Law And Gospel

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Creeds are the red tape of God. I suggest you cut through them. Basic religion starts with the relationship between you and Christ. It is the basic relationship you start with and that is ever with you. You can try to avoid a direct relationship with God by becoming preoccupied with a file of old secondary side issues and the historical footnotes of church bureaucracies. These church bureaucracies were often running away from God into over-intellectualization as fast as possible. Thus churches have produced tons of words. If you will recall Jesus didnít write at all except something one time scratched in the sand. So keep the  relationship with God loving, simple, forthright and direct as possible.

Donít begin your religious faith with elaborate creeds, intricate theologies and taking egotistical church bureaucracies too seriously. They tend to intolerance and other sins. The creeds, confessions and  theologies were often written by church bureaucrats who had heard about God but never experienced Him. They were trying to get away from God by doing scholarly but secondary over-intellectualizing about  Christ as fast as they could. Their attitude seems to have been: Well, after weíve explained all sacred  knowledge, we can put it away and get on with life.

The later churches after the New Testament and early churches got their priorities out of order. They turned Western religion into a curious mixture of being over intellectualized and being under civilized. They over intellectualized nearly everything into creeds and theologies. (But Some Things are not easily verbalized. Some of it slipped into cant and near nonsense. Thatís one reason you need a relationship with God. Words slip and slop.) Then some believers tried to burn, hate or hassle those who dared disagree with the creeds and theologies that the other churches so carefully were forever writing.

Those burning, hating or hassling were definitely acting in an under civilized way about the dismissal of piles of belief that were over intellectualized and often wordy at best. Such is much of the passive-  aggressive history of Western religion: over intellectualizing met by an under civilized attitude and resentment on both sides. Arguing and hating about creeds and theology followed.

You want to avoid repeating the above mistake in history. If you are a beginning Christian, later on when you are more spiritually sophisticated, you may do an autopsy on the error of being under civilized about presentations of faith that have been over intellectualized. But remember the Son of God came as a blue collar carpenter speaking plainly. The relationships He preached were simple interior relationships with God that all are capable of realizing. The facts of the Gospel preached in the Acts of the Apostles were simple and understandable.

The church is not a gnosticism, a closed circle, for a schooled elite looking for complexity. The Gospel as delivered by the Carpenter that God chose as Son and Spokesman is simple, understandable and points to a  higher spiritual quality of life open to everyone choosing to try to attain it. The true Word came not with complexity but simple parables. If a simple person canít understand it, then it does not ring true spiritually, but more likely to be ecclesiastical red tape. The churches are full of it. Donít let their red tape and  bureaucracy keep you from God.

In the meantime I suggest you keep your relationship with God simple as a carpenter would. We as humans are not supposed to know it all. Our minds arenít clever enough. Nor are we supposed to hold it all. Our minds arenít big enough. We are not saved through knowing. We are saved through believing and loving. If God does not expect us to know it all, He does expect us to love others because we first loved Him. So donít be side tracked in religion by creeds, theology and busy church bureaucracies. The first duty of a Christian is to keep up, to sustain, a simple loving relationship with God that makes you usually incapable of hating, hassling or killing anyone over anything. In that is the Law and the Gospel. 

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.