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Christians Challenged to Lose their Religion
A Dallas, Ga., pastor is encouraging Christians to lose their religion and become authentic followers of Christ.
After 22 years of being in ministry, Brian Bloye of West Ridge Church has seen a lot of people claiming the Christian label but not really knowing how to actually be one.
Citing Chip Ingram, a pastor in Los Gatos, Calif., Bloye said only one out of 10 Christians are actually living out as if they were true, authentic disciples of Jesus Christ.
And from what he's observed, Bloye believes that statistic to be accurate.
"Why is it that there are so many decisions (for Christ) that are being made ... and yet there are so few disciples?" he asked his fast-growing congregation this past weekend.
He's been to the camps, the stadium events and church services where thousands come to the stage and accept Christ.
"And yet at the end of the day when you shake it all down there are tons and tons and tons of decision and yet very very few true, authentic disciples," he lamented.
The problem is, many Christians don't know what God wants from them or what Jesus Christ is asking of them, he said.
"Instead of developing an intimate, loving, all or nothing relationship with Jesus Christ what we've done is we have bought into religion," he said.
Bloye once did.
The Dallas pastor, who founded West Ridge in 1997, grew up in a religious home. His way of being a Christian was following a set of rules or a list: read the Bible, pray, attend church regularly, don't look at porn, don't have premarital sex, don't listen to bad music, and don't smoke or drink or cuss. He prided himself in his list.
"It had nothing to do with pleasing God. It really was all about seeing if I could keep up with the list," he explained.
His motivation for living supposedly as a Christian was pride and fear of being punished by God. Plus, he didn't want to embarrass his parents, especially since his dad was studying to be in ministry.
"Yet all that was just religion," he said, adding that he ultimately felt empty.
"Religion never creates true fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. All it does is create more religious people.
And a lot of times, it creates "ugly religious people," he said.
In 1987, Bloye made a decision – not a salvation decision because he already had that down – but a decision that involved total commitment and one that not many Christians have made.
"What God really wants from us is total commitment," he stressed. That means, giving God everything, holding nothing back and not playing the game.
"For someone who's been a believer for 32 years, I have found that not being totally committed just doesn't work."
While the phrase "total commitment" may conjure up an image of a serious Christian who doesn't have fun and is "robbed" of everything that's out in the world, Bloye encouraged his congregation to look at it a different way.
Total commitment is the "smartest, most reasonable thing you can do in light of what God has done for us," he said. Total commitment is "a channel through which God's best and biggest blessings flow."
And the motivation is the mercy of God, His grace and love, and gratitude, rather than fear.
"God doesn't want your church attendance, your money, your Bible time, ... your religious list," he said. "What He wants is you. That's all God wants from you."
Bloye is among an increasing number of megachurch pastors who have recently challenged their congregations to get off the fence and become true disciples of Christ. Last week, southern California pastor Rick Warren told fake Christians to find another church if they're not willing to be a true Christ follower.