Okay, I'm trying to work this one out - plenty of contemporary Christians would not call themselves religious, yet we read many of the fathers, the Christians of old would call themselves religious.I am currently reading 'Institutes of the Christian Religion' by Calvin. One comment by a Christian was that they did not like the title, merely because of the word 'religion'.I pointed out that religion was required in the new testament:"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." (James 1:27 NASB)So I am asking, what has changed? Why do many Christians not call themselves religious any more, or why they do not consider themselves followers of religion?I understand that many would see it as the stiff, formalised religion of the Pharisees, so then why does James reference pure and undefiled religion?I would appreciate the views of my brothers and sisters here.
richrock: I think it is simply a matter of definitions. The term has come to mean different things to different people. When James says that pure religion and undefiled is to..., I look at the context and realize that James is talking about the fact that our following of Christ should produce in us the fruit of our religion. But when a man says, "It is not about religion, but about relationship," I know that man is referring to the outward actions that masquerade as pure religion but are really just man's works. Definitions become loaded with meaning based upon the person and upon his or her background and teaching. So we often find ourselves speaking a different language, though we are using the same words. Maybe a bit like what would happen if I used some very typical American idioms in Great Britain. Some of my sayings would have VERY different meaning to you I am sure.
I would not be surprised if you read a book by John Gresham Machen called, "Christianity and Liberalism". If you havent, it's very good.Why does the modern contemporary church say and do a lot of things differently? Look at the use of that word alone, "contemporary".
Hi richrock, I think that the reason some christians are against being identified as religious is because the word often gives the impression of a closed minded uncompromising zealot that lacks the Love and Compassion of The new testament Christ. The word religious often gives many the impression of one whom Has a strict Adherence and zeal for the rules, laws, doctrines and theolgies of a belief system but whom has zero tolarance,love, respect or compassion for any whom may even just slightly disagree with them, Often times the overtly religious historicaly as with today has had a murderous form of hate toward any whom would oppose there doctrines or traditions. Of such a case is not what we see portrayed as the Spirit of the New Testament.James 1:27 Is James defining what pure and undefiled religion is, in contrast to the rest of the worlds religion.We all do need the Religion of James 1:27
Words evolve and change. The word "Religious" and "Religion" was at one time used to distinguish between one who had God and one who didn't.Today the word(s) Religion and Religious have become repulsive to the one seeking truth because the meaning has changed to mean someone who is stiff necked, stubborn, unteachable, set in their ways, a hindrance to the Holy Ghost.I use this example often, the word "Gay" no longer means the colourful word it represents. It was a wonderful word to use to shorten something that was considered exciting, vibrant. But now, when we hear that word, our minds think of homosexuals. So that word can no longer be used in every day vernacular.
Gay still means happy, and religious still means one who has God and lives out his faith.The problem is when the church goes with the flow of culture. Today's culture views religious as someone who is a zealot and lacks compassion, well we don't want to be seen that way so we adopt their view of it. It's sad when the culture can have that kind of influence on the church.
Does this mean that one can be religiously gay?