Religion

How Religion Makes Us Stupid (And Jesus Makes Us Wise)

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Religion is an endless car race and I have a trackside seat. I smell the fumes of religious ambition, and I hear the sickening crunch of condemnation. The religious race goes on and on, and I get to watch people slamming into the hard wall of rules and unforgiveness. I don’t particularly want to watch this, but [...]

Why is the Narrow Gate Hard to Enter?

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What is the narrow gate? You probably know the answer to this question – the narrow gate is Jesus – but what does it mean to find the narrow gate, and why did Jesus say many would try to enter and fail? Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will [...]

How to Cultivate Hope

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Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Pet 3:15) We Christians ought to be a hope-filled people but a mixed-up gospel has made us a wishful people. We ought to be strong in the faith but religion has weakened us with disappointment. If [...]

Seven Ways Religion Damages Hope

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You can learn a lot about hope from watching the movies. When I was a kid I saw The Neverending Story, and for some reason one scene has endured in my memory. It’s the scene where Atreyu is confronted by Gmork, the wolf-like servant of the Nothing. Atreyu asks Gmork why he is helping the Nothing destroy the [...]

10 Ways Religion is Bad for You

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Every story needs a villain and the villain I most often employ is religion. Grace is good, but religion is bad. Grace promotes trust in God, but religion is all about trusting self. Grace says, “God helps you,” but religion says, “God helps those who help themselves.” Some have said that I’m giving [...]

Pure Religion (James 1:27)

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Religion is bad. By definition, religion is a kind of bondage, which means there’s no such thing as good religion. But what about James who said this: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the [...]

Job’s Grace Encounter

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Tradition has taught that Job endured unimaginable suffering with poise and noble patience. He was a giant of the faith who never said anything wrong, and he is a great example for us all to follow. Baloney. As we have seen in this series, Job was, at times, a self-righteous whiner who complained to high heaven. [...]

Is Satan God’s Sheepdog?

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The Book of Job is one of the most amazing stories in the Bible, but we read it wrong two ways. First, we elevate Job into some kind of faith hero. Second, we think the devil is a sheepdog sent by the Lord to do his dirty work. This crazy notion is based on the following passage: Then the Lord said to Satan, [...]

Religious Gangsters (Matthew 7:21-23)

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A scripture that worries some Christians, but shouldn’t, is this one: Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your [...]

The 9 Lies of Religion

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“I came into the world to testify to the truth,” said Jesus. “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). These are strong words. If Jesus put them on his Facebook page he’d get roasted. “Jesus, how dare you claim to have the inside track on truth? Why must we take sides? How [...]

5 Signs of Nose-Punching Preachers

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A recent article in Charisma News warns about the dangers of ear-tickling preachers and their deceptive message. An ear-tickler is someone who tells you what you want to hear. In contrast, a nose-puncher is one who tells you what he wants you to hear, and typically does so with all the fervor of an Old Testament [...]

How to Recognize a Mixed-Grace Gospel

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In churches every week, you will hear one of two messages. You will either hear a mixed-grace gospel or you will hear the hyper-grace gospel. Do you know how to tell the difference? A mixed-grace gospel combines the unmerited favor of God with the merited wage of human-effort. “You are saved by grace but you [...]