I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.” I am sorry to say, that’s just not true.
I know I am going to take a lot of heat for this, but I have got to get this out there. I am saying this of my own freewill. The views and opinions expressed in this article are wholly my own. This is not the opinions of my sponsors
Let me be clear, I believe in a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe that it is possible and that Holy Spirit is alive and active on Earth today. That being said, the notion that religion or being religious is a problem in the Christian faith is just not so.
I grew up in the 90s and into the early 2000s. In the former, there was a clamor where freethinking ministers wanting to get out of the “mold” told folks that they did not want to do “church” anymore. This was a popular rallying cry that carried into the 2000s, but then church pastors noticed something. Folks stopped going to church. Church itself, the communion of the saints of Christ, became taboo.
Well, this would not do, so the freethinking ministers came up with a new rallying cry, “We don’t do religion.” The words religion and religious became the new buzz words synonymous with things that were considered a part of the powerless Gospel. For instance, an evangelism that was abrasive and confrontational. The Bible does say that without love, that is nothing.
However, it soon spread to represent everything wrong with the church. “Oh, your church doesn’t allow women in leadership? That’s so religious!” Women should be allowed to be leaders in the church, that’s not the point. The point is the word religion or religious become sistered with a Pharisee or Pious spirit. Religion is not the word that defines that. According to the dictionary, religion simply means:
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects; or something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience
That’s not sinister in the slightest. What’re some fundamentals of our faith? We believe in God the Father, almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth. In Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. We believe in Holy Spirit, who is alive and active. The Bible is the written inspired Word of God. We believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived, died, and on the third day, He rose again. Those are beliefs that we hold dear to our hearts.
When we say Christianity is not a religion or religion is the weakness of our faith, we are undermining ourselves and making us look like fools. Do a search on the web about this and you will find whole atheistic websites dedicated to making fun of Christians who say, “I don’t believe in a religion. I believe in Jesus.”
Of course, when atheists do this and then they say “atheism isn’t a religion,” they are being hypocrites, but that’s not the topic.
The point is, Christianity is a religion. Don’t believe me? Turn to the Bible itself.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:26-27 (HCSB, emphasis mine)
Still think Christianity isn’t a religion?
The word we should be using in place of religion is “religiosity.” This is a word for being pious and thinking that you are better because of your beliefs. Also that you put faith in the “practice” of your religion instead of the deity (Jesus) Himself. This was the buzz word in the 70s and 80s. Ministers would declare, “Throw off your man-made religiosity!” This was correct. However, it was too hard to say for some, so it became “religion” then “church” and back to “religion.”
Listen, we must throw off these pretentious semantics and get back to what is truly important: the love of Jesus. That is what truly matters. Religion is not the weakness of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom has no weakness. It always advances and it never retreats!