Volume 31 Number 13

Are You Religious?

Maybe it sounds a little foolish to write an article defending the Christian religion, since it needs no defense. But it is recently, and perhaps has always been, an easy target for ridicule. Stand up for spiritual ideas and you will be attacked as bigoted. The anti-religious chorus seems to be gaining steam. Last month I made mention of Mr. Ventura’s disparaging remarks towards “organized religion.” A week or so later, I was reading an interview with a cutting edge computer guru who remarked, “Religious people really scare me.” I thought to myself, what is so scary about religion?

To make matters worse, so-called Christians have adopted similar language with statements like, “I don’t want religion, I want a relationship.” These people should know that God has given us His true religion. When people say, “I believe in God, but I don’t want any of that religion”, they mean they don’t want anything that requires commitment, nothing that ties them down, and nothing that is judgmental.

Not all religion is right. Religion is mentioned in the Bible in both positive and negative terms. The Apostle Paul praised the Athenians as being “very religious” (Acts 17:22). He then showed them their religious error and pointed them unto true religion. The term can refer to a variety of beliefs, and each has its own practices. The Apostle Paul, referring to his past, said he lived according to the “strictest sect of our religion” (Acts 26:5; cf. Acts 25:19). There is nothing inherently wrong or distasteful with the term “religion.” That isn’t to say that all religions are equal. Unless God is confused, or unless he is purposely causing confusion, the source of all religion cannot be God.

The problem may be that the present age is full of self-made religion. Self-made religion serves the function of making people feel spiritual and good. It also permits them to [instead of God] determine the boundaries or parameters by which they live. The Apostle Paul makes mention of certain practices that have “the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion, …but are of no value against fleshly indulgence” (Col 2:23). The consequences of self-made religion are all about us. It is why America can be religious as it sinks ever deeper into a moral abyss. In self-made religion, man becomes the focus, rather than God. When man starts making religion to appease the conscience, without regard for the will of God, the result is devastating.

Church growth “experts” counsel church leaders to orchestrate a worship that is aesthetically and emotionally appealing. More times than not, these efforts are misguided attempts to fill the pews. Can’t talk about sin, can’t judge, can’t be negative, but DO talk about love; this is the common mantra. Paul’s words ring true; this religion is, “of no value against fleshly indulgences.” It is pure and undefiled religion that changes lives.

Some reading this may wish to believe that the present day criticism is really only against the false religion that I make mention of and that I am drawing undue attention to this matter. It is true that some religions deserve the scrutiny, but the anti-religious crowd is also speaking out against all religion that teaches the biblical model on marriage, on sanctity of life issues, on personal responsibility and sexual immorality issues. Like it or not, Jesus’ church is the target of the criticism when it stands up for truth.

Christians want the religion of the Bible. Religion that originates from God is without contradictions, but it is also “pure and undefiled.” When you practice true religion it shows in your life (James 1:26). The religion that is “pure and undefiled” involves in good deeds and the practice of self-control; namely, keeping oneself unstained from the world. Religion that doesn’t change your life is worthless (James 1:26). The self-made religion that is so prominent in modern America may make people feel good, but it doesn’t make them holy. Religion is given a bad name by the hypocrites who preach such religion.

True religion recognizes the absolute authority of the Creator. He alone can decide how to communicate his will unto mankind. His message has come to us through His son, Jesus Christ. He completely reveals the will and character of God through his life, words, and resurrection. His religion is about salvation, and it demands faith and obedience. When Jesus talks, men listen and obey (John 14:15; 15:14). Spiritual men take nothing for granted in their approach to God. They assume no liberties that are not specified in the New Testament; for, that would be presumptuous. The religion of the New Testament is the perfect blueprint to follow. Stray from the blueprint, and a brand new religion is in the making.

We can’t stop the world from talking, but Believers in Christ had best not back away from the “pure and undefiled religion” of the Bible. Show me a man who is Born Again by the grace of God through faith, and I will show you a religious man. It can’t be any other way. And if a man isn’t religious, then he doesn’t know a thing about God.

Dan Mayfield
Owatonna, Minnesota

Prayer Requests

We extend our sympathy to Harriet Colton, who’s sister Sharon passed away this week. Please remember Harriet and her family in your prayers.

Joe Longfellow’s mother, Pauline Longfellow, is in the hospital in Fort Dodge. Please keep Pauline and the Longfellows in your prayers.

