) Peace!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      Not sure what your tying to say here mate? But Jesus is Yeshua “Incarnate”, John 8: 58, i.e. The ‘I AM’! And also Jesus as the Christ the Messiah of God, is the One and Only “Mediator” between God and man, 1 Tim. 2: 5. True Christianity is always Judeo-Christian!

      PS.. I was in ‘the Nam’ also, 1968.

      Like

      • letterstomypeople says:

        The word Jesus is a Greek/ Roman name for Yeshua, who is and will always be a Hebrew Israelite of the tribe of Judah, of the house of Israel. He is Israel’s mediator, sent by the spirit of the Father to redeem Ancient Israel and to give Grace to the 12 tribes of Israel scattered among the Gentile Nations. Peace.

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        Jesus, is a transliteration of the Hebrew “Joshua,” meaning ‘Yahweh/Jehovah is salvation’, i.e. ‘is the Savior’. In the Letters of Paul ‘Jesus’ appears alone just thirteen times, and in the Hebrew eight times. And in Paul’s Letters the order is always in harmony with the context. Thus ‘Christ Jesus’ describes the Exalted and Risen One who emptied Himself, Phil. 2: 5, and to Death, 2: 8 and testifies to His pre-existence as the LORD/Yahweh, 9-10-11. ‘Christ Jesus’ suggests His grace, ‘Jesus Christ’ suggests His glory.

        Jesus/Yeshua is Lord of both regenerate Jews and Gentiles, called by God’s grace ‘In Christ’, Ephesians 2: 14-22 … “For I am no ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek/Gentile.” (Romans 1: 16)

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  28. letterstomypeople says:

    The Lord God of hosts of Israel have many names because of his many attributes: And Moses said unto God, behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. Precepts: (John-8:24; Heb. 13:8; Rev. 1:8; 4:8) And God said unto Moses, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. Precepts: Ps.- 30:4; 102:12; 135:13 The above verses come from O.T.- Exodus- Chapter- 3- Verses- 13, 14, 15 We can go on and on about the many names of God and we can say, God is for everyone, but the truth, will of the God of Israel, will always prevail. Read!! Isaiah-45- Verses- 3 thru 7- Verse- 3- And I will give thee (Israel) the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou may know that I, the Lord, which call thee (Israel) by thy name, am the God of Israel. Precepts: 41:23 – Ex. 33:12 Verse- 4- For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee (holy) though thou hast not known me. Precept: 44:1 Verse- 5- I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded (protected) thee though thou hast not known me: Precepts: 44;8 – Ps. 18:32 Verse- 6- That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. Precepts: 37:20; Ps.102:15; Mal. 1:11 Verse- 7- I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Precepts: 31:2; Amos 3:6. My opinion does not matter, only the word of the God of Israel matters. Peace.

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    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      Indeed the biblical God is the God of Israel! And Jesus Christ the Lord is the eternal Son of God the Father, John 1: 14 ; 18, i.e. the “Logos” (Word), John 1: 1. Surely Jesus Christ is the one and only “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Here in Hebrews we can see that Jesus is both the eternal Son of God, and “the firstborn into the world”. (Verse 6) And looking at Colossian’s we see more of the depth of this revelation: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” And we must note too verses 16-17, which I will not quote here. The point is that Jesus Christ is ALONE the Incarnate radiance and image of Yahweh, and both are the I AM, with of course the Person of the Holy Spirit, for the biblical God is Triune: Father, Son , Holy Spirit! (Matt. 28: 19)

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    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      Good question! And one that many Christians don’t know and understand today sadly! First, the Bible and Holy Scripture presents a progressive revelation of God, from the OT to the New! But it s always Judeo-Christian also! And without the ministry of the Apostle Paul we would NOT get the essence of this, noting Ephesians chapter 3! Paul’s great “stewardship of God’s grace”, verse 2 thru 11, etc. Indeed GOD is the maker of “dispensation/dispensations” (economy), and here the Apostle Paul is the key to the NT revelations of God, again Eph. 2: 1-11! See too btw Acts 28 and what Paul says: verses 23-31, here Paul moves away from the Nation of Israel because of their rejection of Jesus Christ, to the Gentile Nations, i.e. Rome etc. But, he always had before sought to preach first to the Jews, but at the end of Acts he moves to the Gentles especially, but still he could write in Romans 1: 16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Gentiles).” And then we get Paul’s so-called Prison Epistles or Letters: Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Philemon. Very much Paul’s High Ground in the NT and Church revelation!

      *Note, I follow theologically what is called, “Progressive Dispensationalism.” Indeed we cannot escape the theological study of the doctrine of God! And in both the OT and the New! For God In Christ is always Judeo-Christian!

