Monthly Archives: September 2013

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I have a relationship with Christ.
And my boss.
And my landlord.
And my president.
And Satan.

All are "relationships" so they're all equal. (We'll most likely agree that's incorrect.)

My point is that the word "relationship" is meaningless unless you know what the relationship is defined by.

My relationship with my boss is defined by my contract.
My rental agreement
My president...the Constitution.

My relationship with Christ is defined by the Christian religion.

Religion (Merriam-Webster, in part)

the service and worship of God or the supernatural

I serve and worship God. This is a good thing.

a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

Attitudes and beliefs:

Belief in God (there is no such thing as an atheistic Christian)
Belief in Christ’s deity and humanity (1 John 4:2-3; Rom. 10:9)
Belief that you are a sinner in need of God’s mercy (1 John 1:10)
Belief that Christ died on the cross and rose bodily from the grave for our sins (1 Cor 15:3-4)
Belief that faith in Christ is necessary (John 3:16)

And practices

Corporate worship

This, in part, defines my "relationship" with Christ.

He's not my landlord, He is my GOD.

I cannot reject "religion" without rejecting all He has done.

Lactantius, in his "Divine Institutes" (IV, xxviii.) wrote, "We are tied to God and bound to Him [religati] by the bond of piety..."

Augustine, in his treatise "On the True Religion", says: "Religion binds us [religat] to the one Almighty God"

And we turn to Scripture:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world

This is what you deny, when you deny "religion."

If you still want to reject "religion," then reject our shared beliefs, our shared practices, reject worship and service of God, reject being bound to Him.

(By the way, this "religion" also defines my relationship with Satan. I was I am not. He s my enemy and he is defeated by Christ.)

I guess what gets me is that if one of the ways to develop an understanding of the question is to look at the way the sides treat the other, there's something interesting going on with this one.

It's a relationship. I hate religion. It's man made and it kills and it's bad.


It's both. You can't have Christianity without a relationship with Christ...but you also can't have that relationship if you don't have the terms of that relationship - defined by the religion.

Religion: worship of a deity - a set of common beliefs about that deity. Augustine wrote about "religion" having the meaning of "being bound fast"

As a people of God, we are all bound fast by our common beliefs in God: The deity of Christ and the death, burial and resurrection of Christ being central.

"Religion" is "us-centered." We are one church, one bride, one family of God.

"Relationship" is "me-centered" - my Jesus, my relationship. (note: that's not a bad thing, that personal relationship is as necessary as the "us" piece.)

I saw a baby dedication this past weekend. The thought struck me then: if there is no "bound togetherness of shared beliefs" - why have the congregation commit to helping the parents (the "us piece" bring that child up in those beliefs?

It's got to be both? You have a relationship with your spouse; it's the marriage covenant that defines what that relationship looks like.

You have a relationship with Christ; its the terms of the Christian religion that defines what that relationship looks like.