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Article for the week of
September 2, 2007
CAN YOU RECOMMEND YOUR RELIGION?
Once in a while someone asks me to recommend a Bible translation or a
Study Bible. Sometimes I am asked to recommend a book, a restaurant, or an
appropriate gift. I even get requests to recommend a preacher, or a
congregation of the church. A frequent request is for letters of
recommendation for school or job applicants. Such requests imply some
confidence in my ability to judge things and that my approval is worthwhile.
Giving a recommendation implies that the person or thing is of good
quality, gives good service, gives pleasure, or can satisfy a need or
requirement. It is not difficult to recommend some things and some persons,
and one is glad to do it. But there are times one cannot honestly recommend,
and would rather not be asked to do it.
Question: Can you recommend your personal religion? Would you recommend
it to everybody and for everybody? Notice, we do not ask if you can
recommend your church, or any local congregation of it. We do not ask if you
can recommend your preacher, or any congregational programs. Your religion
includes what you believe and what you practice. Your religion is what you
live by, what you hope to have and from whom, and the methods you use to
achieve your goals. There are several more important questions.
I. CAN YOU RECOMMEND YOUR RELIGION BY SCRIPTURE?
Guide, Gourmet’s Guide to Good Eating, Auto Buyer’s Guide, Consumer Reports
and a host of similar resources are recognized authorities on food, lodging,
and various other consumer products. They are generally trusted and often
In religion there is only one valid standard – the Book of God, the Bible.
As the church are we “people of the Book”? Are you, personally speaking,
“by the Book”? (1 Cor. 4:6, 14:37). The scripture is sufficient for all
one’s spiritual needs (2 Tim. 3:16-17). All people will be judged by it
eventually and eternally (John 12:48, Rev. 20:17).
II. CAN YOU RECOMMEND YOUR RELIGION BY YOUR OWN SUPPORT OF IT?
You can usually tell one’s regard for a thing by how much of himself he
gives to it. When we speak of giving support we mean more that money. One
who gives most of his time and resources to others and little to his family
would not easily convince anyone that he really loved his family. The church
is one’s spiritual family. How much of your time, energy, and other
resources do you give it? How much time do you spend praying for it? Do you
tell others about it?
Work in the church’s programs is another indicator of one’s support. In
the family the parents or an older child would never say, “Let the babies
and the younger children do the work.” But many older Christians are willing
to let the younger Christians and babes in Christ do most of the work.
III. CAN YOU RECOMMEND YOUR RELIGION BY YOUR LIFE?
the Lord first in everything? (Mt. 6:33). Are you a “living sacrifice” to
the Lord? (Rom. 12:1). Do you “love the law of God?” No complaints about His
commandments? Do you enjoy obeying God’s commands? (Psalm 119:9, Psalm
1:1-3, James 4:11-12).
Are you honest with everyone? No compromises? (Rom. 12:17). Would it
embarrass you for others to know how you live your life and the things you
do or fail to do? Do you seek to promote others and bring them closer to
God, and not just to help yourself? (Rom. 12:10, Phil. 2:4). Are you kind,
tenderhearted, merciful, willing to forgive? (Phil. 4:32, James 2:13).
Some concluding questions and observations: Would you want all other
people to share your religion? (1 Cor. 11:1). You really cannot recommend
what you yourself do not obey fro the heart (Rom. 6:17, Eph. 4:1). Would
others who know you well be able to trust your judgment? Would they be able
and willing to recommend your religion?
– Gerald Cowan
Dongola church of Christ (Dongola, IL)
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