Yes, except the spiritually dead person is only “almost a Christian,” while the spiritually alive person is “altogether Christian,” to borrow a phrase from John Wesley. Yes, both are practicing religion, but religion can only give people the tools to fake it if they lack the real thing, which is sharing in Christ’s life, death, and victorious resurrection.
No, and I don’t think that is what is conveyed when someone says “Christianity is not a religion but a relationship”–unless the hearer wants it to mean that. When someone says it’s “not a religion but a relationship” they mean what they say.
What is a relationship? It is being in continual communication and fellowship. It is being connected. It is talking to that person. It is sharing pain, sorrow, joy, and triumphs. It is loving that person with which you are in relationship. It is vital, real, and living.
In the Christian context, that all encompasses having a life filled with the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, and partaking in the sacraments/ordinances. It involves displaying the fruits of the Holy Spirit and sharing the love of Christ through works of charity and mercy.
Well, if we are being sticklers for dictionary definitions, the word used in the New Testament was the Greek word ekklesia, which literally means “called out” or “called forth.” It was commonly used to indicate groups of individuals who were gathered together for a particular purpose, such as an assembly of the citizens of a city.
The English word “church” is derived from a Greek word kuriake via the Germanic. It means “of the Lord” as in “congregation of the Lord” or “house of the Lord.” Anyway you look at it, the original meaning of the word referred to the gathering of Christians, i.e. the body of Christ, without any connection to a specific consecrated building.
In the New Testament, we are the temple of God, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Every patch of dirt on which we step is holy ground and set apart for worship.
What’s the point of being religious without being converted?