Presentation on theme: "“I’m Spiritual but (just) not Religious”? I’ve heard a phrase many times over the last several years, but with increasing frequency lately. The more often."— Presentation transcript:
“I’m Spiritual but (just) not Religious”? I’ve heard a phrase many times over the last several years, but with increasing frequency lately. The more often I hear it, the more my skin tends to crawl. Have you heard… I’m sure the people who say this intend many differing meanings with those words. (e.g. Acts 17:22) And I’m equally sure that virtually none of those meanings would be pleasing to God. Let’s explore a little further…
With “I’m Spiritual just not Religious” some mean: That they’re adherents to some form of mysticism, or meditation & relaxation therapies: The purpose for which is some measure of mental enlightenment; And/or, physical improvements to their health and well-being. All of which is fine, except for a couple of things: 1.Even the adherents view the benefits as only for “here and now,” not the “hereafter” (they likely deny the God of the Bible); and, 2.“bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1Tim.4:7-8
With “I’m Spiritual just not Religious” some mean: That they believe in “Mother Nature / Earth” and seek to “commune with nature” through environmentalism. To them, “God,” as such, consists in the beauties of the natural world; And is worshipped through respect for and protection of the physical world and its inhabitants (especially the furry, feathered, or “intelligent” animals). All of which is fine, except for a couple of things: 1.While God certainly should be discerned through creation, Rom.1:18-20; 2.To worship the creation rather than the Creator is indeed foolish, and ultimately results in blatant idolatry, with all its incumbent depravities, Rom.1:21-32. Formerly, “The United Church of Religious Science” Center for Spiritual Living, Dallas TX
With “I’m Spiritual just not Religious” some mean: That they believe in some form of higher power or consciousness, but: One that takes different forms for different cultures or individuals; and Who really only expects us to be “good” people; does not have any specific or codified requirements- or that such likewise exists in many forms, and obviously does not have any “one” group of organized adherents. All of which is fine, except for a couple of things: 1.The Bible universally declares that there is but “one God,” Isa.45:5-6; 2.And that He is the same for everyone, Deut.4:39; Acts 17:24-31.
Why has “I’m Spiritual just not Religious” become so common/popular? The truth, at least in my mind, is that “religion” itself is to blame: Through its obvious excesses; And its notable abuses. Aside from these examples, note the biblical indictment of: 1.Religious people denying the power of the gospel by not living exemplary lives, 2Tim.3:2-5; Jas.1:26; 2.Religious people thwarting belief in Christ by through “religious diversity,” denominationalism, and division, John 17:20-23.
So can one legitimately be “Spiritual just not Religious”? Restated, the real question is: Did God command “religious” service, or just “spiritual” dedication? Note an example from the previous covenant, Heb.9:1-7; “OK, so previously God required ‘religious service,’ but hasn’t that covenant been abrogated?” Yes, Heb.8:13 > 9:8-12. “So are we still required to participate in ‘religion’- you know, ‘church’?” Let’s examine that question a little further…
“Are we still required to participate in ‘religion’- you know, ‘church’?” Consider the following passages written to one “church”: The notion that Christians would “come together as a church” was expected by God, 1Cor.11:18; and other aspects of “church’ activity/worship were predicated upon it; The Lord’s Supper is to be taken as a collective communing with Christ, 1Cor.11:20-32 >33; The church assembled for periods of worship and edification, 1Cor.14:26; A collection for financial needs was to be taken, 1Cor.16:1-2; Mutual concern & care was given through the body (church), 1Cor.12:25-27; And there were various appointed offices in the church to provide for the spiritual needs and benefit of the members, 1Cor.12:28. Why, if we can be “spiritual” but not “religious”?
What’s the bottom line to all of this? Most people who want to, or claim to be, “spiritual but not religious” desire to feel good about themselves without having to submit to the authority of God’s Word, or the necessary constraints of organized religion, 2Thess.3:6,14. Such is either laziness or rebellion. While “organized religion” bears a responsibility for this wrong attitude through its excesses and abuses, we cannot “throw the baby out with the bathwater!” God designed and created the local church to provide necessary mutual benefits and activities to help each of us on our spiritual journey to heaven, Acts 20:27-28. Unless I change my mind, we’ll talk more about local church membership this evening.