The End of Religion

I am still digesting Robert Farrar Capon’s Kingdom, Grace and Judgment. It is an interesting look at the parables of Jesus from an Episcopal priest and comes to some incredible conclusions that you wouldn’t expect. I’ll warn you it isn’t always easy reading, but the gems throughout are incredible. Here’s another:

“Christianity is not a religion’ it is the announcement of the end of religion. Religion consists of all the things (believing, behaving, worshipping, sacrificing) the human race has ever thought it had to do to get right with God. About those things, Christianity has only two comments to make. The first is that none of them ever had the least chance of doing the trick: the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins (see the Epistle of Hebrews) and no effort of ours to keep the law of God can ever succeed (see the Epistle of Romans). The second is that everything religion tried (and failed) to do has been perfectly done, once and for all, by Jesus in his death and resurrection. For Christians, then, the entire religion shop has been closed, boarded up and forgotten. The church is not in the religion business. It never has been and it never will be, in spite of all the ecclesiastical turkeys through two thousand years who have acted as if religion was their stock in trade. The church, instead, is in the Gospel-proclaiming business. It is not here to bring the world the bad news that God will think kindly about us only after we have gone through certain creedal, liturgical, and ethical wickets; it is here to bring the world the Good News that ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.’ It is here, in short, for no religious purpose at all, only to announce the Gospel of free grace.”

Good stuff! I find it fascinating that the needs of institutions and the demands of religion fit together so well. It’s sad really. It so easily takes our passion for Jesus and wears us out in irrelevant activities. I can’t imagine people defending the religion that 21st Century Christianity has become. There is so much more life in simply living alongside other brothers and sisters sharing the life of Jesus.

On an unrelated note, I’ll be in New Mexico this Memorial Weekend hanging out with some brothers and sisters I’ve been corresponding with over the past few years, but haven’t had the chance to meet yet. I’ll be in Albuquerque on Thursday and Friday and in Capitan on Saturday and Sunday. I hope you have a blessed weekend wherever you are.

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6 Comments
  1. Steve May 28, 2005 at 6:21 am

    Awesome truth. Religion stirs up the need of man to "do something for God” in a mysterious veiled cloudy pottage of unclear ingredients and then trips over the real mystery….CHRIST IN US. Sometimes it even seems that the leaders of religion work overtime to water down and even strain out this one all important ingredient, the only one that offers any spiritual life to anyone. As my friend George would say, "there is no bad news in the good news"….to anyone. Even God’s judgments will accomplish only the good & perfect will of the Father, the redemption of all lost sinners.

  2. Steve May 28, 2005 at 9:21 am

    Awesome truth. Religion stirs up the need of man to "do something for God” in a mysterious veiled cloudy pottage of unclear ingredients and then trips over the real mystery….CHRIST IN US. Sometimes it even seems that the leaders of religion work overtime to water down and even strain out this one all important ingredient, the only one that offers any spiritual life to anyone. As my friend George would say, "there is no bad news in the good news"….to anyone. Even God’s judgments will accomplish only the good & perfect will of the Father, the redemption of all lost sinners.

  3. disenchanted June 12, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    I notice that you heavily qoute the bible, how are we to live our lives so ruled by one source of information?

  4. disenchanted June 12, 2005 at 8:59 pm

    I notice that you heavily qoute the bible, how are we to live our lives so ruled by one source of information?

  5. Wayne June 13, 2005 at 8:59 pm

    Dear Disenchanted,

    Please rest assured that I’m not letting my life be ruled by a book, even the Bible. That book has helped me come to know its Author, and as i’ve grown to know both, I am firmly convinced the book rings with the authenticity of his voice.

    But it is the Author I am following, not a book I’m letting rule over rme. I am sorry you don’t know Him yet. But I do have a suggestion for you. Why don’t you ask the God of the Bible some time, if he is the God that book says he is, would he make himself real to you in a way you would undestand. Don’t prejudge what that has to look like, but keep your eyes open in the days following. He’s pretty good at making himself known.

    With love,

    Wayne

  6. Wayne June 13, 2005 at 11:59 pm

    Dear Disenchanted,

    Please rest assured that I’m not letting my life be ruled by a book, even the Bible. That book has helped me come to know its Author, and as i’ve grown to know both, I am firmly convinced the book rings with the authenticity of his voice.

    But it is the Author I am following, not a book I’m letting rule over rme. I am sorry you don’t know Him yet. But I do have a suggestion for you. Why don’t you ask the God of the Bible some time, if he is the God that book says he is, would he make himself real to you in a way you would undestand. Don’t prejudge what that has to look like, but keep your eyes open in the days following. He’s pretty good at making himself known.

    With love,

    Wayne

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