Why You should show Religion the Door and Love Jesus Instead

Greg Holt BODY OF CHRIST, FAMILY, FEATURED ARTICLES 8 Comments

Are you religious? I hope not. Love Jesus not religion. Watch this great video by Jefferson Bethke on religion and Jesus.

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Since 2014, Christian news magazine The Olive Branch Report has featured the insightful writing and reporting of Greg Holt. His writing has been featured on American Prophet, American Clarion, Eagle Rising, Capitol Hill Outsider, Sons of Liberty Media, Rev. Austin Miles, and others. Greg is also the Publisher and Editor of Inspirational Christian Blogs.

Comments 8

  1. Edward A. Hara

    What an absolute load of nonsense, sir! You seem to forget that it is God who established religion. (Heb 8:5; 9:23-24). It is He Who established how He wishes to be worshiped and served.

    Our Lord established baptism as the covenant ritual by which our sins are washed away and we are saved. He established the Eucharist as the means by which our sins are forgiven and we fellowship intimately with Him. He gave us the Psalms to sing to Him in praises of His name. He gave us the Our Father.

    I find this especially funny in that every Fundamentalist I have ever met or every Fundamentalist assembly I went to back when I was Protestant has their own select worship that they have created.

    1. Post
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      πίστις

      NOT nonsense! Stop and think about this a moment. God never established religion! God ordained how He is to be worshiped and served…that is not religion. Religion is all the different denominations in the world. Christ established His Church, not religion. Religion is akin to the Pharisees, not to true worship and service to God. Forget religion and denominations…where is your heart at, whom do you serve? I do not mean you personally Edward, this is just a statement to clarify my point.

      Baptism has nothing to do with being saved and our sins forgiven. That occurs when one asks Jesus for forgiveness of sin and commits their life to Christ. Baptism is the outward expression of the internal transaction between that person and Christ. Baptism is NOT required to be saved! NO where in the Bible is that taught. YES we are commanded to be baptized, but it is not stated that baptism is required to be saved.

      Your last sentence…we are in agreement on that one…that IS religion! If you want to term worshiping God and serving Him as His word says we are to ONLY as religion, I agree with that statement…BUT that is not what most people view as religion!

  2. Edward A. Hara

    Religion is the living out of our beliefs. God established the manner in which we are to do this, first with the Jews and then with the Church as the fulfillment of the Old Covenant.

    Acts 2:38. Baptism washes away sin. That is also what the Church taught from the very beginning. The idea of “making a decision for Jesus” was never found in the first century. You need to study the Early Church Fathers and their writings to see what the first Christian believers believed and practiced. You need to study them to see how they understood the teachings of Christ.

    The idea of an “altar call,” “making a decision for Jesus,” and the “Sinner’s Prayer” were all popularized by C. G. Finney in the mid 1800’s. Prior to his inventing these practices, they did not exist in Christendom.

    Oh, one other thing….baptism replaces circumcision as the ritual by which we “cut covenant” with God and enter into His Kingdom. Salvation is about being baptized into the Kingdom of God and then remaining in that Kingdom. It is not about individualism or a “me and Jesus” mindset. Jesus did not come preaching the Good News as modern day Evangelicals preach it. The Bible says that He preached the Kingdom of God. Interesting. You should ponder that a bit.

    1. Post
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      πίστις

      Edward: You said…”Religion is the living out of our beliefs. God established the manner in which we are to do this, first with the Jews and then with the Church as the fulfillment of the Old Covenant.” On it’s face, this is true. The point I was trying to make to you is this is not seen as religion! Religion is widely seen as the many denominations of the world which are immaterial and mean nothing. It is our relationship with Christ that matters.

      Baptism in no way washes away sin, Jesus does that. Think about this a moment if you will. What do you need in order to be baptized, what is required? First you need to recognize that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness. Second you need to realize that you need Christ to forgive you, you cannot do it for yourself. You cannot be forgiven your sins without confessing them to God. As I said, baptism is simply the outward expression of the inward transaction between you and Christ. This is also why baby baptism accomplishes nothing! A baby cannot acknowledge sin because a baby is not capable of knowing it has sinned. Baptism cannot wash away sin, that is placing ritual above Jesus.

      The other part of the verse you quoted is repentance…that is what is important, turning from our sins. I agree that baptism is important and all Believers should do this when they understand WHAT they are doing and why. Baptism without an understanding of why you are doing it is useless.

      This is a good article on what I am saying here: http://carm.org/is-baptism-necessary-salvation

  3. Edward A. Hara

    Baptism washes away sin because it unites us to Christ and places us in Him. (Rom. 6:3) Thus, by being in Christ, we are no longer in Adam and in a state of separation from God. God has always used the material things of this world to accomplish spiritual realities. Think of the very beginning. How could a material thing like eating of a fruit of a tree accomplish spiritual separation from God and death? Yet it did. In like manner, the material essence of water accomplished Naaman’s healing from leprosy. There are many instances in which we see that the physical accomplishes that which it signifies.

    As for the necessity of knowledge: when you are being baptized, you are making covenant with God and entering into His Kingdom. When the Jews circumcised their babies, it was not necessary that they first make a “decision for Jehovah” based on full knowledge of Him. What better sign of the unlimited mercy and grace of God than of baptizing someone who can only get wet and do no good works at all? Remember, we do not believe that works play a part in salvation, so a baby being baptized, who can do nothing at all, is a perfect sign of the reception of unmerited grace from God.

    Finally, you didn’t answer my question. If what you are saying it is true, then why was this not taught for the first 1500 years of Christianity? There is no record of any such teaching in the Christian faith until the Anabaptists came along in the 16th century? Could you answer that, please?

