Disclaimer: My views in this series of articles around the controversies or organised religion seek to shed light on the issues that I have seen, heard about or experienced in my 29 year relationship with a variety of traditional and modern churches in Africa and the Western world. These are not the view of the church I currently attend and I have no formal qualification that makes me an authority. That however probably makes me the best person to talk about the issues as its the 'congregation members' many a time are the ones who are on the receiving end of the negative results of organised religion, so here goes!
Oh and please feel free to comment and set me straight if I am wrong or support me if you agree or just share a different take on the issue at hand.
The cost of organised religion
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Ephesians 2 vs.9
Remember the 'pass this on to 10 people and return it to me if I am your friend and your wish will come true' emails? Well it is with great sadness that I can confidently say that that insanity has infiltrated the church and now its emails that say things like, 'send to 20 people for a blessing to be bestowed upon you' or 'if you love Jesus / if you are not ashamed of being a Christian you will forward this email to a zillion people'...yes I said it, insanity! Absolute madness! There is no biblical foundation for such threats, yes threats that if you do not perform some act then somehow you will miss out on the blessings and favour of God! Outrageous I say and with good reason, its not biblical or true!
The bible says that there is nothing, not one thing we can do to earn salvation from God. My understanding of salvation is that it is the grace of God, His mercies, His protection, His blessings and a promise of eternal life with Him. God does not ask us to prove our love for Him before He dispenses His gifts nor does He require 'works' in exchange for them. So I am going to go out on a limb here and say that these emails are not only annoying, and untrue, they are also against biblical teaching of how God operates and therefore how we should operate as his ambassadors and children on earth.
Now this is not a lecture from a holier than tho Christian who has arrived anywhere, no. It is more a declaration of independence for all Christians out there who battle with guilt when they don't want to forward these emails. Who don't wholly agree but they got the email form a maturer Christian and feel intimidated to question its merits or simply thing hey these are great it gets us sharing, praying and contacting one another. Whether you like them or not, they are in principle wrong. NO EMAIL FORWARDING will manipulate God into sending you a blessing! IT is either you live right and obey his word and his blessings flow through the normal course of you being his child or you don't and you get zip! God is not a genie and 'Christian email forwarding' is not his lamp whereby by hitting the forward button the lamp is rubbed and Jesus jumps out and gives you your blessing of choice. That is exactly what this system suggests which is wrong and not biblical.
So next time you receive an email that requires you to earn a blessing or earn prayers of the saints
by forwarding, do two things
1. Write respectfully to the person who sent it to you and explain that sending it on is bordering on witchcraft (manipulating people into doing something they would not naturally do, in this case working for the blessing or prayer)
2. Delete it guilt free! (If it is a good message and you want to share it, delete the bottom section that induces people to 'work for a gift from God, and then pass it on with a clear conscious).
|Image courtesy of the internet|