Fulton County Gospel News

a work of the mammoth spring church of christ


One path is not enough

By Marvin L. Weir

Perhaps you have been hiking in mountainous area or in a thick forest and strayed farther than you realized from your base camp. The time arrives when every rock and tree begins to look like every other rock and tree. You have changed direction several times because of choosing in between numerous paths, but you are not concerned because you feel that any direction you travel will carry you safely to your camp. You have chosen not to consult the compass in your possession because it always points to the same direction. The last thing you want to be accused of is being "narrow-minded" in finding your way back to camp.

Isn't it amazing that what would be labeled as foolishness at best or stupidity at worst in the world is considered normal in the religious realm? The "pick and choose" whatever appeals to one at a given time "religion" simply demonstrates that one has absolutely no faith whatsoever in God or His Word.

When one spurns the divine pattern and swings open the door to apostasy, there is no end to the depth to which he will plunge. The Saturday, March 13, 2004 Dallas Morning News carried an article by Susan Hogan/Albach titled "Pick and Choose" that well demonstrates where apostasy leads. The article says that:

[A] woman by the name of Renee Shepley-Ragan gave up on following a single religion and now embraces "Christian, Hindu, Unitarian, and more . . . She calls her path 'interfaith spirituality,' an identification she shares with a small but emerging group of Americans. They customize their spirituality by picking and choosing practices from the world's religions - often without any particular attachment to doctrine (emphasis MLW).
A lot of people are finding that one religion doesn't have all the answers for them. Shepley-Ragan said, "We help people discover their spirituality but we don't tell them what it should look like."
They downplay the differences among religions to focus on common threads such as love and mercy. It's inconsequential to them, for example , that Christians teach that Jesus was the Messiah, Muslims say he was a prophet and Jews says he was neither.
"People accuse us of practicing smorgasbord spirituality," said the Rev. Susanna Stefanachi Macomb, an interfaith minister in New York, who has embraced the contemplative, mystical practices of Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sufism at different points. "They mean it to be derogatory, but there is truth to that. We're seeking the essence of religion, which is spirituality - not dogmas. That is where you feel God" (emph. MLW).

Many practitioners say they became disillusioned with their childhood faith and spent years bouncing from religion to religion searching for a better fit. "Then it's like a light bulb goes on and you realize you don't need to choose," Ms. Shepley- Ragan said. "There's no contradiction because the goal of all religions is basically the same" - only the paths are different (emph MLW).

People need to "wake up" before it is too late! First, isn't it incredible how wise people will act in regards to their physical safety while acting so very foolish in regards to their spiritual safety? Folks understand the danger of being physical lost in the mountains or forest, but never comprehend the danger of being lost spiritually.

Second, one cannot "pick and "choose" from the "world religions" and please God. Moses reminded the children of Israel, "Ye shall observe to do therefore as Jehovah your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which Jehovah your God has commanded you, that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye possess" (Deuteronomy 5:32-33). In the New Testament Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). John records that one must not add to nor take away from the Word of God (Revelation 22:18-19).

Third, how can one discover his spirituality if he doesn't know what it looks like? The Bible describes in detail how one can live a righteous life.

Fourth, The Bible doesn't tell one to "feel God," but if does demand that we "obey Him" (Hebrews 5:8-9). Jesus says, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). Again the Lord says, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in Heaven " (Matthew 7:21).

Fifth, there is a tremendous contradiction in one claiming to follow God while practicing the religion that he feels most comfortable with. There are no "paths" to Heaven - only the strait and narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14).



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