Mr. T asked a very good question on the previous post. Good questions always open a line of thought I had not previously pursued, but which my heart already knows how to answer. Based on what his question drew out of me, it seemed there was another point to make.
The only valid religion is the one that sprouts from the roots of your personal faith; that’s what Radix Fidem means. It assumes a genuine heart of conviction ruling over the mind. A valid expression of faith inevitably leads to people wanting to fellowship and commune over common experiences of that faith as their hearts pull them together. It is wholly organic and feudal in nature; it is how we are wired. Note that it will inevitably include folks who are drawn in socially, but are not heart-led. However, those who are are heart-led should instinctively recognize each other and keep things on the right path. It’s not a question of precision, but of the spirit of things.
Any other path to forming a shared religion is bogus. It has nothing to do with whether such a false religion will prosper as human activity tends to do now and then, but that it will not lead to a truly biblical community of faith.
Instead, the many human organizations that claim to be churches will more likely take on the shape of secular human cultural and political activity. They will become focused on this world and it’s concerns despite a presumption of commitment to eternal things. This worldly focus becomes the true nature of the community, but in order to justify pulling aside from all the other human organizations, they will develop a peculiar cultural veneer that becomes their group identity. That sense of separation may vary widely in degree from one religions institution to the next. Further, the degree of separation from the ambient worldly culture will vary widely among the individual members of each institution. Still, as long as these religious identity groups lack the defining features of heart-led otherworldliness and feudal family structure, they are just another socio-cultural identity group.
When following Christ is reduced to a socio-cultural identity, it’s just one more like any other religion-based cultural identity. In that sense, Western Christianity is just like Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and a lot of other large cultural identities. Just the same, it will vary considerably in different locations, but each location will cling to some common mythology that allows them to claim a part of one or the other major world religion.
So it stands to reason that none of these are valid expressions of the Creator’s mission of self-revelation through people devoted to Him. Thus, they are all merely political influences, a part of that image from Scripture that I’ve used a great deal on this blog, of God herding humanity as cattle. His purposes will be largely inscrutable to us unless and until He reveals bits and pieces of His divine purpose to His prophets. We should expect to understand the broad sweep of history in light of His revealed moral character. But we should not expect to understand the specific movements of the herds in terms of God’s plans because it’s all just background against which His glory is revealed.
Organized Christian religion in the world today is just another part of that cattle herding business. It is not a valid expression of His revelation, so it’s not that important in the eternal scheme of things. This has nothing to do with whether any of the members of such religions are going to Heaven. Rather, this is about the organized institutions as political influences. Most of us will bear some affinity with organized Christian religious institutions, as most of us still participate to some degree. But we do so only to the degree it helps us give expression to our faith as individuals. In another sense, most of us have come out those institutions and they may still be part of our comfort zone. But they don’t own us and we can surely carry forward for Christ without them.
Most of them will fade away with the Western Civilization on which they are based. Don’t get too bent out of shape if Islam takes over big chunks of Western “Christian” territory. As a consolation prize, I suspect Eastern Orthodox Christianity will be around a lot longer, yet. It’s not as if God has abandoned His children; it’s just politics and cattle herding. Your faith should remain fully intact and your witness will adjust and find a way to shine the light of glory wherever God calls you to reside.