Thursday, August 24, 2006
Religion at its worst
One day the Apostle John reported to Jesus that they had caught a person not of their group casting out demons in Jesus’ name (Mark 9:38-41). They made him stop. After all, he had not been approved by the board. The Apostles were unsure of where this outsider stood on certain issues. Perhaps the demon-caster’s denominational affiliation was of greater importance than freeing people from Satanic domination
Jesus was not pleased. “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:38-40 NIV)
Religion is at its worst when Christians attack one another. How can one say vile things about another believer and be called a Christian?
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?” (James 3:10-11 NKJV)
As a free and faithful Baptist who believes in the autonomy of the local church and soul competency, I cannot be drawn into a fight unless I choose to participate. I have been criticized and shunned but have refused to strike back. I have, instead, chosen to reach out to those around me who are in need and without the hope that Jesus offers. It has satisfied my soul and brings me peace in the midst of the storm. I will work with any group that will help me exercise the Great Commission and the Great Commandment and expand the Kingdom of God (even if they baptize infants or have a different interpretation of whatever is the current hot button issue).
Institutions and buildings will come and go. I will invest my life in people and the word of God. I will pray for my enemies and turn the other cheek to written assaults that are often displays of spiritual immaturity. I am too busy to debate side issues.