Greg Boyd, in his newest book, The Myth of a Christian Religion: Losing Your Religion for the Beauty of a Revolution warns us about “religion” in today’s post.
As a teen Boyd was rescued from drugs and sex and rock and roll into “religion” at a Pentecostal church. He made a complete break and signed up on the sheet — he was in and the others were out. But he wasn’t good at the religion thing.
So what does he mean by “religion”? What do you think of his definition?
“any system of beliefs and behaviors people embrace and engage in as a means of ascribing transcendent worth to themselves” (58). But there’s something at work here for Boyd: “religious people feed the hunger of their heart by striving to impress whatever picture of God or gods they embrace with the rightness of their beliefs and behaviors — in contrast to the wrongness of others’ beliefs and behaviors” (59).
Wow, he’s defining religion along the lines of self-congratulatory faithfulness. Divine authority is granted to their beliefs and behaviors. It was the religious who opposed Jesus — they still do.
The kingdom revolts against the religious attempt to get Life from beliefs, including true beliefs.
The Kingdom promotes Love and not violence. Anything that is not loving of others and of God is not Life; it is idolatry. He never tortured his enemies; he loved them.
So who’s the real heretic?
The ultimate test of orthodoxy is the person who loves. To fail to live as Jesus lived — in love — is the ultimate failure. Calvin, he says, committed a worse heresy than Servetus. But this is not to judge Calvin but to discern how we are to live in following Jesus.
Jesus befriended sinners because he loved. The leaders didn’t join Jesus at table. Jesus’ holiness led to God as Life; the Pharisees’ holiness led to separation.
Who’s the real heretic?