My friend sent me an email today and said he would see me at church. Please understand, I am not the Word Police. Sometimes when I write posts like this, people become overly cautious about their language, particularly when talking to me. Don’t do that.
However, part of my friend’s on-going problems are tied to his worldview-shaping belief system that you can actually go to church. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking and understanding alters how he thinks about and relates to God, himself, and others.
His poor theological thinking does not happen in a vacuum. It has tentacles that reach and twist into his life in very practical, conflicting, and confusing ways. His going to church theology is most certainly not the core issue regarding his situational difficulties, but it is a red flag that gives clues to a world of skewed thinking. In addition to going to church he also haschurch clothes to wear to church. While inside his church he worships in a sanctuary, an Old Testament truth that has become New Testament baggage.
He Has Dichotomized Thinking Which Morphs Into a Contrived Doctrine of Separation
His legalistic-shaping worldview has created two worlds instead of one. There is the world where the religious people hang and there is the world where the non-religious people hang and the twain shall never meet. And yes, he can identify the two worlds of people by external observations, which I find quite miraculous. It takes a depth of insight that I do not possess in order to judge people externally and conclude the content and quality of their devotion or walk with God.
He can do this because he has a worldview-shaping belief that dichotomizes the secular and the sacred. You’ll see none of this in the N. T. Actually, you’ll see the Savior and others often deconstructing this religious schema. The Savior was not tripped up by the religious things he saw and heard.
This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. -The Savior, Mt. 15:8-11
A Model for Inconsistency
- My friend acts one way at church and another way in the home
- My friend dresses one way at church and another way the rest of the week
- My friend shows more respect for others while at church, but not so much during the week
- My friend thinks more about God while at church, but not as much during the week
- My friend is tempted to judge others by making external “religious” observations
- My friend has a compartmentalized “God” who receives degrees of adoration depending on the day of the week
- My friend is a legalist