Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Analyzing The Spiritual But Not Religious Movement

          There is a trend within Christianity where a distinction is made between religion and spirituality. In other words, adherents of this growing movement have pitted the two words against each other. Organized religion altogether has been condemned as being legalism, which gets in the way of people growing in their relationship with the living God. The phrase spiritual but not religious, albeit of uncertain origin, has been used as a label for this contemporary movement relating to self-identity.

          While it is true that Jesus Christ vehemently denounced the outward ceremonial righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, it is a huge mistake to oppose being religious due to having a facile understanding on the nature of faith. True faith involves obeying God on His own terms. He joyfully communes with members of His church through the sharing and living out the gospel. Additionally, the offices of elder and deacon are structurally set up for regulating the moral principles and worship habits of God's people.

          Therefore, Christianity is, in a very real sense, religious according to the purpose and design which God has mandated to maintain His church's spiritual vitality. James, the brother of Jesus, firmly acknowledges the contrast between the dead religion rooted in hypocrisy and the worship that pleases our Creator (James 1:21-27). How we view religion should be determined by the context in which that particular word is used. Religion and spirituality are actually synonymous. If God had a problem with "religion" in and of itself, then why did He give the Jews the Mosaic Law?

          Us placing our trust in the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ alone in no way nullifies our calling to serve God in the manner that He wants us to. God does not only enjoy fellowship with us on an individualized basis, but also with us as a collective body. Spirituality cannot be found within ourselves, as is proposed in Eastern religions. We are fallen creatures. We are not deities. God Himself is the ultimate solution to our problems.

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