If I had a pound for every time someone said to me, “I’m not religious”, then I would by now be wealthy man. There is a perception abroad that to be Christian means to be religious, observing all kinds of ceremonies and regulations. I think I surprise some people by replying, “Jesus wasn’t religious either”. But as far as I can see from the gospels He wasn’t. His primary concerns were to proclaim the kingdom of God in words and deeds, to reveal His identity as the Son of Man and Son of God, and to challenge people to believe in Him. The biggest opposition He faced came from the religious people who felt challenged by His promotion of a new way to God, and His rejection of so much man-made tradition.
I was meeting with a group of local church leaders last Thursday, and this issue came up as we begin to think how together we might reach the people in our patch. We were all agreed that what they needed was to hear the gospel of Christ, rather be offered religion which so often gets in the way of the good news we proclaim. Another minister quoted from A.W.Tozer and although I couldn’t find the quote he used later, I discover this wonderful saying:
“One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team.”
Funnily enough, when I got home, I discovered my daughter had sent me a link to this wonderful Youtube video explaining the difference between Jesus and religion. Watch it and enjoy!