Sunday, October 16, 2011

Religion vs Spirituality


This was a letter to an author of some articles on the church I had read. I agreed with him on a lot of points, it was just his definition of religion I was wondering about. Here is our correspondence: 

Ken,

I really enjoy your articles. I have a couple comments though. I totally understand your hatred towards the institutions of christianity. But by equating the institutions with religion and then hating on religion I feel is a bit misdirected. Websters definition of religion from back in 1828 was:

1. Religion, in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of his will to man, in man's obligation to obey his commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man's accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. It therefore comprehends theology, as a system of doctrines or principles, as well as practical piety; for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion.

The book of James defines pure religion as: Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. -Ja 1:27

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Selection and Rejection of Early Religious Writings

Tim Wellings NT Canon - Armstrong
#554 9/29/11
Forgotten Scriptures – Questions Needing Answers

In his book, Forgotten Scriptures: The Selection and Rejection of Early Religious Writings, Lee Martin McDonald offers a very different perspective from traditional conservatives such as B.B. Warfield and the recently reviewed Brooke Wescott. However, though McDonald brings up similar questions to those of the Jesus Seminar, his conclusions would not be considered liberal, placing him between the two extremes that dominate the New Testament canon debate. McDonald’s thesis is stated on page 193: “The Scriptures that informed the faith of early Judaism (200 BCE to 200 CE), and early Christianity (first-third centuries CE) are not exactly the same as the Scriptures that inform the faith of Jews and Christians today.” McDonald offers convincing evidence to prove this statement from the fluidity of the Old Testament canon at the time of Jesus to the fluidity of the New Testament throughout most of the history of the church.