Please continue to pray for:

  • Preacher search, for God’s guidance and wisdom
  • Linda Kaiser requests prayers for health concerns
  • Beverly Duberry, recovering hip surgery
  • Phyllis Mort, upon the passing of her sister, Betty Demi
  • Orrin Nearhoof’s uncle, Fred Markley, seriously ill in Pennsylvania
  • Wilson “Ab” Abernathy, of Mason City, with chronic health problems
  • Pam Dorrell’s mother recovering from a fall
  • Janna Miller’s uncle Norm has to multiple serious health problems
  • Taylor Gordon, having repeated ear infections
  • Susan Mort waiting for knee surgery
  • Greta & Phil Blankenship, trying to sell their house in Wichita
  • Glenn Stevens, seeing a cardiologist for chest pains and shortness of breath
  • Phyllis Mort’s brother, Don Demi, recovering from esophageal surgery for cancer
  • Steve South, job hunting
  • Bailey Bunting in Wichita, Kansas, who has many tumors in her small body
  • Marge Stevens’ sister, Dorothy Talbert, has macular degeneration
  • Randy Lange’s father has been having serious heart problems
  • Expecting mothers: Angie Charlier, Heather Siegle, Art & Nancy Wallis’ daughter, Dawn White
  • Millie Buxton whose eyesight has been deteriorating
  • Andy Arnett in Afghanistan, Kenneth Bedgood in the middle east
  • Karen Belk’s sister, Donna Butcher, and brother, Darwin Belk
  • Louise Gordon; Karen Carico; Karen Hardy; Bob Kunce, Kim Greer’s father; Jean Cook, Archie’s mother; Melissa Hosey, the Mort’s friend who all have cancer
  • Bertha Jones who are shut in
  • John Singer and his health concerns
  • Kimball Matkins, who has ALS

News & Notes

We have a preaching candidate, Jeremy Folding, who will be visiting Grandview on April 4-6th! Recordings are available in the sound room, as well as on grandviewchurchofchrist.org. Jeremy, his wife Sunny and their two children age 9 and 5 will be visiting with us. Please be praying about this visit, and save time to get to know them better during the events of that weekend.

The Mexico Mission Team returned home on Saturday. Praise God for their safe return, and for the work that they did in Mexico.

Fifth Sunday Singing: Sunday evening, March 30th, a fifth Sunday in this month, will be set aside as an opportunity for us to sing together and to learn some new songs.

There is a sign-up list on the bulletin board to help provide meals for Chad & Deb Kuper this week. Please check with Deb to learn what Chad can eat during his recuperation.

There will be a baby shower for Angie Charlier on Saturday, May 31st at 10:30 brunch at the Walker’s house.

Central Iowa Missions: This week, Art Wallis and Joe Longfellow will speak in the morning and evening respectively. Next week, Art Wallis will speak in the morning, and we will have a 5th Sunday Singing in the evening.

TV · Radio · Web

In SEARCH of the Lord’s Way
TV: 8:00 AM Sundays on KDSM
Web: www.searchtv.org

Gospel Broadcasting Network
Web: www.gbntv.org

International Gospel Hour
Radio: 8:30 pm Sundays, 1520 AM
Web: www.gospelhour.net

Daily Bible programming
TV: 11 am daily, Dish channel 9407
A.J. Clark from Freed-Hardeman

Grandview Church of Christ
Web: grandviewchurchofchrist.org

AM Sermon

Art Wallis, “Forgive To Be Forgiven
Reading: Matthew 6:12-15

PM Sermon

Fifth Sunday Singing

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Mar 30 Stacy Van Egdom
Apr 3 Glenn & Marge Stevens
Apr 4 Alan & Debra Augspurger
Apr 5 Nancy Anderson

For the Record

Last Week
5 Week Avg
2008 YTD Avg
2007 YTD Avg

Calendar of Events (See also the Iowa Churches of Christ Calendar of Events)

5-6 Sat-Sun Jeremy & Sunny Folding visiting preaching candidate
6-9 Sun-Wed Gospel Meeting in Davis City, Fred Rhodes speaking on “The Church”
11-13 Fri-Sun Lectureship on “The Elders among Us”
13 Sunday Potluck after morning worship
20 Sunday Singing at Karen Acres, 2 pm

4 Sun Shower for Heather Siegle @ Sparks
4 Sun Potluck after evening worship
30-31 Fri-Sat Davis City Youth Rally: “Growing Up In The Church”
31 Sat Baby Shower for Angie Charlier, 10:30 am at the Walker’s house

1 Sun Potluck after morning worship
22-25 Sun-Wed Grandview VBS

End of this issue.