Spiritual But Not Religious

Neil Girrard
( in Adobe/pdf format )

There is a current trend, especially in what older observers call the “emergent” generations (those born after 1980), to prefer to think of oneself as “spiritual but not religious.” This is, in part, a reaction against denominational “church” hierarchies and, in part, an extension of the relativism that has pervaded the thoughts and beliefs of every educated person on the planet. For those who embrace this stance of being spiritual but not religious, there are several factors that one would be wise to consider:

It is in light of these three overarching factors that we need to reconsider exactly what the Bible has to say.

For all these reasons and more, everyone should cast a skeptical eye on those who meet in specialized “church” buildings (a building in which God will never dwell – Acts 17:24 ) and insist that you agree to their peculiar “doctrines” and “theology” (and even tolerance of sin has become a popular “theology” to draw in the unwary) and participate in their religious rituals and practices (even if that means only sitting at the feet of their man or depositing money in their pockets) in order to be “a true Christian.”

Jesus rarely spoke of the ekklesia (English “church” - see Mt. 16:18 , 18:17 for the only three times this Greek word is inserted into this Aramaic-speaking Rabbi’s teachings) – He proclaimed the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is that realm where Christ is actually obeyed – that is, the Spirit of truth is followed and one learns from Him to worship God in spirit and truth. ( Jn. 4:24 ) No men stand over you to command you in what you must do ( Mt. 20:25-26 , 23:8-9 , etc.) and no man stands between you and God to mediate your relationship to Him. ( 1 Tim. 2:5 ) It is the King alone who commands – that is the nature of having a King.

Those who, though apart from the “church” still traffic in error and deception about spiritual matters, are not difficult to recognize. The Spirit of truth will never lead anyone to contradict or change what the Bible truly says. The New Testament is what we could call God’s manifesto, His “public declaration of intentions, motives, or views.” (Webster’s) It is not a manual nor a religious catechism. (“summary of religious doctrine often in the form of questions and answers” – Webster’s) The Spirit of truth will use the words of the Bible, giving spiritual revelation and insight about Christ, bringing all believers who truly follow Him toward the unity of the faith ( Eph. 4:13 ) as they endeavor to preserve the unity of the Spirit. ( Eph. 4:3 ) The entire group of believers – and not an individual, especially not just a “leader” acting alone, and not a portion, not even the majority – will be led by the Spirit of truth to practice unity in order to protect its members from deceptive “wolves” who want to use the words of the Bible to draw followers away from Christ and after themselves.

Jesus said, “If you abide in My word [remain knowledgeable of and obedient to what I teach], you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” ( Jn. 8:31-32 ) And Paul wrote to his younger fellow worker Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved by God [not men], a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” ( 2 Tim. 2:15 ) If we will but follow Him into the new birth He gives ( 1 Pet. 1:23 , Jn. 3:3 , 5 , etc.) and continue on with Him down the path that leads to life ( Mt. 7:14 ), we will know the truth and we will be freed from the prison gates of death and darkness (“Hades”) and we will be His ekklesia, His people called out from the darkness to live in His kingdom of light. ( Mt. 16:18 ) And we will never once be compelled to join any “church” or obey anyone other than Him. ( Acts 5:29 ) We will be partakers of His divine nature. ( 2 Pet. 1:4 ) God is Spirit ( Jn. 4:24 ) and we will never need to practice any religion in order to gain His favor – He has already given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness [God-like-ness]…” ( 2 Pet. 1:3 , see also Eph. 2:8-9 , etc.) Whatever good works He has us do (see Eph. 2:10 ) will simply be the overflow of the “living waters” He causes to flow through us. ( Jn. 7:38 )

Jesus came to bring abundant life ( Jn. 10:10 ) – not abundant religion. The original New Testament good news (gospel) was that men would be given new spiritual life so that they could freely enter into and participate in the wonderfully transcendent love, Spirit and nature of God. Though there is a devil (an evil spiritual being), who is attended by fallen angels and demons (likewise evil spiritual beings), who will one day be justly thrown into an eternal lake of fire ( Rev. 20:10 , Mt. 25:41 ), the good news is that we need no longer follow him, be deceived by (or deceive others with) his lies, nor suffer his eternal fate. It is more than appropriate to be spiritual but not religious. That is only a concise – a bit too concise perhaps but an accurate one nonetheless – of God’s original plan of redemption for humankind.

Let he – or she – who has ears hear!

Related Reading

I’d love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!

Site Panel π Home π MNQs π New Posts π Songs π Books π Series π Articles π PDFs
Scriptures π Greek Dictionary π Top 25 Scriptures π Top 50 Writings π Twisted Scriptures π Bible Bullets
Authors π Subjects π Titles π Links π Donations