Is it “My Religion”?

I have always enjoyed the Christian metal band, Skillet. They have some of the best lyrical content and heart-pounding rhythms in the business.

So, I like Skillet. But I’d like to offer a brief critique of the lyrics to a song off of their most recent album, Rise (2013). While I think that it makes the point that Christ is the source of life and faith, I believe it goes too far and falls headlong into a Christian egocentrism. It certainly leaves that impression.

Here is the song with the lyrics.

I have to say that the song seems very representative of our individualist American culture, especially post-modern religion. It says I don’t need anyone else. I don’t need the church. I don’t belong to a group. I’m an island. It’s just me and Jesus (my faith). I can live apart from an intentional worshipping Christian community. Very popular these days.

Of course we don’t need the traditional trappings of “church” (e.g. stained glass, pews, “high” priests, etc.) to follow Christ. I’ve been through all of that. I get it. And, yes, if people disagree with your beliefs, the important thing is for you to be faithful. Maybe he means that. I’m not sure.

But to say that it “ain’t their business what I wanna believe” is contrary to NT teaching of knowing Christ in community.

The NT teaches that Christians belong to one another and Christ. If the lyrics are suggesting that intentional Body (church) life is unnecessary for discipleship, then I couldn’t disagree more.

Listen to Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (MSG):

“By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink.”

If the band is even hinting that my faith is simply about me and Jesus, then the song promotes a message that is antithetical to the Gospel which calls us into relationships with one another.

We are “living stones” being built into a spiritual house (1 Pet 2:5).

In my opinion, this song sounds like one more example of a cynical Christian that is fed up with institutional Christianity and jumps clear over the road into the opposite ditch of a nebulous church practice, a me-centered Christianity.

We may feel better singing it, but it does nothing to improve our situation.

We are never to give up on one another or to cease fellowship with the church (Heb 10:25). We belong to one another. It’s not “my religion” (if it’s even religion at all). It’s “our faith” together in Christ.

No matter how much a person has learned about the love and grace of Christ for themselves, if after an extensive period of time you are refusing to gather with believers (for whatever reason) in regular community where you are required to act on that love and grace, then you’re being disobedient.

Be intentional about knowing Christ in community. There is no other religion.

D.D. Flowers, 2014.

Read here for more on the fallacy of the nebulous church idea.

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About David D. Flowers

David received a B.A. in Religion from East Texas Baptist University and a M.T.S. in Biblical Studies from Houston Graduate School of Theology. David was in student ministry for 7 years, taught Biblical Studies & Latin at The Woodlands Christian Academy for 5 years, and now pastors an Anabaptist congregation in Virginia. View all posts by David D. Flowers

5 responses to “Is it “My Religion”?

  • Sean Durity

    Right on target, here. We need the Body and the Body needs us. I am so thankful for our church and how we are doing the life of faith together.

  • gregory

    David, I think we have a classic problem of defining the terms here. Our focus is Christ and Him crucified. It’s an individual thing when you are confronted by the love of a Holy GOD and you are saved. Saul wasn’t gathering when he was thrown from his horse. The jailer wasn’t part of a group when Paul said believe on the LORD and be saved. The thief on the cross wasn’t part of a gathering when JESUS said HE would see him in paradise.

    It’s both. Yes, yes individual lovers of JESUS must gather with each other to properly express Christ’s divine life. In a formal meeting for prophecy waiting on the HS direction like an “open meeting” and in life in general helping one another. He even shows up during a lecture to each individual who is listening. It’s both…..to say both are mutually exclusive is in error……mutual one-anothering is not a Sunday or Wednesday event it’s Divine Life. It’s Authentic Life all the time.

    So stop railing on the individual and magnify JESUS of Nazareth…..that’s the true work of the Holy Spirit…..Jesus said so in JOHN 14-17

    • David D. Flowers

      Gregory, are you new to the blog?

      1. How do we have a “classic problem of defining terms” in my post? I’m not following you.
      2. Have you read much of my blog? I understand that it’s both (individual in community). See some of my posts under “Deeper Christian Life” on the Archives page. I’m not unaware of the point I think you’re trying to make. I’m simply clarifying “our faith” as individuals in community.
      3. Saying that I’m “railing” against the individual is unfounded. We are individuals, for sure. Christ meets us as such. But not in isolation. We are saved for community. Our faith is communal, e.g. baptism, Lord’s supper (communion), one-anothering, etc. There are no lone-ranger Christians. I stated in my post that I believe (and why I believe) this song leaves room to draw the wrong conclusions. The whole point of my post was to “magnify Jesus” as individuals in community. But that’s much different than claiming we have an individualistic faith. This often seems foreign to our culture, but was understood in first century Palestine.

      Gregory, please use your full name when commenting. Thanks!

  • Cole Benson

    I think this is great and is something I really needed right now as I am facing a hard time holding myself accountable in my faith. Using others who are believers in Christ and truly care for you can be used as great system to keep you accountable and lift you up. – Hope your doing well Mr. Flowers!

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