I am not religious really, but I am spiritual.....
In his theology of justification by grace alone, Luther conveniently overlooked a plethora of biblical texts, including many from St. Paul, whom he claimed as his principle inspiration. In the parable of the sheep and goats from Matthew 25, it is clear that salvation is dependent, not primarily on faith, but on the quality of our love, especially toward those who are weakest and poorest.
The same Paul who spoke of justification through faith also said, “If I have faith enough to move the mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” And the same Paul who experienced the risen Jesus in an intensely personal moment of conversion also spoke eloquently and often of becoming a member of Jesus’ “mystical body,” which is the Church.
In short, the Bible drives a wedge neither between faith and love nor between individual salvation and ecclesial belonging. Further, the same Jesus who railed against the hypocritical legalism of the Pharisees also said, “I have come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it.” And the same Jesus who threatened to tear down the Temple in Jerusalem also promised “in three days to rebuild it.”
The point is this: Jesus certainly criticized — even bitterly so — the corruptions in the institutional religion of his time, but he by no means called for its wholesale dismantling. He was, in point of fact, a loyal, observant, law-abiding Jew. What he affected was a transfiguration of the best of that classical Israelite religion — Temple, law, priesthood, sacrifice, covenant, etc. — into the institutions, sacraments, practices and structures of his mystical body, the Church.
If the young rapper in the video is against the corruptions of institutional religion up and down the ages, then he’s got an ally in me. Finding them is like shooting fish in a barrel and criticizing them is as easy as being against rotten eggs.
But if he is advocating an individualist spirituality that ignores the thousands of ties that bind believers to one another through sacrament, practice and institutional belonging, and if he’s calling for a theology that divorces Jesus from his body, the Church, then he’s got an opponent in me.
Lots of New Age devotees today want spirituality without religion, and lots of evangelicals want Jesus without religion. Both end up with abstractions. But the one thing Jesus is not is an abstraction. Rather, he is a spiritual power who makes himself available precisely in the dense institutional particularity of his mystical body across space and time.
Jesus didn’t come to abolish religion, he came to fulfill it.
Video on this subject by Father Robert Barron
Read more: [link to www.ncregister.com