Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Revelation or Regulation

Why would anyone go visit a church?  What would bring someone to a place like that?

The youth are perhaps more likely to get it and be changed.
I sometimes think maybe people visit churches because they want to get things right.  They want to learn how to have a good heart, find a connection with God and walk with Him and his family instead of on their own, alone.

The church can help with that.  Encounters with God in worship and in real truth are stunning, heart and mind changing.  The church can hinder that, too, if it begins with rules and conformance and requirements.  That's just religion.

Revelatory or Regulatory?  What kind of help do folks need?

The job of the church is perhaps most importantly to encourage and facilitate a relationship with God our Father.  Unveiling the truths and goodness of God and introducing folks to Him, that's the good the church can do.

Muslim and Christian with their
respective symbols, united.
Christian protesters shield praying Muslims in Nigeria.
Muslims similarly stand guard around Christian Churches.

When a religious institution goes beyond facilitating that relationship and begins focusing primarily on rules, it is no longer a church, really, it's more like a private club.  And it's an exclusive 'us and them' sort of arrangement.  "All of us are going to heaven, but you guys are on the outside because you don't believe the right way or you don't worship the right way.  Or you sprinkled instead of dunking."

(Just last week, a sweet lady told us, she had visited a church in her new city.  During prayer with her eyes closed, she had lifted her hands ... and the ushers escorted her out.  She wept.)

Folks come needing revelation not regulation.  They come with wondering hearts, hungry to know Him truly.  They don't need to be told what to believe or how to behave.  They need to find and know the truth for themselves, to discover what they can believe genuinely and follow truly, not just parroting someone's formula.

Kampala, Uganda - The young people understand ...
The 'real thing' is much bigger than Sunday morning church attendance, by the way.  Perhaps culturally a bit volatile as well.


Sometimes faith turns into religion. Devotion becomes obligation, and suddenly you feel like you’re just going through the motions. Know what I mean?