Religious Action

Religion is often a substitute for action. Believers know they should be doing something. Believers hear that they are to love people, but that’s so stinking hard. Instead, believers settle for going to church and going through motions. It’s easier to sing, take communion, even teach Sunday School than it is to love.

Since the believer showed up to church God will ease up on them, they won’t feel so guilty, in fact, they’ll feel downright holy. Turns out, though, that all they did was appease their conscience and grow in their strength to do what is “good” (Colossians 2:23). God has little of nothing to do with it.

Not only does God not fit into this religion, this religion produces no fruit. It has no benefit to the one doing it nor to anyone else.

True religion is made up of action that benefits others. It is action that changes the life of the one partaking in it. Religion often substitutes for action when in reality, religion is action.

Dunk ‘Em And Bunk ‘Em

Jordanian tourism is picking up, especially at the site of Jesus’ baptism. About 100,000 people visited the site last year and so far this year 60,000 have visited.

Trying to figure out why the site of Jesus’ baptism is becoming more popular is hard to tell. One theory posits that the Southern Baptists, in an effort to increase baptisms, has sent their pastors to the original site to learn how it’s done.

SBC’ers don’t say that baptism is necessary for salvation, but you probably aren’t saved if you aren’t baptized. If you happen to be baptized where Jesus was, you’re even more saved.

This theory of a Southern Baptist connection is highly suspect. It could have more to do with all of Benny Hinn’s guys over there gathering “holy water” from the site to give away in little glass bottles on necklaces, 24-karat gold, for a minimum donation of $50.

Either way, Jordan is cashing in big time. Wal-Mart plans to move in next week.

Atheist Wears Fraudulent Suits

Luigi Cascioli, the guy who tried to sue a Catholic priest over whether Jesus existed or not, has been fined. The $1,900 fine is the maximum a person can get for the charge of bringing a fraudulent suit.

He refuses to pay it, however, claiming that it is “an abuse of authority against every right of intellectual expression and liberty.”

Luigi seems like a troubled man. Something must be happening in his life that scares him. Perhaps being 73 has something to do with it. You know those old people. Senility does strange things.

America Aint Chosen

Several days ago, Purgatorio had a post on patriotic bulletin covers churches could use for the 4th. Several of them disturbed me.

Many of them include Psalm 33:12, at least the first part of it. All of Psalm 33:12 says “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

Is America God’s inheritance? I sure hope not. This was a promise for Israel. Much of OT Law was about how Israel was to run their nation. NT Gospel is about individuals, whether Jew or Gentile, and had little, if anything, to do with running a nation.

If any nation followed NT principles they would be wiped out in about 4 minutes. Turn the other cheek, put others above your own needs, give away money, etc. If you did those things, the NT says you’ll get persecution, not blessing.

The Bible has to be handled carefully. Applying promises for Israel to America is ignorant. It has to be kept in context. Being a Christian and being an American are not the same thing.

What To Do With Heathens

About 3 and a half years ago I began preaching through the Old Testament. God has made it pretty clear to His people that He doesn’t want them to act like the others. He wants Israel to destroy their enemies, not intermarry, keep separate from the heathen.

After much struggle, Israel is finally at peace and are able to build a temple. It was very odd to me that Solomon asked foreigners, from Tyre, to send building materials and help. He asked foreigners to build God’s house.

Isn’t that weird? It is, but it also makes sense. The cedars of Lebanon were perfect for building big houses. The people who lived by those trees knew how to cut wood better than anyone else. Solomon got the best materials and the best help to build God’s house.

Believers are now called God’s temple yet our response to the heathen is to stay away from them, judge them and certainly have nothing to do with them. Yet is this the consistent application of Scripture? Paul used heathen types to further his cause including Agrippa and a Roman centurion.

Perhaps the Body of Christ could get more use out of them heathens. Makes you wonder.

Life And Holiness

I enjoy reading Thomas Merton from time to time. He’s Catholic, so I disagree with many of his beliefs, but he has a knack for saying things very well. A true student of human nature and Christ.

Life and Holiness is a short book and easy to read. It’s not his best book, No Man is an Island is his best, but he still had some great chapters and, as always, great paragraphs. His best chapter was Ideas and Reality where he talked about whether the Christian ideals were realistic.

Several chapters I thought were off-base. He got into social aspects and how Christians need to prevent nuclear armament and poverty. In those chapters, Bible verses disappeared and he began quoting popes.

All in all this was an OK book. The 15 great sentences he has in there are more than enough to make me glad I read it.

Christian Science Struggles

Christian Science is neither Christian nor science: discuss. It is also not Scientology. Tom Cruise does not follow Mary Baker Eddy. Eddy was a whacko. Like many whackos, she got involved in religious leadership.

I attended a Christian Science church once to see what it was like. It was very dry. It was filled with old people, one of whom was in a wheelchair. Christian Science tries to deny pain, if you have enough faith you will get better.

Eddy is dead. Many others are dead and now, the CS church is just about dead. Their struggles are, in part, due to medicine. “It was developed as a viable, spiritual alternative to medicine when medicine had very little to offer people.” Today, science offers a treatment for just about anything, so discarding medicine “seems insane, if not impossible.”

It seemed pretty insane back in the day too. CS has been cutting jobs and selling real estate to help in their struggle. You will know them by their fruit. They are known.

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