Christianity Is Not A Religion

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  March 21, 2015

            Technically, Christianity is a religion. It is one among many diverse religions, and within the broad category of Christianity there are countlessly diverse expressions of religious faith. If, however, Christianity is simply one’s religion and nothing more, it is possible such a person is not fully living the Christian life. They may be simply living a religious one. Worse yet, they may be living an idolatrous one.
            Religion is very important to humanity. Throughout all of recorded human history, nearly every culture has cultivated a religious ideology. It likely originates in that part of our mind that God intentionally created to desire a relationship with our Creator. Quite understandably, diverse cultures have developed vastly diverse means of understanding and fulfilling that created longing for God’s presence.
            For those who profess the religious beliefs understood as Christianity, that connection to God is found through the risen presence of Jesus Christ. On this central truth of the Christian religion, most Christians can agree. Then enters the easy temptation of idolatry.  
            Consider the areas of great division and even rancorous anger that tend to divide churches, Christians, and even families who profess devotion to Jesus Christ. I am guilty of it. Quite likely, you are guilty as well. Honestly, it is a sin with which we all struggle!
            As Christians we fall under Christ’s “Great Commission” found in Matthew 28:19-20. It is a simple call to go out, make disciples, baptize believers, and teach everything Christ taught. Yet, many Christians get hung up on distinctions and labels that fall outside of that parameter. Rather than making disciples, we worry about worship styles. Rather than baptizing believers, we get hung up on who uses the correct amount of water. Rather than teaching all the things Jesus taught, we argue over theological priorities and accurate biblical interpretations.
            So many Christians are labeled according to assumptions regarding the church they attend rather than the authenticity of their relationship with God. Worse yet, too many believers have become so put out by churches that preach doctrine over faith, they increasingly count themselves among that “spiritual but not religious” classification who no longer attend any church.
            As Christians, it is time we stop thinking of ourselves in religious terms. Yes, according to demographic and sociological categories, we practice the Christian religion. Then again, when did Christians let secular society determine and designate our faith for us?
            Christianity is more than just a religion. It is a way of life that is born in the waters of baptism, lived in discipleship, and spread in teaching the love of Christ. Rather than trying to convert people to our preferred understanding of Christian doctrine, tradition, interpretation, and practice, we need to spend more time simply living Christ in everyday life—Christ’s love, Christ’s teachings, Christ’s compassion, and Christ’s grace.
            There is truly “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all who is above all and through all and in all,” as the writer of Ephesians illustrates in 4:5-6. That singular unity is lived out in the beautiful diversity of Christian experience. The minute a Christian limits the one-ness of God exclusively to one’s own religious experience, Christian life is reduced to religion and rather than bringing people to our Risen Lord and Savior, such religious adherents only recruit to an idolatrous religious expression. It is not God, and ultimately will fail to truly serve God.