"A guide to
accessing the life of God
Without being sidetracked by religious tradition."
By Charles Pinkney
guidebook on accessing the life of God
God, can and does find His way into the heart of people within churches who worship in more formal, liturgical ways. To the extent that the Word is taught and valued and the true worship of God is encouraged there is fruitfulness. The principle emphasis of these writings is that there is more, more, always more to be known and to be experienced. And these experiences are entirely consistent with apostolic teachings. The more freedom and liberty is given to the Holy Spirit, the more spiritual growth will be "experienced" when those believers gather together.
I will focus upon the negative attributes of the Religious paradigm in these writings which impact faith and spiritual growth in negative ways. There are doctrines and practices that can actually keep individuals from ever experiencing the Kingdom of God or the greatest gift of God, salvation.
never intended to become a religion, - - -
I hope the topics which follow will shed light upon things which most of us have seen or done which constitute "religion "or religious practices. Religion in its traditional forms, takes away from the fullness of the life of God, the "living way" by giving itself over to externals, superficial formalities and habitual practices modeled from human headship. Not only denominational churches but virtually all institutions of "Christian" worship have become encumbered with some form of religious traditionalism which begins to depart from the simplicity and authenticity of apostolic roots.
God, nevertheless, can and does find His way into the churches and into formalized systems of worship on occasion and into some churches more than others.
All of us whether we are "religious" or not need to evaluate our beliefs and especially our sense of really knowing God. If we are to be children of God we need more than just an assent to an idea, we need to experience. I believe that I can say with assurance that God does not favor religious institutions or traditions which substitute worldliness for spiritual fellowship or the liberating truth of God's Word for a human understanding.
is Man's Idea of What God
Church People versus The People of GodIf religion were only pure and good and brought forth good fruits such as personal joy, and liberty, there would be no need for the Lord to issue an exhortation to religious people.
When Jesus (Jeshua of Nazareth) came to minister to the people of Israel in his generation he came with signs and manifestation of God's favor and He came with the impeccable credentials of prophetic fulfillment. Jesus brought a message that was Spiritual because God is Spirit. A spiritual message is always contradictory to worldly forms of worship or to tradition for its own sake. The Kingdom of God promotes spiritual relationships, sharing, and community within the body. The agency of the Spiritual life is partaking in God's "oneness."
The Messenger of the Kingdom of God, comes as Jesus came with a spiritual mission and a spiritual message. Jesus was a good man, a man sent from God, a man who was more than a man, more than an anointed prophet, he was the very Son of the Living God! Yes, he was all of these things, but in the face of this he was not received, he was not believed, he was called an imposter, the religious authorities confronted him and resisted his mission, his ministry and his message. "He came unto his own and his own did not receive him, but to as many that received him He gave the power to become the sons of God." (John 1:11,12.)
There is a force of
resistance other than just contrary human wills, working to hinder the
making of this unified family a reality. The force is not only the human
resistance itself but a spiritual force which fuels this human resistance
to God's divine purpose. God has taken this force of resistance into
account and given us instruction how to persevere in the its face.
Jesus says, "Take my yoke upon your shoulders" Why? So that we can do what? So we can be more burdened? No. Because he intends to become the burden bearer on our behalf. "You will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11: 29:30)
Religion has among
its attributes the tendency to establish duties or rules of conduct
which are somehow supposed to please God.
Works and obligations are not a factor in bringing us to God nor in determining if we receive any of the kindnesses which God has promised us in His word. We can't earn any gift. Once we go to Him to become forgiven and to be cleansed, our most fruitful Spiritual efforts would best be applied to thanksgiving and gratitude for His mercies.
The works of faith are a reality but they remain less our work than His work. It is not God's intention for us to do His work with our limited abilities. Once we become a child of God and establish a life of intimacy and familiarity with our Spiritual Source and Supply we are transformed sufficiently to be able to offer the kind of witness to the world which can be of value to God.
Christians are always trying to do things for God. It is He who wishes to do things for us. (a foreign notion to religious thinking.) It is Christ in us who is to do the work though he chooses to work through us.
Jesus says, "Take
my yoke upon your shoulders" --so that we can do what, be burdened?
No. Because he intends to become the burden bearer. "You will find
rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Jesus declares.
(Matthew 11: 29:30)