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        I know this is quick, and really requires more depth, but I hope I have touched the Pauline lines and revelation! Again, see Romans 11: 13, and this is the Day of the Gentiles, though now we are surely seeing the essence of the Gentile Apostasy in the Church! (2 Timothy)

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        The hard or definite lines of Paul’s Gospel are surely in his Letter of the Romans, without a doubt the greatest biblical and theological revelation God has given us ‘In Christ”. Which also covers National and covenantal Israel, Romans chapter’s 9-11! (See 11: 25 thru 29, etc.)

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      • letterstomypeople says:

        First, please explain to me progressive revelation of God from the O.T. to the N.T. the God of Israel never changes to please man. Correct me if I am wrong about the Progressive thought. Do the progressive thinkers like yourself believe that the Lord God of Israel, the God that made covenants with no other Nation, the God that told Moses to tell Israel that he gave Israel his Laws, Statues, and Commandments because of the sins of the Gentile Nations around them changed his mind with the coming of the N.T.? Also we will look at the reason for Jesus(Yeshua) sending Paul to the Gentiles.

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        First, the word “progressive” used in Biblical Theology has nothing to do with the political and negative use of the word today! It’s use in and for the Bible and theology simply means ‘continuing by successive steps.’ GOD did NOT reveal everything at once, thus we have the Old and New Testament or Covenants. And in the NT especially Saul-Paul who became the Apostle to the Gentiles (Nations) – and that’s us who are non-Jews. I am myself a consummate conservative, both biblically and politically! And basically one that believes like I do in Progressive Dispensationalism, sees that God unfolds His revelational economy in both the Bible and Holy Scripture, and also in Biblical Prophecy, which is as Paul writes: “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Gentile). (Romans 1: 16) Btw, in some real manner, Paul as the last Apostle, and who has written most of the NT Epistles and Letters, has with John given the only Revelation of God! (Eph. 3: 5-11 / Rev. 22: 18-19)

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        Indeed the Biblical Revelation of God IS Judeo-Christian, the OT and the New Testament Covenants of God! And btw we can see this also in the Four Gospels: “The first living creature was like unto a Lion: the second living creature was like unto a Calf; the third living creature had the face of a Man; the fourth living creature was like a flying Eagle.” (Rev. 4: 7) And by spiritual application see Gen. 2: 10!

        Matthew’s Christ is KING! Mark’s Christ is the Servant! Luke’s Christ is as Man, or Son of Man, Son of Adam. And John’s Christ is as the “Eagle” or the Incarnate Son of God! And we can note how in St. Paul’s writings, how “Christ Jesus” is all of these as the great Lord and Mediator on the Throne of God! (Hebrews 9: 23-28)

        Btw, are we ‘looking’ for HIM who shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation? See Matthew 25: 1-13

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  29. George says:

    I agree completely. I go to church each week and pray regularly but I’ve always believed faith is spiritual while religion is a business. I try not to involve myself in the business side of my faith.
    Good post.

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    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      Sorry, but I would disagree with the idea, or dichotomy, that faith is more spiritual than the visible side of the Christian life. The Epistle or Letter of James hammers this issue! Faith and works or deeds are always produced by true faith, James chapter 2. See also James 1: 22-25, etc. Btw, sadly Luther sort of missed it here also, with his thoughts on the Letter of James being, “a strawy” Epistle! WE need the whole Biblical Canon! 🙂

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  30. tothineownselfbetruebutwhotheheckami says:

    Our Church recently partnered with Revival Today and Evangelist Jonathan Shuttlesworth for the Festival of Life in Clarksburg, WV. Many people are not aware what a catastrophic drug problem exist in West Virginia. The Festival of life saw over 2,000 people make commitments to Christ in a town of around 16,000. Statistically, that is amazing.

    As the Festival of Life approached one of the local news sources carried a headline: Local Pastor Looks to Religion. Honestly, the headline really upset me. I grew up in church, fell away and returned…I have seen plenty of “religion” in my time. I am certain the author of the article meant no harm in his headline, but religion is conformity. Religion is habit, ceremony and a sometimes façade for evil to hide behind as it hurts multitudes. That hurt can be through a terror attack, a tasteless protest at a funeral or hypocrisy. A relationship is something very different.

    I am 100% with you on not liking the word religion. I too follow Christ. God knows I am far, far away from perfect. In fact my blog is pretty much dedicated to my trials and victories in my relationship with Christ. When I rededicated my life and started to learn for myself, I realized my earlier troubles in faith were due to religion, not God. Thanks for putting this out there. A relationship with Christ is great joy and peace…even in the tough places. God bless.

