In a recent Facebook post, my friend Tim McClain discussed the following meme:
He posted it. Here is my response:
If you look at the religions of the world, they are a set of rules and regulations. Christianity is not rules and regulations. It is grace and mercy. Therefore, I can’t see it as a religion. Christianity is about Jesus Christ. Other religions are about “God”, so to equate Christianity as a religion about God brings it down to the level of other religions. It is so much more. It is God’s embodied life in the form of man, dying for man and rising again from the dead to prove Jesus is the bridge between God the Father and broken man.
If you don’t like the term relationship, then use something else. Name me one other God or god who has a relationship with his/its followers. Name me one other god who came to his/her/its creation and sacrificed himself/herself/itself for man. Name me one other god who rose from the dead. Jesus even said it is about relationship. It is not about rules and regulations. Jesus fulfilled the Law and broke the rules and regulations placed upon the back of humans. It’s not about Do’s and Don’ts. It is about the love God/Jesus Christ has for you and your love for Him. That is relationship.
I don’t have a “religion” with my wife or fellow humans. I have a relationship. I don’t have rules and regulations for my marriage. I have the love that guides and dictates my behavior. That love provides the grace and mercy that makes the marriage and other relationships work.
We see the divisiveness in our society today because people have lost the concept of grace and mercy, forgiveness and going the extra mile, and not harboring wrongs against them. Rather, we immediately become offended and hold onto the grudge rather than following the example of Christ, or even on the Cross, stated, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Christianity is about relationship. Relationship with God. Relationship with fellow man. Don’t be Stupid.
Tim provided a solid response showing the opposite view:
When we go to church, as a body we worship God. We sing praises to Him, we pray to Him, we listen to His Word preached to us, we give back to Him monies from the abundance He has provided to us to further His work and to care for the poor, we partake of the Sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. These are all religious acts, therefore we are practicing religion. The visible church and our religious practice there is how God grows us in the grace He has provided so that we can have a personal relationship with Him throughout the week. The concern of the meme is that many people who want no part of the visible church will say that since they have a personal relationship with God, they don’t need church or religion. But there are no lone ranger Christians–God has designed us to work together in the church as a religious body. The fact that much religion is false and wrongly focused on ritual and attempt to please God by works is not a legitimate reason for being anti-religious, any more than we should be anti-marriage because some of them wind up in divorce.
I believe both points as valid. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Copyright © 2017 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.