Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The damaging myth of “Relationship not Religion”

by Dr. Joel McDurmon

Religion vs. Relationship” is a false choice, and is always necessarily a false choice. By erecting this false dichotomy, people display that they understand neither what religion is nor what a relationship is. As a result, they denigrate both. Certainly, Christianity is a relationship with Christ. Of course it is! But there is no relationship with Christ outside of His covenant. And a covenant is by definition a relationship establishing certain bonds—that is, a religion. Christianity is a covenantal-judicial religion (using the true meaning of the word) just as much as it is a “relationship.” In fact, the two things are inseparable. You can’t have a true relationship without true religion, and you can’t have a true religion without this proper relationship. Our relationships are established by religion, and without such at the root, relationships are perverted. All that has been accomplished by the “relationship not religion” propaganda has been to remove the church further from its true nature as a covenantal-judicial community of believers. Those who so readily use the quip “not religion but relationship” understand neither. They do not understand what religion truly is, and therefore do not understand why Christianity—all of the Bible—is at its core religion. It is covenant, and covenant is religion. God’s covenant with the elect in Christ Jesus is the only true religion—but it is religion inescapably.

What is really happening today in most circumstances when people are taught and trained in the mantra “relationship not religion” is that they are being deceived with an emotional-type of faith in place of the full judicial-oriented faith that applies to every area of life. Those that really embrace the mantra and then begin to wear it as a badge of distinction, or even superiority, are practicing a very shallow form of self-righteousness. To the extent that they are bound by this belief and practice, they are not free from religion, but only bound to a false one.

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