I am sure that each of you have been asked this question many times. I know that my answer to this question always shocks the questioner. I simply answer that I do not believe in religion. Well, you can imagine the look on their faces. First, what is religion? According to Readers Digest, it is: “A conscientious devotion to a particular doctrine or scrupulous devotion to a certain practice.” For example, Communism, Islam, and Buddhism are all devoted to belief. There are many religions that do not believe in Jesus Christ
First, let me explain why I do not believe in religion. Religion is the greatest curse to ma kind. Religion do not unite us, but divide us against each other. The first death on earth was caused over religious differences; Cain slew his brother Able. Every ware that has been fought, has always been over religious differences. In fact, the war over terrorism that we are now in, is over religious difference.
The next question is, What denomination are you? My answer is shocking, saying that I am a Christian. Which brings another question, What denomination do you recommend? Can you imagine their look again as I say, None!How many times have I heard them reply, What! You are a minister and do not believe in any denomination?
Now allow me to clear this all up, and tell you why. Every religious denomination was started by some man, and was based upon his own religious beliefs, whether he be Buddha, Allah, Joseph Smith, or who ever.
The next question is: Then, what do you recommend? My answer is to go to our Bible and find out what those in the beginning church is not hard to establish. After his resurrection, in his last meeting with his disciple, Jesus said the church would begin in Jerusalem, (Luke 24:47-49). It was in this same chapter that he gave them the commandment, saying: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. “He commands them to tarry there, “until ye be endued with power from on to tarry there, “until he be endued with power from on high.” The disciple clearly understood and went to Jerusalem, and waited for the promise of the Holy Ghost, the Comforte3r, that Jesus had promised.
The New Testament church began in Acts chapter two. It is here that we find what the true plan of salvation experience is: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” There was no doubt t them that they were now saved. They did not get religion, they got an experience in God!
When we read the next ten chapter of Acts, we find clear examples that this is exactly how they were all saved, every time. There is not one exception! When we read this, we find that the Apostles preached and baptized every time the exact words Jesus commanded them in their last meeting with him. They baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and all spoke with tongues. Because some wanted to offer a different way, Paul said: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Gal. 1:6) The word 'pervert' means to change the gospel.
What do I recommend? I recommend that we forget about religion and denominations, and go to our Bibles and see how they all were saved, how they were baptized, and what kind of experienced they received. Then find a church that preaches the same doctrine as Jesus commanded and as the Apostles preached. Then be sure that you receive the same experience as they received.
No, you do not have to belong to church where I pastor to be saved, Jesus did say: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God is not meant and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17).
Let us not forget that it was religion that nailed Jesus to the cross, so let us all forget about religion and go back to the truth as taught in our Bibles, and become one family in God. We must make our calling and election sure and beyond any doubt. May God bless us that we all come into the unity of the truth.