In my high school freshmen history class we were learning about religion. My teacher mentioned something about Christianity being a religion. As a new and immature believe, I begged to differ and went on a little rant in front of the class on how "Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship". I'm sure we've all heard the phrase or even used it. The phrase has much truth to it especially since most people think of the word "religion" as rituals and morals. That is one thing that Christianity is not (Eph 2:8-9). As I look back, I was not loving in any way especially since I called out my teacher basically saying "Who are you to say that. I'm the Christian here and you're not." I've repented since then and learned my lesson especially since he called my parents after that. Yes, although Christianity is based on a relationship with Christ, it's a "religion" none the less, at least defined by the dictionary. Religion defined in the dictionary says: Something one believes in and follows devotedly. And I believe that was the point my teacher was trying to make...sorry Mr.Radcliffe if you ever happen to read this. I still stand by my argument, that Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ and not about religious works.
I'm sure the majority of us have seen the viral YouTube video "Why I hate religion, but love Jesus" by Jefferson Bethke. As a fan and writer of spoken words, at first I was excited and in awe of his articulate rhymes. I still am in awe! He had wonderful and biblical truths in there. I had to immediately show my husband! 20+ of my Facebook friends posted it! I'm just curious to know how many people actually listened to the words. But after listening to it and reading the lyrics, i can see why respectable people all over the internet have been rebuking and correcting Bethke. What i don't want people to get from it is that Jesus HATES religion, period! I'm not going to go on about what I think about his poem, just know I think it's great and filled with so much passion! If you want to read something that I mostly agree with, read Deyoung's blog as well as Tullian's blog about it, both from The Gospel Coalition.They both have different point of views yet posses a lot of truth.
I just wanted to point out, that it's not simply "religion" we should HATE. Christ expressed grief towards the motives and self righteousness behind most religions (Matthew 23). As a Christian, if your life is devoted to Christ...well then that's a "religion"(by definition) to LOVE.
As far as Bethke goes, I praise God for his genuineness and love for people's souls!! I can tell he really wants people to understand that it's all about the gospel, Christ's work is finished. Grace is a FREE gift! Free means you don't have to work for it.