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Religion

“Man-centered ritualism is deadly….Ascetic practices—prayer, fasting, almsgiving—are taught by God (Matthew 6), but enemies lie along that path as well. Submitting to created realities, heeding human traditions, the deception of feeding the flesh when you think you are denying it, are false asceticism and condemned as pride.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Colossians 2:16-23)


“A casual reading of this passage [Colossians 2:20-3:3] might lead us to conclude that the apostle[St. Paul] opposes self-discipline and asceticism, which he certainly does not (see 2 Cor 11:7, 27)…the apostle is reacting against the proposals of certain heretics who taught a dualistic worldview. These false teachers sought to replace our genuine union with Christ with ascetical and devotional practices. Saint Paul does not oppose asceticism, nor self-discipline, nor humility – only a misplaced reliance on those practices and rituals as ends in themselves. Such practices have no power to control “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). Any kind of discipline or asceticism is to be undertaken because the Spirit leads us to seek “those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (vs. 1) – because we desire to deepen our union with Christ.” (Dynamis 11/16/2021)


“… the meeting of our Lord Jesus with the woman at Jacob’s well. As we eavesdrop in their conversation, we learn so much about true and false faith and prayer. Hers was a partial faith. He wasn’t being unkind, just truthful when Christ said that the Samaritans didn’t know the God that they prayed to. How many, even among…Christians will say, ‘There’s only one God,’ as though it doesn’t matter how or to Whom one prays. But it matters immensely. Then and now false worshippers pick and choose from the Holy Scriptures, ignoring what doesn’t seem to suit their “needs.” They like a comfortable faith—come as you are, leave when you want, take what you wish from the services. Fasting? That’s old fashioned. Confession? Who needs it, if God loves you? Ritual regular prayers? God knows what I need without my telling Him.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


“People who follow Christ can easily point fingers at those who go on spiritual treasure hunts for alternative gods. We readily perceive the hollowness of their false religions compared to the fullness and greatness of our experience of the one true God. But what about our idols? We want more money, insist upon owning the biggest house within our circle of friends or climb the corporate ladder for the best position at work without worrying about those we may have to step on to get there. Making any of these pursuits our top priority in life means that we are substituting them for God.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)


“All counterfeit religiousness has one key characteristics. It promises to free us from our ties to this world. Yet it does not connect us to God through the worship of God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). But it binds us to our own worldly imaginations and deceptive desires. Therefore, Paul prescribes the remedy against such temptations: “Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth” (Colossians. 3:2). Ritualism, mysticism, and asceticism are spiritual pitfalls if pursued in themselves. They must serve the purpose of drawing us closer to Christ and increasing in us the Love of God and of neighbor.” (Fr. Basil)

“Don’t become so involved in"religion” that you miss Christ.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 5:39-40)

“The accouterments of success seem so appealing that it’s pretty easy to fall for those less-thansubtle advertising ploys touting fancy foreign engineering or the architectural wonders of some luxury house. Even in church we sometimes focus on the trappings—lavish sanctuaries, fine pipe organs, plush carpeting. When materialism and personal pride fuse together, we’re all in grave danger of neglecting or even forgetting God!” (Don Wyrtzen)

“...religion, which is focused on self-fulfillment rather than repentance, has also been successfully removed from the explicitly religious context and remarketed with great success.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

"Even in this present life, there is danger in the very concept of religion. It carries the suggestion that this is one more department of life, an extra department added to the economic, the social, the intellectual, the recreational, and all the rest.” (C. S. Lewis)

"...religion isn’t the same thing as a real relationship and because there is no way in the world that on our own we could work our way up to God’s approval…Church and religion are means to God, not ends” (Ryan Shook & Josh Shook, Andrea Palpant Dilley)


#DonWyrtzen #FrAndrewStephenDamick #CSLewis #AndreaPalpantDilley #LifeApplicationStudyBible #OrthodoxStudyBible #Dynamis #FrVladimirBerzonsky #NIVMensDevotionalBible #FrBasil

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