People of faith are here to change the culture, not reflect it

Published 5:00am Sunday, June 2, 2013

By Dr. James Troglen
I shouldn’t look at Facebook — really I shouldn’t. Much of what I read is great, funny and even touching; but some just makes me shake my head in wonder.
I guess the main problem is I have too many friends on Facebook and thus too many postings to read. A few months ago, I read one from someone that I don’t even know why they asked to be a Facebook friend. They will probably quickly “unfriend” me when they read this article.
The individual was ranting about “organized religion.” The comments were along the lines of “I hate organized religion,” “organized religion is ancient and not in tune with today’s culture and values.” They went further to say they were through with “organized religion” – all they needed was Jesus.
Hey, I agree all you really need is Jesus. He is the source of everything and the end of everything. We don’t disagree there. But the rants got to me.
I have a few questions. First, what do you mean by “organized religion?” Are you speaking of the many denominations, which with all their faults start hospitals, orphanages, universities, feed the hungry, reach out to the homeless etc.? Sure, the various denominations have failings, but why do you want to throw the baby out with the bath water?
The truth is “organized religion” is not bad, truly it isn’t. It gives structure to our faith, helps us focus on issues and ministry and provides an arena for discussion and dissemination of the truth of God’s word.
Churches provide a place for like-minded believers to gather, fellowship and draw strength from one another. Just because they have been around a long time, or have a name, does not mean they are wrong.
It is true denominations are not in tune with the current culture. By the way, what tune are they playing this year? People of faith are here to change the culture not reflect it.
It is true churches today do not reflect the values of the world, perhaps that is because the world is in error or can’t decide themselves what they believe. I guess we need to listen to Angelina Jolie or Brett ­Favre to know what is right or wrong.
The real truth is every time I read someone ranting on the issue of “organized religion,” it is because their little world was rattled, someone shook their chain and upset them. Most of the time it is because they did not like the sermon/message and disagree with what the pastor/preacher said.
Most “organized religion” haters don’t want to confuse the reality of revelation with their little pet theory or spiritual view (note I did not say Biblical). They want to believe what they want and since they cannot find anyone or any group willing to let them believe things, without correction, contrary to scripture, they attack the structure. That is a lot easier than trying to defend error.
Wow, am I ranting or what! Secondly, organized religion haters may have been hurt by the imperfections of the church and so are disenchanted with the church.
Well, there are things we can do better and we can be petty, but so can you. Why not join us and help us be better than what we are. There’s plenty of room for everyone, even you.
People, who do not like established churches, “organized religion” etc., really want to do what they want, believe what they want and never be held accountable for it. They often want to be their own authority on spiritual issues.
Yes, “organized religion,” the churches of our Lord, are a bit narrow minded – it seems we believe what the Bible says and that it is the judge of our lives and beliefs not ourselves.
Wow! Get me some Tylenol. I’m glad I got that off my chest.

Dr. James Troglen is pastor of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka.

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