I read this recent blog from my buddies at the “American Missionary” site and thought I’d repost it for your edification. The theme goes along with my recent post on “Spiritual House Cleaning” and I think it’s an excellent thought provoking article. Let me know what you think…
“ARE YOU TOO UNRELIGIOUS?
It happened with the protestant reformation of the 1500 – 1600’s, with the Pentecostal revival at the turn of last century, the healing revival of the 1940’s – 50’s, the charismatic renewal of the 60’s – 70’s, the Word of Faith movement and the prosperity message 80’s – 90’s, the now it’s happened to the last major movement- the move to become “unreligious”. All of these movements started great! All of them did incredible amounts of good! And all of them went extreme and veered many Christians into the heretical danger zone.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM IT:
“Christianity is not about religion, it’s about relationship!”
It started great! Originally, it was intended to inspire and challenge us to true relationship with Christ, to be loosed from the bonds of legalism and condemnation, and to love God more than the traditions of men. We’ve learned that you don’t have to dress up to go to church, that you don’t need to go to church to be the church, that it’s okay to be real and to confess our temptations and sins to each other, to see God not as a distant deity but as a loving Father, and that a lot of our rules weren’t really necessary.
Somehow, though, in the mad dash away from the rigid rules of hair-do’s and hair-don’ts and required Sunday night services, too many lost their way. In fact, what was the best movement of the past 20 years has morphed into THE MOST damaging and dangerous movement of the last decade. The EXTREMISM we find now at the tail-end of the “I’m Not Religious” Movement has the potential of shipwrecking more Christians than legalism ever did.
IN THE NAME OF BEING UNRELIGIOUS, consider:
• Many, instead of growing in the freedom of God’s love, have grown “free” from God’s standards. They claim to be enjoying God as they are enjoying everything but God.
• Some have said it’s not important how intimate or obedient one is to Jesus — as long as one just believes…Have we forgotten that even the demons believe, and tremble? Our hearts should be burning with love for Him, and that is the great motivation to do what is right.
• “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” became “See a little evil, hear a little evil, and speak a little evil.’ Does the content of our TiVos, IPods, and regular thought life match up to Philippians 4:8?
• This tidal wave of alcohol now washing over the American church threatens to put us into the liquor-addicted stupor of European Christianity. We’ve lived in Europe for about five years – trust us when we say no good thing can come from this toxic trend!
• Prayer meetings are replaced with movie and game nights (neither is a sin, but let’s remember that without prayer nothing of eternal consequence will happen!), and secular anthems replace even modest worship choruses as we seek to become more like the world to win the world. This is the dumbest, most backwards, and counter-productive approach to evangelism and church. Jesus in all His purity is beautiful! When we live unashamedly as his Bride, we reflect His glory and give the world something to desire.
QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:
We should look around and ask ourselves: have we REALLY replaced religion with relationship? (Are you closer to God NOW unreligious, than you were BEFORE when you were religious?) Or, have we fooled ourselves by replacing one dead belief system with another? Have we traded in legalism for loose, lazy, Lordless living? Is worldliness really better than churchiness?
Are we any closer to Jesus now? Any more passionate about Him now? Any more excited and ready and looking for people to talk to about Him? Not out of duty, but out of delight!
WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO GET THERE
If you answered, “Yes!” to these questions, praise God! But, if you answered, “No, not really,” it’s a good idea to get alone with God, your Bible, and ask Him to bring you back to spiritual healthiness. The process might take a while, but it will be worth it.
Maybe it will mean a temporary separation from some friends while you take time to sort things out. Maybe it will just mean an active, renewed response to God’s pursuit of you. Maybe, as the Lord leads, you’ll need to do some housecleaning. (We have!) But whatever it takes, don’t get under condemnation, just go for it!
Either way, let’s learn from the extremes of past movements, and let’s determine to not mask compromise with the “I’m not religious” excuse. God rewards a heart that runs hard after Him, and delights in those who rest securely in His love.
Of course, in all this, there is no condemnation, only encouragement to move onward and upward! We love you all, and we are in this together!”