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  31. memoirsofamemory says:

    I am also not a fan of the word “religion” and also the term, “modern day religion”. Not so much because they are terms that necessarily have anything wrong with them in and of themselves, but because they are terms that are now used in often derogatory ways by people who are bitter about God or simply do not understand about the actual personal “relationship” or what I like to think of as the spiritual walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. paulapederson says:

    All these comments have me reeling! For me, God is love, as shown in the example of Jesus. I’ve lived a long time, in many places, and belonged to a variety of churches. i just trust my faith as it evolves and grows.

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    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      Yes, surely ‘God is Love’, but HE is also Holy, Just and Righteous, and is Himself Totally Other! The First of the Ten Commandments: ‘Thou Shalt Have No Other God’s (god’s) Before ME.’ And the Moral Law of God does not change in either Testament or Covenant. (See St. Mark 12: 29-31) True Christianity is always Judeo-Christian!

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        And btw, just a wee study of my own, but the word ‘law’ occurs one hundred and eighteen times in St. Paul’s Epistles-Letters – one hundred and three times in Romans and Galatians alone. It is manifest how absorbing an interest the subject had for this Apostle! Gal. 2: 19 puts us at the centre of St. Paul’s position: “I through law died to law, that I might live to God.” Paul’s Judaistic experience had a positive as well as negative result: if he ‘died to law,’ it was ‘through law’ ; the law has proved our “paedagogus” (early/genesis or juvenile “schoolmaster”… leading us to) Christ! (Gal. 3: 24). Law awakened conscience and disciplined the moral aspects for the Jews, but only “To redeem them that were under the law, that we (Jews & Gentiles) might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal. 4: 1-5)

        “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father.” (Gal. 4: 6)

        Indeed for Paul it was always Law & Gospel that brings us to Christ!

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  33. ChasingFaeries says:

    One of my personal go to phrases is “religion is a dirty word.” I think it has far more negative connotations than positive ones and is largely responsible for a lot of false beliefs being spread around, both within and about certain systems of beliefs. Especially in Christianity. I love, love, LOVE my relationship with God and Jesus. I would never trade it for anything. And I’ve been a member of some wonderful churches throughout my fairly short lifetime. But none of that, for me, has anything at all to do with “religion.” It just has to do with love.

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    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      Of course today “religion” is a much used word, but the etymology, i.e. the origin and development and study of the word, is often missed; not to mention the biblical-word-study as I have mentioned here (this blog). And we have lost the Greek meaning which includes “legere” or logic!

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    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      Interesting, but it DOES appear you HAVE quite brought “your theology” here! Perhaps you need a blog? And btw, we can of course never do theology without bringing some form of philosophy also! For me, as the Holy Scripture, it is presuppositional to the compete authority and revelation of God’s Word! 🙂

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        Btw, I like Blase Pascal’s statement about “contradiction” …Pascal could write: “Contradiction is a bad sign of truth; several things which are certain are contradicted; several things which are false pass without contradiction. Contradiction is NOT a sign of falsity, nor the want of contradiction a sign of truth.” (Pensees 384)

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        For those that are not familiar with Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662), he was of course a profound thinker, and French “Jansenist” Christian! The father of the first mechanical calculator. See too his so-called “religious” books: The Provincial Letters, and the Pensees, the latter is a great defense of Christian belief!

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      • jesuschristprovenright says:

        I hope you read the pot at the link provided. According to the statements of Christ in the gospels only the words of Christ are the word of God. The other books are not valid as a theological source by the words of Christ in the canonical gospels. I have based all my conclusions off the words of Christ. I have not based them off of the church. This is the difference you seem to not be recognizing. If you read the link provided maybe you will understand.

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        And too, Paul the Apostle (the Apostle to the Gentiles/Nations, Romans 11: 13) wrote most of the NT Epistles/Letters. See also Ephesians chapter 3: 1-8, etc. Canon, the Biblical Canon of the Holy Scripture, Old Testament (Covenant) to the New! (Note 2 Cor. chapter 3)

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      • jesuschristprovenright says:

        According to the words of Jesus Christ in your own gospels Paul nor anyone else was ever given any authority over the ministry of Christ. But I understand that to be Christian the first thing a person must do is renounce the teachings of Jesus Christ.

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        Not sure what “true” biblical and theological point you are tying to make? The whole of the NT essence and authority is based upon the ‘Apostles Doctrine/Teaching’. And btw, we catch a glimpse of this in Jesus words in John’s Gospel, (John 16: 4-33 with chapter 17) here is the Apostolic witness, power and authority! And with 1 Cor. 15: 1-11, etc.

