Christ or Christianity…it can’t be both

Christian cross trans.svgIt’s either one or the other, but rarely can it be both. Today there is a distinct difference between choosing Christ or choosing Christianity. One is following the divine wisdom of Jesus, while another is adhering to a religious, man-made institution. Too often people defend Christianity over defending Jesus. However, there has been an emergence as of late. Many times you will see that people would rather define themselves as “spiritual” instead of “religious”. Naturally, this has to do with the negative connotations that accompany ‘religion’.

This may be due to the fact that Jesus told us of the harmful dangers of “religion”.

“…How terrible it will be for you experts of religious law! For you crush people beneath impossible religious demands and you never lift a finger to ease the burden.” (Luke 11:46)

“How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law- justice, mercy and faith…” (Matthew 23:23)

American Christianity has faltered quite a bit from the original intent of Jesus. Does this mean there is zero gain to going to Church? No, but it means relying on Church alone for spiritual development will leave you…well…under-developed.

We owe it to ourselves to read beyond surface considerations of Jesus’ teachings in the effort to find the spiritual truths God wishes us to discover for ourselves, for it is a truth that will eliminate the burdens of religion, law, guilt and death.

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8 Responses

  1. justin

    i think i understand your pt, and i agree. BUT you give a false dilemma i think. there is the ability to be in what is labeled “christianity” and still follow Christ. it just has become increasingly hard.

    i discuss the dangers of labeling in a book i am writing, you may wanna check it out…http://merehumanity.wordpress.com/book/our-world/merely-human/.

    peter

  2. Thanks Peter,
    I will check out your website…best of luck on your book.

  3. I use to be uncomfortable with being called a Christian because of others who call themselves Christians… You can go knock on doors in any given neighborhood and ask what faith they follow and 90 % will say they are Christian… When they have never even known the saving grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. People toss the name around and the act of going to church as if it will get them somewhere…it will, straight to the lake of fire.

    You wrote:
    We owe it to ourselves to read beyond surface considerations of Jesus’ teachings in the effort to find the spiritual truths God wishes us to discover for ourselves, for it is a truth that will eliminate the burdens of religion, law, guilt and death.

    That “Truth” is Jesus Christ, He will eliminate the burdens of religion, law, guilt and death. He paid that price for us. Thank you for your article it was insightful:

  4. Justin,
    Yes, it is a dilemma. The world needs a Church to spread the word. To gather together in a place where one can freely talk about God and His Son. A place where the life and sacrifice of Jesus can be celebrated. There are many things about Church that are necessary for a Christian life and we are told to meet together (Heb 10:25).
    You are correct; we must all be like the Bereans. The Church leaders should emphasize this, but they do not. We have the Holy Spirit to teach us about all things (1 John 2:27) and if we have the perfect teacher all we need are the questions. I think one of the ways churches get off the path is when the leaders think they must teach instead of learn along with the others.
    Anyway it is a very good subject and a problem we should try to solve, or at least talk about. Thanks for the post.

  5. Hi Justin,

    I just found your blog and have enjoyed exploring it. Learning to follow Jesus while seeking truth is my number one passion.

    I’ve been contemplating a different dilemma about being a Christian vs. a follower of Jesus. Was it ever God’s intention that “Christianity” exist in the first place? Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, the gentiles were being “grafted” into the Jewish community, New Testament teachings are from a jewish viewpoint and a lot of commentary from Paul was about how the Jews and the gentiles were to live as one community. I suspect the Christian community is missing out on a more complete understanding of God’s plan when excluding Jewish heritage and perspective. I know I have gained a lot of insight and revelation from learning more about the Jewish faith and reading the jewish perspective of the N.T. Christianity has thrown out God given Jewish customs, holidays, sabbath, and law, substituting man made ones. This is not to say there aren’t man made customs, etc. in the Jewish faith, Jesus had plenty to say about them, but just that a Christian, non-jewish, and even sometimes anti-semetic perspective looses the depth of God’s truth available. I’m curious about your perspective on this.

  6. Hi Nancy,
    the Christiany I speak of is primarily the fundamentalist movement that has came out of the 20th century, and they are, indeed “missing the point” as you have very appropriately put it.

    It is curious that we (followers of Christ) have eliminated the Jewish holidays. This is probably because early Christians and Jewish leaders were at odds…and since the Jewish leadership would not back up the Christians (thus resulting in horrific persecution from the Romans), they probably had no problem dropping their “Jewish” roots. This is just one theory.

    As far as studying the Jewish culture, I have not done that beyond reading the OT (which was a long time ago…I think I need to read it again)

  7. For Nancy and Justin,

    I think Paul states it best about, “Jewish customs, holidays, and sabbath.”

    Romans 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

    (Did you see this? “…..Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” )

    Romans 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

    ( Here is another point ” ….regardeth it unto the Lord; )

    Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

    Romans 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

    Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

    (Now Here is where it is most important!!! It is not about what day you keep the sabbath unto the Lord, it is not about if you ate a pork chop for dinner…It is about Jesus Christ! Accepting Him As Savior! Praise God! For He is The Lord of both the dead and living!)

    Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

    (and you wonder why your brother does this or that…Why true Christians have not followed this or that law or this or that day? You don’t have to worry about it, …For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ)

    Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

    Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

    Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

    ( Paul wrote this becasue they were spending their time fussing over what their brother was doing and why they were not following Jewish customs, It has nothing to do with that at all -Only Jesus Christ)

    Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

    Ro 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

    Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

    (I hope this was a blessing – I find that God’s Holy Word, Shines its light on what is most important at all times, Jesus. Because no matter what we do, all our righteousness are as filthy rags. Isaiah 63:6, and what point is truly being missed out on is, what He has done for us.)

  8. Nancy and everybody,
    We (Christians) have not disregarded Jewish holidays. All of the Jewish holidays pointed toward, symbolized, or suggested the coming of the Messiah. Because He has come (for the first time) we no longer celebrate holidays that pointed toward His coming, but we celebrate communion which is basically Passover, and Easter; the celebration of His sacrifice; because He has come and did give His life for ours. If you have read my post “Was every thing made in six days” you know I think that we have entered the seventh day and there is no reason to celebrate the coming of the seventh day. But to answer your question, yes it was God’s intention that “Christianity” exists in the first place. The Old Testament and New Testament fit together like two hands clasping.

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