Christianity - Its a Relationship - Not a Religion

So I saw a post on Facebook - and I might have seen it before somewhere but I thought it was silly -

so I asked the poster about it and they replied

**When I say “It’s a Relationship, not a Religion” I’m referring to this which Jesus said:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more
important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness." -Matthew 23:23-28

I’m not just going through the ceremonies and religious motions as many people often due, but I have a heart for God. My works that I have done are a product of my faith in Jesus. I don’t put on a show and become like a “whitewashed tomb” as Jesus calls the Pharisees here. I have Jesus working on my heart and my works are fruit of that. That is what I’m referring to when I say I have a relationship and not a religion**


You probably have seen this before - Google a phrase; you’ll get lots of hits.

Any religion that does not facilitate a relationship with its god(s) is not really much of a religion. Isn’t that the purpose of religion?

The Bible speaks both positively and negatively about different forms of “religion.” In the quotes in the OP, none of them blanketly condemn religion. For instance, on the positive side:*James 1:26-27 If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. *If you read the essence of that statement, it means to love your neighbor, and it means that is religion. So people that say Christianity is a relationship and NOT a religion not only hold to an unbiblical position, but they do not have a grasp on what the term religion even means.

See also: Christianity is a Religion for more Scriptural evidence of ritual and ceremony in the true religion of the New Testament. :wink:

And these verses demonstrate that the Pharisees were hypocrites. How exactly does this apply to the whole “Relationship, not Religion” mindset? Sure, the Pharisees were religious hypocrites. There are, however, religious people who are not hypocrites. You can’t just simply call all religious people hypocrites just because ***some ***religious people are hypocrites. That’s the logical fallacy of composition.

One of these non-hypocritical religious people was our Lord and Savior Himself. Unless one wants to deny Scripture, a Christian has to admit that Jesus was religious. He was raised in the Jewish faith by His parents, was circumcised, and observed religious holidays like Passover and Hanukkah. Jesus perfectly observed the Jewish faith. If He didn’t, then He wasn’t perfect in everything He did. Further, Jesus would have failed to completely fulfill the Law, which was one of the reasons why He came to us.

Therefore, I think this whole “Relationship, not Religion” mindset is rather silly. One cannot simply get around the fact that the most basic definitions of the word “religion” fit Christianity perfectly. Moreover, if religion really does contradict what these “Relationship, not Religion” Christians call “biblical Christianity,” then logic dictates that Jesus Himself contradicts Himself. So I fail to see how anyone can assert such an illogical and unscriptural position. :shrug: If you identify as a Christian, and you hold to Christian beliefs, then you’re part of the Christian religion. Short, sweet, and to the point. :smiley:

And as David and Marco have already pointed out, our religion fosters our relationship with the Holy Trinity. That’s the whole point of religion. To bring up the relevant verses again:

And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation: and to keep one’s self unspotted from this world. (James 1:26-27)

Again, bad religion is basically the lukewarm, going-through-the-motions, Christian-by-name-alone kind of deal. Good religion, on the other hand, follows Jesus’ teachings by loving our neighbors as Jesus loved us. Good religion also demonstrates our faith through this charity.

And I fail to see how Christianity would have survived without religious people. After all, one of religion’s purposes is to tell us what God’s revelation is and how we can apply that revelation to our daily lives. :shrug:

Finally, the other argument given by these Christians goes something along the lines of “religion is do; Christianity is already done.” This fails because there are many things that Jesus commanded us to do, such as:

  1. Eat His Body and drink His Blood (this is probably the most important one; our religion doesn’t get more personal than the Holy Eucharist.)

  2. Be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

  3. Take up our cross and follow Jesus

  4. If we love Jesus, we will keep His Commandments

The phrase is actually a subtext of the rejection into any sort of hierarchy that provides guidance to proper worship and belief. Akin to human relationships, they want a “do whatever you want and we’ll figure this out along the way” kind of deal.

The phrase is a false dichotomy…
The phrase tries to treat the matter as an “either or”, when in fact it is a “both and”…

The text that he quotes is a very good warning against empty practice and wrong-headed thinking. But it does not condemn “religion”…the “code of conduct” and beliefs and doctrines and guidance…
Note that in the quoted text Jesus says:
You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former
(bolding mine)
So - we see that Jesus is not dividing one part from the other but requiring that both parts be properly observed.
Go to your friend and say - Yes it is a relationship - It is also a religion. Do not make a divide where one does not exist.


It’s both.

People can’t seem to get the wrong idea of what religion is. Religion is simply a belief system with rules that designate how one is to worship, how one is to live their lives, and what moral standards they should follow. If they are claiming that Christianity isn’t a religion, then they are stating that it isn’t a fulfillment of Judaism, which is a religion. Jesus didn’t leave us without rules to follow, he didn’t leave us with no one to guide us, he left us his Church to guide and to make sure that us followers know what is sin so we can repent. Religion isn’t just a “bunch of man-made laws” as they claim. If that were the definition, then Judaism and Christianity would not be a religion, but that is not the definition. You can’t go changing the definition to fit your needs. That is how you get people to misunderstand you, that is how you lose people.

I like Jimmy Akin’s response to the viral video with the lovely, yet misguided, poem written by a nice, young Christian man with good intentions, but with bad understanding.

This video is a response to the video mentioned above by a priest who is also versed in poetry and makes a nice case.

And one final video of Patrick Coffin and Mother Miriam discuss the same video.

I notice that people who post these sort of statements are generally addressing everyone else. This FB poster seems somewhat full of himself and seems to assume that most people who serve God are only going through the motions. I would ask him if his relationship with the Almighty has afforded him the power to see other people’s hearts. If not, I would encourage him to continue to devote himself to God in his own way and to inspire others by example and not self-righteous comments.

I get the meaning. It should be and is a relationship with God, not just a done by rote, I do this for religion kind of thing.
At the same time, it is still merely a component of the religion, and of the faith. The relationship should stem from the religion–they are not separated, or one could not exsist!

Exactly. If they knew Jesus “personally” they would know that Jesus was an Orthodox Jew who valued the Law:

[BIBLEDRB]Matthew 5:17-18[/BIBLEDRB]


*clicks Like button" :smiley:

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