    You are making an argument from silence, i.e., the silence that babies are not mentioned in the times that we see conversions and baptism taking place in the Scriptures. But the record of the Church in the first century gives us instruction as to how to baptize infant children, therefore, we know that this was the normal practice. The reason is that it is a continuation of circumcision in which infants were entered into the Kingdom. The ideas that you are stating came along much later — 1500 years to be precise.

    1. Post
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      πίστις

      You are again placing ritual and practice over Jesus. Baptism is an important symbol, but nevertheless a symbol. The real washing away of sin occurs because of our repentance of our sins and our faith in the One who forgives, not a mere physical act. If what you say here is true, then an unbaptized baby would wind up in hell…and that simply will not happen. You cannot say that baptism is necessary for salvation but then exempt anyone for any reason. To say that baptism washes away sin is to say that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is not enough to pay for our sins, you are adding a further requirement…baptism. This is simply not so.

      The water that Naaman bathed in accomplished nothing. Rather this was done by God…and it was done because Naaman was obedient! To use this type of logic invalidates Scripture. Think of this…using this same argument, I could say that the walls of Jerico fell because the people marched around them! That is simply not true! God DOES use natural things to accomplish His purposes, but it is God using the natural things to fulfill His purpose. The natural things are not fulfilling or doing anything without the power of God behind them.

      You mention the eating of fruit by Adam and Eve…that had nothing to do with what happened! The real problem there was the fact that they disobeyed God, therefore they sinned against God…their sin accomplished their separation from God, not the actual eating of the fruit.

      As for baptism of infants, you are again citing Church tradition. Many people and many denominations both Catholic and Protestant practice baby baptism. This is Church tradition, not Scripture. Show me one instance of baby baptism in the Word…you will not find one because it is not there. You cannot place Church tradition over Scripture no matter how long it has been done. If you use this argument (Church tradition) to support doing various things, then what about the actions of the Pharisees…much of what they did still happens today! Does that make it Biblical? Of course not, and I know you do not believe the Pharisees were right in what they did, I’m only using that as a point.

      If you want to know what I teach on baptism, read these articles I wrote on that as I do not want to reprint here that much!
      http://inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com/2012/03/11/baptism-part-one/
      http://inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com/2012/03/13/baptism-part-two/
      http://inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com/2012/03/20/baptism-part-three/
      http://inspirationalchristiansfortoday.com/2012/03/22/baptism-part-four/

  4. Edward A. Hara

    I will be glad to read your articles when I get a moment. May I ask you to answer one question you seem to keep dodging.

    Why did followers of Christ for 15 centuries teach that baptism washes away sin, confers new life, and places a person in Christ? Why was your view not taught for 15 centuries?

    Thanks

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      πίστις

      I have not dodged this at all….show me in the Bible where this is taught! It does not matter how long something has been taught, I mentioned this to you before. If it is not in the Bible then it is wrong…period.

      You keep telling me that baptism washes away sin, really? Then for what reason did Christ die? Baptism is a symbol…and again…it does not matter that something has been taught for 1500 years. The Catholic church teaches that it is ok to pray to Mary and has done so since the beginning! That does not make it right…matter of fact that is VERY wrong. ONLY God is to be prayed to. See what I am saying? Just because baptism was taught as THE way to wash away sin does not make it so. The Bible does not teach that anywhere. Your verse from Acts does not support that either. You are so blinded by Church tradition…step away from your religion and look at this purely from what the Bible says.

      Salvation is mentioned around 60 times in the New Testament with the requirement being faith in God…no mention of baptism.

      Baptism in the NT was ALWAYS after belief, not before.

      Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be in paradise with Him…no baptism.

      Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
      Baptism is a work…therefore cannot be required for salvation. Look up the Greek for work if you do not believe me. God will not say that salvation is by grace through faith, and then turn around and say, “oh you need to be baptized as well”!

      Comparing circumcision to baptism is nonsense! That was the old covenant. BTW…baptism is NOT part of the new covenant! Jesus never said that. The new covenant was made and sealed in His blood…not water baptism. I do not understand where you get this from, it certainly is not of the Bible.

      “The true interpretation of Acts 2:38 is not clouded in a great mystery that cannot be understood. Anyone with the most basic skills in Bible study can research and find the correct meaning of the verse. Acts 2:38 says, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The preposition “for” is the Greek work “eis” and simply means “with a view towards,” “in connection with,” “because of,” or “in light of.” In other words, Peter said that because they had believed and repented these people should now be baptized.

      In English the phrase “for the forgiveness of your sins” may be connected to either “repent,” “be baptized,” or both. The best textual evidence supports the presence of umwn (of your) as a modifier of “sins” in Acts 2:38. New Testament syntax supports this position as well. Concerning the antecedent of umwn, there is no evidence to support the contention that “forgiveness of sins” modifies the command to be baptized.” (Bible Truth.org)

      In the rest of Acts when Peter speaks of salvation, baptism is NOT mentioned. In key passages where Jesus speaks of salvation, He mentions faith in Him…never baptism.

      I saw that you left comments on my old blog BGT…I am not answering them. This is getting to the point of beating a dead horse. You refuse to see that your arguments are unbiblical. You constantly quote as your reasoning that my views are wrong…Church tradition, not the Bible. The couple verses you mentioned are taken out of context. The rest of the Bible does not make these statements you assume these verses do. I have shown you repeatedly that the Bible does not teach your view.

      God bless you Edward…I’m done arguing this…
      Greg Vine of Life News

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