        “I labored harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then it is I or they, this is what we peach, and this is what you believed.” (Verse 10)

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    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

      That’s fine mate, but biblically & theologically we must not over-ride the whole of the NT Canon, and the Book of James does have its place in the Text, with “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father”…(James 1: 26-27). The Greek word here is “Thereskeia”, which signifies religion in its external aspect. And the Christian life will be measured visibly by God! This is the essence of the Bema-Seat of Christ for the believer. (See also Eph. 2: 10). And of course works are NOT the merit of our salvation In Christ, but works are the living reality of being anew and in relationship in Christ Jesus! 🙂

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      • serventofjesuschrist says:

        It also teaches that human religion is worthless. Religion has become a political entity in the church today governed by what the leadership communicates to its people. A relationship is between two people; that is, why I like a relationship over religion any day of the week.

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        I get your point mate, but as long as the true biblical word for “Religion” is in the NT, we will simply have to give it it’s proper place and definition! I read my Greek NT every A.M. as an old school faithful Anglican rector! (It is part of one’s Anglican ordination promise!)

        Btw, see Martin Buber’s classic I/Thou relationship. And Buber was of course a Hasidic Jew.

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        ‘Here is Buber’s I/Thou Premise:

        Buber’s main proposition is that we may address existence in two ways:

        The attitude of the “I” towards an “It”, towards an object that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience.
        The attitude of the “I” towards “Thou”, in a relationship in which the other is not separated by discrete bounds.

        One of the major themes of the book is that human life finds its meaningfulness in relationships. In Buber’s view, all of our relationships bring us ultimately into relationship with God, who is the Eternal Thou.

        Buber explains that humans are defined by two word pairs: I-It and I-Thou.

        The “It” of I-It refers to the world of experience and sensation. I-It describes entities as discrete objects drawn from a defined set (e.g., he, she or any other objective entity defined by what makes it measurably different from other entities). It can be said that “I” have as many distinct and different relationships with each “It” as there are “It”s in one’s life. Fundamentally, “It” refers to the world as we experience it.

        By contrast, the word pair I-Thou describes the world of relations. This is the “I” that does not objectify any “It” but rather acknowledges a living relationship. I-Thou relationships are sustained in the spirit and mind of an “I” for however long the feeling or idea of relationship is the dominant mode of perception. A person sitting next to a complete stranger on a park bench may enter into an “I-Thou” relationship with the stranger merely by beginning to think positively about people in general. The stranger is a person as well, and gets instantaneously drawn into a mental or spiritual relationship with the person whose positive thoughts necessarily include the stranger as a member of the set of persons about whom positive thoughts are directed. It is not necessary for the stranger to have any idea that he is being drawn into an “I-Thou” relationship for such a relationship to arise. But what is crucial to understand is the word pair “I-Thou” can refer to a relationship with a tree, the sky, or the park bench itself as much as it can refer to the relationship between two individuals. The essential character of “I-Thou” is the abandonment of the world of sensation, the melting of the between, so that the relationship with another “I” is foremost.

        Buber’s two notions of “I” require attachment of the word “I” to a word partner. The splitting into the individual terms “I” and “it” and “thou” is only for the purposes of analysis. Despite the separation of “I” from the “It” and “Thou” in this very sentence describing the relationship, there is to Buber’s mind either an I-Thou or an I-It relationship. Every sentence that a person uses with “I” refers to the two pairs: “I-Thou” and “I-It”, and likewise “I” is implicit in every sentence with “Thou” or “It”. Each It is bounded by others and It can only exist through this attachment because for every object there is another object. Thou on the other hand, has no limitations. When “Thou” is spoken, the speaker has no thing (has nothing), hence, Thou is abstract; yet the speaker “takes his stand in relation”.

        What does it mean to experience the world? One goes around the world extracting knowledge from the world in experiences betokened by “He”, “She”, and “It”. One also has I-Thou relationships. Experience is all physical, but these relationships involve a great deal of spirituality. The twofold nature of the world means that our being in the world has two aspects: the aspect of experience, which is perceived as I-It, and the aspect of relation, which is perceived as I-Thou.’

        *Truth is always Truth, even in the philosophical mode, as God is the author and maker of His creation and moral ethics. Again, true Christianity is forever Judeo-Christian!

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      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert says:

        It is not easy today being a Judeo-Christian “theolog” (theologian), and here really every Christian pastor-teacher is called to follow and BE! But Rock-on we must for the People of God, however imperfect our ministry is, but Jesus Christ IS LORD! 🙂

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