There is a struggle with religion in today’s church, although this struggle has been going on ever since there have been different denominations in the church. What exactly is religion anyway? What would you say religion means?
This is the definition of religion as read on Wikipedia; Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.
This is the definition of religion from The Free Dictionary.com:
1. Belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny
2. Any formal or institutionalized expression of such belief, the Christian religion
I had a comment from an atheist on my site the other day about this very topic. He said that no matter how much I stomp my foot, Christianity is a religion, and so this article was born.
I have my own definition of “religion”. To me religion encompasses all the faiths, and of course there are many. Some will equate religion with Christianity, which in turn includes many faiths.
I have never really cared for the term “Christian” as it carries with it many negative connotations. There are many religions out there that claim the label “Christianity”, but are not true to the definition of that label. Some don’t even understand the basic premise of true Christianity, namely the death and resurrection of Christ and that this one act purchased our freedom and eternal life.
Then there are the individual persons who don’t even believe in the deity of Christ, but yet describe themselves as Christians!
A religion is a denomination, a faith if you will. Therefore if you are religious, then you are a follower of a particular faith. This atheist was trying to tell me I’m religious, I beg to differ. I don’t follow a particular religion, I follow Jesus Christ. Jesus is not a religion or a faith!
The difference between being a follower of Jesus Christ, and being religious is an important one. Do you know what that difference is? I encourage you to take a moment and answer this for yourself and then read on to see what I say.
First lets look at what being religious is like. Someone who is religious may only be able to go to one denomination to worship. We all have our preferences in a church I am sure, but what I mean is this; would you have to go only to a Lutheran church for example to worship? That would be following a religion. Or could you go to a different denomination (faith) and be able to worship there? I have been in many different churches, denominations, and non-denominations and have enjoyed worship there. You see, worship is about Jesus, not about the particular church you find yourself in.
Some will enjoy maybe even need the pomp and ceremony that some churches provide, that is religion. Are you worshiping Jesus and the Father, or are you worshiping worship? If the bible does not prescribe it, it came out of a man’s head and is therefore religion.
How about the Sunday Christian, you know the one; he/she comes maybe every Sunday and fulfills their duty. Check off the box marked church, got that done this week. The rest of the week is spent living life however they choose…religion.
What about Christianity itself? What does that mean anyway, what do you think it means? Here is the problem with Christianity, there are so many different definitions of what it means to be a “Christian”, and it is just ridiculous.
I’m not religious, nor do I want to be. I am a follower of Christ. What does that look like?
I remember a friend said to me years ago, “I’m not religious, I’m just a Believer”. At the time I thought he was a little whacked maybe? Now I could not agree more, I understand what he was getting at now.
Following Christ means exactly that, follow Christ…not a man. If my Pastor leaves, I am not going with him because Jesus is right where I am already. Follow Christ, not a denomination. We all have a preference in a church and their particular style of worship and so on, and that is fine. However, are you worshiping Jesus or are you worshiping or following the denomination’s particular way of worship and or ceremony? Worship is all about God, worship of the One who saved us, Who paid the price for our sins with His own blood, Who gave us eternal life as a gift, and helps us even now in this life.
Following Christ is all about Him, not a church or their particular style of doing things. It is also about the Word of God. Do you subscribe to all of the Word of God or only the parts you want to hear? Is the bible the inspired word of God or do you think parts of it are wrong or maybe do not apply to you? The answers to these questions will determine whether or not you are a follower of Christ, or religion.
If you are a follower of Christ, then His Word, the bible is the inerrant Word of God. You may dislike parts of what the bible says, it may make you uncomfortable, you may not understand it all…but it is the Word of God.
If you follow Christ, then you seek to obey Him. To obey, you must understand, to understand you must study His Word.
Understand Who you are following, man is fallible and so is religion…Jesus Christ is not.
Jesus is without question responsible for the bible, the Word of God exists because of Him and through Him. This though is the really awesome part that should just knock your socks off.
We know that Jesus is God, and that He is part of the Holy Trinity. We know that he inspired the bible as He was and is God. God came down to earth in the flesh, and though He was God, He taught the Word of God! Even greater still, the One who inspired the Word of God, lived it Himself while here on earth. That fact should fill you with awe. This is Whom you are to follow, not some man or man made religion!
Just call me a Believer, we are here to glorify the Lord God Almighty, first, last, and always.