Wednesday, April 4, 2012
However, is being a part of a religion--or being a "religious" person--a bad thing? With the negative connotation that the words "religion" and "religious" have been assigned by many in the Church today, you would think so! But let's take a look at what the Bible actually says on the matter.
"Religion" in and of itself is not condemned in the Bible, only how it is practiced. No one has yet been able to show me verses to the contrary. I don't typically like to use multiple different Bible translations, but I have done that here because some use the word "religion" or "religious" where others don't.
Let's start with the KJV:
Acts 13:43 says, "Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God."
The word "religious" seems to have a positive meaning in that verse.
James 1:26-27 says, "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
These verses indicate that religion is a good thing, but that you are deceiving yourself by thinking you are religious if you don't do the things listed here.
Colossians 2:23 (ESV) says, "These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh."
While it seems negative in regard to "religion", it is really only critical of "self-made" religion.
1 Timothy 5:4 (Holman) says, "But if any widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to practice their religion toward their own family first and to repay their parents, for this pleases God."
This verse actually says religion *should* be practiced.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (Holman) says, "1 But know this: difficult times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the form of religion but denying its power. Avoid these people!"
Having religion wasn't the sin; denying its power was. Also, when Paul told the men of Athens he could see that they were very religious, was he insulting them?
It seems that where "religion" or "religious" is mentioned in the Bible, it is either positive or neutral. The only time it has a negative connotation is in reference to "bad" religion. I haven't seen any place where religion itself is condemned.
Whether or not one wants to admit it, based on what we read in Scripture Christianity IS a religion, but it is a religion based on a relationship--a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Finally, let's look at one more reference, this time not from the Bible, but from a source that is respected by most conservative Christians, Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language:
RELIGION, n. relij'on. [L. religio, from religo, to bind anew; re and ligo, to bind. This word seems originally to have signified an oath or vow to the gods, or the obligation of such an oath or vow, which was held very sacred by the Romans.]
1. Religion, in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of his will to man, in man's obligation to obey his commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man's accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. It therefore comprehends theology, as a system of doctrines or principles, as well as practical piety; for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion.
2. Religion, as distinct from theology, is godliness or real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men, in obedience to divine command, or from love to God and his law. James 1.
3. Religion, as distinct from virtue, or morality, consists in the performance of the duties we owe directly to God, from a principle of obedience to his will. Hence we often speak of religion and virtue, as different branches of one system, or the duties of the first and second tables of the law.
Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.
4. Any system of faith and worship. In this sense, religion comprehends the belief and worship of pagans and Mohammedans, as well as of christians; any religion consisting in the belief of a superior power or powers governing the world, and in the worship of such power or powers. Thus we speak of the religion of the Turks, of the Hindoos, of the Indians, &c. as well as of the christian religion. We speak of false religion, as well as of true religion.
5. The rites of religion; in the plural.
So, it would appear that "religion" does not deserve the bad rap it has been getting, and being "religious" is not necessarily a bad thing!
Friday, March 9, 2012
We now live in a culture where sinful and perverse behavior is considered normal and God's word is considered "controversial".
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20 (ESV)
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
If you haven't watched the video of Chuck Hurley's meeting with the Des Moines Register's editorial board, I encourage you to do so. I know it is long, but it is a great demonstration of where both sides are on this issue, the arguments being used, and the rebuttals being offered.
(An employee could claim that having such a person as mentioned above in the workplace was interfering with his performance.)
(So employers are not only responsible for themselves and their employees, but also their customers and suppliers?)
Sometimes. Iowa law provides that these protections do not apply to religious institutions with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose. Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law's provisions, e.g. a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Senator Matt McCoy blasts the IFPC.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
This doesn't really have much to do with anything else on this blog, but I found it on YouTube and it is just so cute that I had to share it!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
But it doesn't stop there. O'Reilly presses him further, saying, "But most of us--and I believe God was involved in creation too--believe that there was an evolutionary process." To this, Huckabee replied, "There well could have been." Unbelievable! So now the Baptist minster believes in evolution, after being one of three candidates (Tom Tancredo and Sam Brownback being the other two) who raised his hand at a previous debate when the question was asked, "Is there anyone on this stage who doesn't believe in evolution?" Huckabee went on to mention Dr. Frances Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, who he identified as an evolutionist and a "very devout evangelical Christian", in an attempt to try to justify his apparent position that evolution and Christianity are not incompatible.
Combine these with his repeated remarks about creation in regard to not knowing how God did it, or how long it took, and I think conservative Christians who support Huckabee would be wise to probe a little deeper. While I understand that there are different views among Christians concerning creation, you would think a Baptist minister would at least have a position.
O'Reilly continues pressing Huckabee on his faith, asking, "Do you believe that people who don't believe Jesus is God can get to Heaven?" Huckabee: "I believe Jesus is the way to Heaven. That's what the Scripture teaches. If someone else has a different belief and they figure out how to get there apart from that, that's the only way I know how to get there." That's the only way he knows how to get there? Does that mean he thinks there might be other ways? How about saying there is only one way to get to Heaven, period?
O'Reilly: "OK, so you say that you're secure in your own beliefs, but you're not telling anybody else that they are or are not going to Heaven?" Huckabee: "That's not my job. My job is to make sure I make it on my convictions." Again I ask, really? I thought it was our job as followers of Christ to preach the Gospel and make disciples, which would entail letting people know that Jesus is the only way, and without Him there is no hope for spending eternity in Heaven.
Toward the end of the interview, Huckabee criticizes people who say they're Christians, but then don't live like it. Maybe he should take the log out of his own eye before trying to find a speck in someone else's!