Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

if obedience is necessary...



If salvation is all about obedience as many teach. then, the constant question has to be- How well am I obeying. That question has many subsets- like who do I obey, what are the relevant commands, what happens when I slip up, ad infinitum. This is where the truth/grace of the so called church gospel gets messy and basically unworkable. Any system based on laws, rules, and commandments is inherently that way. We marvel at and complain about the complexity of many of our national laws- rules that generate thousands of pages of details and clarifications; but, if you want to live by rules, that is the unavoidable price you pay. Rules propagate themselves and become ever more complicated. It's just the nature of the beast.


We have a national religion which preaches rule keeping. We then have a society which has a love/hate relationship with rules. When the rules please me, I praise them and follow them. When they offend me in some fashion, I condemn the rule makers and try to ignore the rules. Religiously it is a bit more difficult. The rule makers, either the writers of the sacred text or the current day interpreters in the institutional church, are supposedly God appointed, so it is not seen as appropriate to challenge them directly. That leaves only option two- ignore what I don't care to obey. We all have done this.


Jesus addressed the complexities of rule keeping very succinctly.  He told prospective rule keepers all they would ever need to know about rules. Follow the Golden Rule and forget about anything else. It's already covered. Paul spoke later and taught the same thing.


Of course, the church comes along; and, based primary on the writings of Paul, they establish a new list of rules- how to be saved, how to stay saved, how to conduct church. The succinctness of Jesus suddenly morphed into the messiness and confusion of church doctrine. No longer is the message about how I treat others; it's all about a whole new complex system of law keeping, all administered under the authority of the men who assume the role of church leadership.  Following Jesus is no longer the central issue of Christianity; compliance with what the church requires becomes the essential element.


If I am supposed to pay attention to Jesus alone, paying attention to the church is superfluous and largely counter productive. Some men may claim to point me to Jesus; but, if that claim involves ignoring Jesus in favor of church orthodoxy, then my allegiance has been subverted. The teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the church are not one and the same. You won't read much of the NT before you find an example of something Jesus said which the church ignores in favor of something they find more compatible with the carnal mind.