Giving Faith ‘Another’ Bad Name
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
It’s Not a Religion!
Yes it is.
I’ll explain. In the original Greek, the word religion is ‘threskeia’ and it refers primarily to an external worship of our Lord that consists of ceremonies such as baptism, communion, holy matrimony, discipleship, not to mention the internal aspect of our faith as well. The Greek root (threskos) for our word ‘religion’ means to fear or worship God.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. Psalm 19:9; 22:23; 25:14
Why We Say, “It’s Not a Religion, It’s a Relationship”
What do you think of when I say the word gay? There’s your answer. Christians don’t use the word religion (properly) for the same reason we don’t use other words. Through the years certain words have become defiled and man has taken it upon himself, without any authority, to change the definitions. And rather than reclaim the language; rather than redeem the words; we toss them aside and create new ones. As a result if you choose to use the religious (or gay) designation, you will be erroneously labeled and cast aside as well.
The Other Reason…
The other reason we have tossed aside the ‘R’ word is because of the ‘seeker-friendly church’ movement whose major theme essentially is to not offend people and, as we are painfully aware, people are offended by what the word religion has become. So instead of discipling these new-believers, bringing about understanding through clarification, we tossed our hands in the air and proclaimed, “You’re right! Religion is a four-letter word, but we’re not about religion here, we’re about relationship!”
“Oh, you’re not about external worship of our Lord that consists of, but is not limited to ceremonies such as baptism, communion, holy matrimony, discipleship, etc.”
“Oh no, ” we tell the newbies, “We’re all about that stuff, we just don’t call it ‘religion’ anymore because; well you’re not going to believe this, but sinful man messed up the word.”
And they continue…
“And we know that you probably know a religious person who sinned and gave the word a bad name, so we don’t call it religion anymore, we call it a ‘relationship.’ ”
“So you’re all ‘relationists’ now?”
“Oh, Ok, you’re Christians”
“Umm…Well you see, we don’t really use the word Christian any longer. Some of us still do, but that word is on the way out.”
“Pretty much the same reason why we don’t use the word ‘religion’ anymore. In fact, we’re already working on a new word because we have noticed that there are some people giving ‘followers of Christ’ a bad name.”
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 1 Corinthians 11:1-2
I Know Tiger Woods and You’re No Tiger Woods
If you ever saw me play golf you could rightly say that what I was doing was not golf. The fact of the matter is that if you were somehow able to observe all golfers, you could proclaim of at least ninety percent of them that what they were doing was not golf either. However, what you could not declare based on your observations is that because most people have given golf a bad name, “We’re no longer golfers—we are now called, ‘followers of a funny looking ball.’ ”
That’s absurdity and that’s exactly what we’re doing now. Yesterday we tossed out the word religion and soon we will toss aside the label Christian (people have already begun doing it), and trust me, as soon as we give ‘followers of Jesus’ a bad name we will toss that tag aside as well. It’s time to stop the lunacy.
I am proud to say that I ascribe to a religion that worships my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Aside from ‘belief’, there is nothing within the bounds of my religion that I have to do, but praise the Lord, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that I get to do. If my being religious offends you, then you have likely accredited a worldly definition to a most wonderful word.
The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25