Posted On: April 24, 2017 • Author: Pastor David Bousquet • Category:
Too often today, I hear about Christians who are leaving churches or shunning “organized” religion because Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship. Many of those who take this stand do so because they feel that “religion” is a man made construct which undermines the relationship that we are supposed to have with Christ. They see religion as an obstruction to real faith, and that it can actually be harmful to real growth.
I understand some of what those who hold this view are trying to say, but at the root there is a fundamental flaw. The flaw is that they are using a false definition of religion in order to explain their isolationist belief. Those who hold this view basically define religion as “an organized attempt to attain to God’s holiness, or the establishment of rules and regulations as a standard for corporate worship.” The problem with these definitions are that they do not define religion. Religion is the “worship of a supreme, supernatural deity.” This definition is meant to be the foundation of any religion, especially the Christian religion. It is important to recognize that not all religions are valid, only Christianity is a true religion, for it alone worships the true God.
What I think is really trying to be said is that there is frustration over what has happened to churches. I agree that there are plenty of things that are wrong with some aspects of some churches. For one, there has become a great number of churches that essentially emphasize standards over substance. As a result there are many churches that equate standards with holiness, but this is incorrect. Holiness is imputed upon us by Christ, and is given to us independent of our own works.
In addition, these individuals are resisting the professionalism that many churches seem to require in order to participate. As a result a heart of worship seems to be replaced with professionalism. In other words, you must look right, sound right, and pretend to be perfect in order to serve. This eliminates the freedom of worship that should exist in the church.
Finally, these individuals are opposed to the disconnected manner of faith that many in the church seem to have. They feel that the church has robbed them of the connected community that the church was meant to be. They desire a simpler form of worship that doesn’t look at the outside but instead focuses on the heart.
With all of these things being said, the problem still exists with their definition. They refuse to acknowledge that Christianity is a religion and not just a relationship. A relationship is established between two individuals and typically ignores the authority of either party in the relationship. Religion serves to anchor our relationship to Christ. It sets the boundaries for our relationship, always reminding us to submit to the authority of Christ. Religion is the worship of God and Christ which then enables us to have a relationship.