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Separation between Secularization (State) and Spirituality (Church)

Written by: on January 25, 2018

 

Reading these three books on Secularity can place the thought in one’s conscience to take a bath. How Christians considered themselves clean because they were washed by the blood of Jesus but misused God’s purpose by disregarding those not of the believers’ family as unclean. The Pharisee’s were known for their righteous ways.  There has been a separation among God’s people as to who is unclean, i.e., lepers, blood issues.

In an interview on his book, How (Not) to be Secular, James Smith stated “Explaining exclusive humanism was the replacement of human desires for religious beliefs.”[1] Erdozain made several references to secular humanism. One unique point was the civil rights movement (moving from Jim Crow laws). In the 60’s, unique individuals went up against the laws of inequality with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking against it behind the pulpit. His response to his accusers “Silence was the greatest secularism of all.” (2, Kindle) The American church did not want to be governed by the government; therefore, the legislation provides a separation of State and Church. Isn’t it ironic that now the Evangelical Christians want to own the government? Now the current America administration permits the Preacher to promote political forums from behind the pulpit. Have they not heard, preachers have been preaching political forums from the pulpit for years under the means of scripture that wisely not direct the congregation to vote for a particular person but wisely does.  Erdozain, reveals Charles Taylor in his book, Secular Age, believes “secularization happens when religious discipline creates a secular order” (4, kindle) I believe we are experiencing this now at our current times.

Erdozain, wrote the “change in belief extends from one’s experience in your ‘religious roots.’ He focused on two points: the positive content of dissent, including conscience and the negative stimulus of dogma, persecution, and theologically induced fear. With Luther, he was trained in the nominalist tradition which emphasized the power and inscrutability of the divine character to a frightening degree. The nominalist God was untethered by human logic, free to do as he wished.” (12, kindle) “Mysticism helped Luther to shift theology form intellect and discourse to heart and experience” (14, kindle) “Luther established a system of “ecclesiastical visitations’ which used secular authority to enforce church attendance.” (31, kindle)  He points out that Luther, “is the prophet of conscience, he stood against papal authority and religious tradition.” (6, kindle) Luther recognized and acknowledged his weaknesses and fear which drew him stronger in faith which ultimately served to subdue the restless conscience.” (11, kindle)  Conscience “describes an aspect of a human being’s self-awareness. It is part of a person’s internal rational capacity and is not, an audience room for the voice of God or of the devil. Conscience is a critical inner awareness that bears witness to the norms and values we recognize and apply. The conscience deals include the values to which we are exposed during life’s journey. The witness of conscience makes its presence known by inducing mental anguish and feelings of guilt when we violate the values we recognize and apply. Conscience also provides a sense of pleasure when we reflect on conformity to our value system.” [2]  One of the criteria for a deacon in the church is, according to Timothy 3:9, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. This scripture expresses that our conscience connects us to our faith. We as Christians should analyze our conscience daily to ensure that we are walking in the ways of God. Apostle Paul says, in Acts 23:1, “earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”

Erdozain discussed “damnable doctrine.” (208, kindle) These doctrines resulted in: people being turned off by a religion (God) that threatens to kill them; Darwin challenging the history of the world described in the Old Testament, and Marx saying “Christian cultures are not Christian enough. Secularization was an accusation before it was an aspiration.” (260, kindle) Erdozain drew attention to Marx’s egalitarian slogan “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!, similarity to a passage in Acts.” (259, kindle)  Acts 2:44-45 says, ”And all those who had believed [a]were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.” His slogan, “the first part of the principle—from each according to their ability—means that all members of society will have the right and the actual opportunity to develop their talents and abilities to the utmost and to use their talents to produce goods and services for the benefit of society. The second part, –each according to his needs–, explains what citizens will receive from society in return for their labor, and that will be nothing less than complete satisfaction of their material and cultural needs.” [3] Today, there are still damnable doctrines converted from traditions. Preachers are weaving their interpretations, taught discernment, traditional beliefs in their sermons, teachings, leadership, and relationships. These past few years God has me on a journey of purging. He is teaching me in discerning his truths from church inherited traditions. The new movement of today’s modern churches is doing just that in some sense. They are moving from church traditions to openness of God’s love and not the damnable doctrine of hell. Some traditional preachers see it as not having a doctrine, but they are so far from the truth and are responding in fear of the unknown. When Jesus spoke to the people, he spoke more on loving one another and the kingdom of heaven.

