I don’t claim to be anyone’s religious instructor. Then, you may ask, why do I write articles such as this one? I do so to provoke thought and re-evaluation, if that seems appropriate to the reader. No one is under any compulsion to honor my opinion. Your spirituality is yours to mold and development, using whatever inputs you may choose.
A common characteristic of all man-made religious institutions is the idea that some men or women are in the position of being formally designated as religious instructors, guides, and enforcers. It doesn’t matter what title these designated leaders carry: Preacher, Pastor, Elder, Apostle, Rabbi. Imam, Priest, Pope, Bishop, Evangelist, Missionary, whatever. If the individual claims a call, a mandate, a God given responsibility to be my religious instructor, then I immediately recoil. I won’t deny that God can speak to me through the actions and words of others and also through the various life circumstances, but when someone openly claims to be sent as God’s messenger to me specifically, I instinctively question that. A primary mark of misguided religion is this concept that some are appointed as the spiritual overseers of the rest. In the final analysis, God is able to guide me without someone else’s help, and if he did need that help, I’d be in deep trouble. Man’s ability and understanding in things spiritual is poor at best. If I share what little I think I see, it may be helpful and may be not. If God, the Author of All, speaks directly to the heart, there is no need for the inept messenger our fellowman will always be.
Of course, some will claim that a reliance on a direct message or personal understanding leads to subjectivity and varying opinions with resultant confusion. It is inconceivable to me that a personal theology could be more confusing than what has been developed and handed down by the clergy?
In Hebrews 8, God promised a time when His laws would be written on the heart, when no one would be a religious teacher. That time is now. God is ready, willing, and able. If you listen to His voice, and forget about mine, you’ll be wiser for it.