November 26, 2014

bible study imageSubject: Religion and church

Golden Text: I Timothy 1:5 ESV*

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Isaiah 26:1-7, 11-12

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation
as walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
For he has humbled
the inhabitants of the height,
the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.”

The path of the righteous is level;
you make level the way of the righteous.

11 O Lord, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.
12 O Lord, you will ordain peace for us,
for you have indeed done for us all our works.

From 21st Century Science and Health*

We are secured by God, Spirit, and by nothing else. God’s being is infinity, freedom, balance, and boundless happiness. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”[1] Like the archpriests of long ago, we are free “to enter the Most Holy Place”[2]—the realm of God.

As the true knowledge of God becomes evident, the outdated concept of God as a mighty hero, lord, or king, will continue to vanish. Creeds and rituals still need to wash their hands of religious lore.

God is indivisible. A part of God could not enter us; neither could God’s inclusiveness be reflected by a single person. If God was divisible, God would be manifestly finite, would lose the deific character, and would then become less than God. Allness is the measure of the infinite and nothing less can express God.

Matthew 15: 1-3, 10-11, 21-28

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

From 21st Century Science and Health

The arrogance of being a church official is the ruler of this world. Arrogance has nothing in Christ. Humility, honesty, and charity have divine authority.

Default thinking assumes that all revelation must come from a scholarly or ecclesiastical lineage, like kings crowned from a royal dynasty. Those assumptions disallow inspired understanding and the demonstration of God’s healing power. For this Principle there is no ecclesiastical monopoly, no human lineage of teachers, no successor. The priest is the spiritualized person. Immortal rulings are crowned.

Worshippers more interested in religious ceremonies than in the principles behind the religion, will believe that a ritual, person, place, or thing is necessary for the salvation of their soul. Doctors and pharmacists who believe drugs have power will think their prescription will save a life. The belief that ceremonies will save the soul is a delusion. The belief that drugs will save a life is a medical mistake.

In his book, Healing and Christianity, Morton Kelsey presents a history of healing in the Christian church. Kelsey then points out this spiritual healing is often overlooked, because the connection between religion and healing is difficult to explain. Students of theology and philosophy may even criticize religious leaders who heal through Christ, Truth, in order to cover up their own lack of healing ability. Kelsey states, “There are some who, on the side, poke fun at the theological vagaries of Mary Baker Eddy.”[3] A person who understands divine Science can heal the sick via divine Principle, and this practical proof is the only feasible evidence that one does understand this Science well enough to pass judgment on it. The theology of divine Science, including Christian healing, is consistent. In this volume there are no contradictory statements apparent to those who understand its propositions.

Surely we need to do more than preserve unreliable and useless dogmas, derived from religious traditions and stamped with human approval or authorization.

Acts 12: 1, 5-19

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church.

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

From 21st Century Science and Health

While respecting all that is good in the Church or out of it, one’s dedication to Christ is more on the ground of demonstration than of profession. In conscience, we can’t stay in a mindset we have outgrown.

The healing Truth and spiritual idea of being are often disregarded at the pulpit, over the air, or through the internet. The curative mission (presenting the Savior in a clearer light than mere words), can’t be omitted from our spiritual education, even if it is ruled out of the church or temple.

The powers of this world will react and the old-guard will try to stop truth and make it submit to their human standards and systems. Science, not distracted by threats or assaults, continues to progress. There is always some chaos; however a mobilization to truth’s standard is inevitable.

If religious people accept church salaries and build churches, yet turn away the poor and stranger, they are shutting the door on progress. Let the story of Jesus’ birth in a manger, and death on a cross, deflate that arrogance and human egotism. Gratification of the physical senses will numb the right hand and cause the left to let go of its grasp on the divine.

The major obstacle in conveying the teachings of divine Science accurately to human thought is that English, like all other languages, is inadequate to express spiritual concepts and intents. We have to use incomplete terms and symbols in dealing with spiritual ideas.

Reformation and regeneration come with spiritual understanding. Voluminous regurgitations lack the ability to improve. Wordy prayers, superstition, and dogma interrupt the communications of Love, and disguise religion in human forms. Whatever defaces worship is an obstacle to spiritual progress and keeps us from demonstrating our power over error.

Church should be made “a house of prayer for all nations,”[4] where humility and divine Science are welcome.

*The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Text from 21st Century Science and Health can’t be reproduced in part or as a whole without the written permission of Healing Science Today

[1] II Cor. 3:17

[2] Heb. 10:19

[3] Kelsey, Morton T. Healing and Christianity. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

[4] Isa. 56:7; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46

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