Today, focus is upon features that identify assemblies and congregations of the Lord as “religious” or not.  For many, church exists in the modern world as another commercial business and secular institution having no mystical, or spirit aspect.  In addition to differences in manpower, division of labor, and use of specific clerical roles (e.g., bishops, deacons, elders, lay officials, pastors, priests, popes), groups of Christian believers may differ in terms of bylaws, doctrine, policies, practices, organizational units, and institutional structure (ecclesia, parishes, presbytery, etc.).  While the holy writings proclaim “one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one God and Father of all,” many feel the legitimacy of their own faith community is shown by its accomplishment of preordained “good works.”  Others, who are often labeled as “fanatics”, insist divine approval of a body is demonstrated only by appearance among and within its members of the Holy Spirit (also called the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Prophecy, the Spirit of Truth).  Even so, all the disciples and followers of Jesus have been given the same admonition against becoming complacent, self-centered, and vain (empty; lacking divine substance, therefore, fruitless, pointless, puffed up, unproductive) along with exhortations to remain industrious and vigilant:  James 1:   26-27, King James Version (KJV):  26 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.  27 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.   A fighter at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Luke” (Level 6 with 15,180 points, a member since February 06, 2014) posted the following:

 

Why do some Christians say their church is “not religious”?

I’ve heard them say God hates religion and that all the other churches are religious but not their one.

What does that even mean? How can a church not be religious?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient:  but rather giving of thanks.  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words:  for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord:  walk as children of light:  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)  Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  (Ephesians 5:  1-10, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Be Ye Therefore Perfect (07/22/2016); Unto The Pure (11/15/2015); Religion And Moral Progress? (10/23/2015); Many Forms of Christianity? (04/30/2015); Faith not Politics? (12/02/2014); Ye Are Not In The Flesh (12/03/2014); Sprinkled, Immersed, Named? (02/01/2014); Forgiveness Through GOD? (02/02/2014); Before Getting Baptized? (11/28/2013); The Rich in Divine Relationship? (11/29/2013)

 

“Luke”, Christian belief for those who acknowledge the new creation through Jesus Christ centers upon displaying the character, nature, and substance of divinity; carrying out sacred operations to fulfill divine law, proclamation, promise and prophecy; performing unselfish service; providing spiritual comfort to others; and sharing sacred knowledge (we say, preaching the Gospel).  Exchange and interaction among such believers is very different from that among those who are merely continuing as caretakers of formal and inherited sacred practices (e.g., assembly, ceremonies, customs, rites, rituals, traditions); those seeking personal advancement, prosperity, and self-improvement; those pursuing a lifestyle promoted as “acceptable” and “decent”; and those maintaining a social center for families, and those in need assistance programs.  There is a broad range of attitudes, conditions and works that qualify to be spoken of as the “religion” God hates.  Included are coercion; hypocrisy (acting; performing in a way to misdirect commitment and understanding); idol worship; merchandising; oppression; persecution; and vanity (lacking spirit content from the makeup of GOD).  Consider again how this is stated in the Bible:

(1.)  Isaiah 1:  10-14, King James Version (KJV):  10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.  11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD:  I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.  12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?  13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.  14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth:  they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

(2.)  Hosea 6:  6, KJV:  6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

(3.)  John 2:  13-16, KJV:  13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:  15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;  16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

There is far more to be said, carefully examined, and spiritually understood.  (For example, (4.)  Ephesians 5:  25-27, KJV:  25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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