Are you among the conscience of truth or tradition?

[1] Taylor, Justin. An Interview with James K. A. Smith on How (Not) to be Secular Age and How to Read Charles Taylor, The Gospel Coalition, accessed January 10, 2018, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/an-interview-with-james-k-a-smith-on-how-not-to-be-secular-and-how-to-read-charles-taylor/.

[2] Meadors, Greg T., Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, 1996, accessed 01/24/2018, https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/conscience/.

[3] Pena, David S., You Might Be a Marxist If … You Believe in From Each According to Their Abilities, to Each According to Their Needs, 2011, accessed 01/25/2018, http://www.politicalaffairs.net/you-might-be-a-marxist-if-you-believe-in-from-each-according-to-their-abilities-to-each-according-to-their-needs/.

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

6 responses to “Separation between Secularization (State) and Spirituality (Church)”

  1. Jim Sabella says:

    Lyndia. You state: “He is teaching me in discerning his truths from church inherited traditions. The new movement of today’s modern churches is doing just that in some sense.” Sometimes the traditions of a church, no matter what denomination or non-denomination, have taken the place of the mission of the church. We focus inward instead of outward. In some cases, it can become the church’s immanent framework that holds it back from its mission. Enjoyed your post, Lynda.

  2. Stu Cocanougher says:

    “These past few years God has me on a journey of purging. He is teaching me in discerning his truths from church inherited tradition“

    Lynda, this has been a big theme of the adventure that we have taken since the London Advance.

    God is a personal God. Because of this, God allows us to experience Him in the context of culture, history, and worldview.

    I am sure that your Sunday morning experience is a bit different than mine. There is a cultural element to our worship services that is important. Yet, culture should not overshadow Biblical truth. Ethics, politics, and community relations should stem FROM the gospel (as opposed to scripture being USED to reinforce our cultural beliefs).

  3. Christal Jenkins Tanks says:

    Nice reflections Lynda!

    I find myself somewhere in the middle at times between both truth and tradition. Our faith journey is about allowing the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and transform us not only personally but in communion and fellowship with others. I do believe the danger lies in holding tradition above the truth and not in tandem.

  4. Mary says:

    Lynda, I agree that “We as Christians should analyze our conscience daily to ensure that we are walking in the ways of God.” I am wondering how we do the analysis? I think I am like Christal in that I try to balance truth (God’s Word) with tradition (older and wiser people have said this is how we do it) with God’s Word having the final say.
    It seems like those are starting points. We also can look at what society is doing around us. You touched on that without delving in deeply, but how does the social injustice we see help us to reject the hypocrisy of the current Fundamentalist church and be encouraged to love as Jesus did?
    I also really love the way you get right off the ground, “Reading these three books on Secularity can place the thought in one’s conscience to take a bath.” Preach it, sister!

  5. mm Katy Drage Lines says:

    We talk a lot in our congregation, Lynda, about the necessary tension between tradition and transformation. We need both, but the need to be kept in tension/balance. Thanks for highlighting that!

  6. mm Jennifer Dean-Hill says:

    Thank you, Lynda, for your thoughtful and insightful post. Great statements: “He is teaching me in discerning his truths from church inherited traditions.” Way to trust you and God’s spirit within you.
    I couldn’t agree more: “Some traditional preachers see it as not having a doctrine, but they are so far from the truth and are responding in fear of the unknown.” What would a church look like that responds purposely in love with one another instead of to the fear of the unknown? And trusts how God is leading people to be apart of the body and empowers them instead of being afraid of what they are offering and demotivates them? I hope your leaders listen to your voice, truth and mighty spirit. They could really benefit from your voice and leadership.
    Being apart of a body is challenging when trust and love are replaced by mistrust and fear. It leads to a controlling environment versus a connecting environment.

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