"What Would You Rather Have; A Religion Or A Relationship?"
I received an email earlier this week that I wanted to address but couldn’t because of my work schedule being ramped up to get ready for a couple of weeks out of town. A friend of mine has written me that she has been visiting a very traditional congregation that uses the historic liturgy and sings the time tested hymnody sung by conservative congregations across denominational lines to supplement her Sunday morning worship at a congregation that has departed from, by all outward appearances, looking like a historic Lutheran church that your grandparents would recognize and be pleased with.
Let’s look at two of the more bizarre practices before I ask my questions:
The pastor has rewrote the ecumenical creeds for the congregation to
The people get to stand up at a point in the worship service and say
like the good folks at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church: “The bible I hold is God's word from cover to cover. It makes me wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking,and training me how to live. I need to read listen and learn from God's word every day. This is most certainly true.”
If I had to endure either of these situations this I’d be looking for a way to supplement my Sunday worship just like my friend has choosen to do. I’ve wrote several posts detailing why I can’t return a home church because the pastor not only rewrote the creeds to the point I wasn’t even sure he was talking about a confession of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but he rewrote the Lord’s Prayer in such a way that even the Dali Lama could agreed with the text. Nope, ain’t gonna go back there…
So, since it’s become public knowledge that my friend is supplementing her Sunday morning worship with visits to a more traditional worship setting she has been under a good deal of pressure to stop visiting the more traditional congregation and “looking deeper into liturgy”. She writes:
“Pastor doesn’t' really approve of what we are doing and has already challenged us with questions like "what would you rather have; a religion or a relationship."”
What? Religion or a relationship? Is that what a liturgical, traditional congregation is, just a religion? Really?
Now, I promised some folks that since I’m a bit busy I’d give my readers the opportunity to address the question; “what would you rather have; a religion or a relationship?” I said I’d put this post up a few days ago but I wanted to get my friends permission to include actual quotes from her email.
So… for the discussion please address the dichotomy of religion versus relationships in the context of visiting or being a member of a traditional, liturgical congregation (and is that a false dichotomy?) and what does Scripture say concerning religion versus relationship when speaking of the faithful gathering to worship the crucified and risen Lord.
Discuss. What say you?