Getting Religion Back to the Basics
One man’s concern about the state of organized religion has led him to put his ideas into print.
After a six year period in the military and 13 years of working with troubled youth, Joseph Henry is convinced that religion is following the permissiveness of today’s society and needs to get back to the basics.
Henry’s book, Back to the Basics: It’s God’s Way or the Highway, may seem to be a little harsh and in your face, but it is the way Henry feels religion needs to be.
“I am convinced that churches today are getting away from morals and family issues. It seems that churches are mainly concerned about money. I do not believe that churches properly deal with judgment and forgiveness. If you do something wrong and give a lot of money things will be swept under the rug. My book outlines the way that these issues should be dealt with,” said Henry.
Henry believes that many preachers want to gain personal wealth and want their congregations to believe that they will gain wealth in their lives.
“This attitude about wealth is wrong. In the Bible a wealthy man had a pair of shoes, some clothes, food and water, and a place to lay his head,” said Henry. “We have let ourselves be led away from these basics and into a life that pursues wealth.”
Henry’s 30 chapter book deals with 34 issues that affect all churches. One of the issues that Henry feels strongly about is accountability for one’s actions. He feels that a church should have a definite plan and action for dealing with what he calls “gross deliberate sins.”
“These are sins that affect people other than me. If for instance, I commit adultery, biblically, the church should deal with this. There should be a church court to deal with the sin. The church is teaching that once you accept Christ, you can do no wrong. This is wrong and the church should have a plan to make a person accountable for their sins. This is in the book and very detailed,” said Henry. “If you are looking for a book that is tolerant of today’s society and the effect on morals and family values, then do not buy the book. This is not what you will get.”
In dealing with troubled youth and teaching Bible classes to persons that have been hurt in their dealings with the church, Henry felt led to write his book. He spent two years doing research, one year doing the actual writing, and a year and seven months editing, rewriting, and adding to the book. He was able to secure funding for the book and has several investors in the project.
Henry is on a definite mission to right the wrongs that have been done to people that have had their lives deeply affected by churches who, he feels, have either not done what was needed or have done the wrong thing in dealing with people who did not conform to their philosophy.
“Just because a person is divorced does not mean that he cannot contribute to his church. In my 32 years of attending church I have seen people put out to pasture because they were divorced, or had tattoos or do not look like the church feels like they should. They only look at the outside of the person and not the inward person. I address these issues and also the issues that cause splits in the church. I know of one church that split because of a difference in the color of carpet. Our churches need to be concerned with morals and values and not the superficial things of life,” said Henry. “The Bible teaches that we should start in our communities, then go outside to the state, and finally work out to the world. We should not be going out to the foreign world and leave things undone here at home.”
Henry feels that the last 30 years have shown a decline in the morals and attitude of the church. The church has conformed to society instead of holding fast to the basics of Bible based religious teaching.
“Our churches have gotten away from the basics of religion. We need to go back to these basics and be less concerned with money as a form of wealth, to set standards for family values, and to hold people accountable for their actions,” said Henry.
The last chapter in Henry’s book deals with establishing a church. It is very detailed in how to start the church, staff the church, and even includes a suggested floor plan. One definite suggestion is to limit a church to 306 members. The book outlines definite levels of leadership.
Of the membership there should be 300 members and six staff members. Three of these six members should be disciples that would be qualified to start a new church once the original church reaches the 300 member mark.
“I do not feel that a church can monitor the actions of over 300 members. That is just about all that can be observed and dealt with when there is a problem or some ‘gross deliberate sin’ within the membership,” said Henry. “I plan to start my own church based on the plan in the book. The name of the church will be: First Church of the House of God.”
Henry’s book will be available as an e book on Wednesday, June 29. The print edition will be available on July 15. There will be a local book signing on Aug 6 at Reader’s Choice on MLK in Orange. A signing will be held in Sept at the Beaumont VA clinic and at the Houston VA hospital in Oct. The book will also be available from Henry at a reduced price.
Information about the book is available on the publisher’s website: www.iuniverse.com