Summary: God never intended for there to be religion, which means it was man’s creation after the fall in the garden. So what now?
Moving From Religion to Relationship
The Journey Back To Eden: The Birth of Religion (Gen 1-3)
It’s a phrase we picked up somewhere between here and Amarillo, Texas.
Kellie and I saw it on a billboard, I believe it was somewhere in Tulsa, OK. We fell in love with it immediately.
“From religion to relationship” just seemed to be exactly what Crossview Community Church is striving toward in every way.
And it’s creating somewhat of a buzz with people in the community. Some have seen it on the web site. Lance told me that some of his friends saw it on the web site and it was a topic of much discussion.
The other day I was driving past my office, and I glanced over at the sign on our windows. “Crossview…moving you from religion to relationship.” What a powerful statement! But what does that really mean? And can I communicate what that means to someone else? Can you?
And then it hit me! This is the series we need for Wednesday night to equip ourselves. We may have a different definition or interpretation of what this means, so we’re going to clear it all up.
There are many questions that arise from the very beginning that have to be dealt with and answered. What is relationship? Religion? Why do we need relationship? Religion? What purpose(s) do they serve?
Let’s start here: What is religion? How would you define it? I’m curious. "Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe" is what good ole Webster says.
Literally religion means, “to bind fast” or “to bind again.” In Latin, RE means "again" and LIGARE means to tie or to bind.
The French and Middle English word come from this same idea. And listen what else I found in the dictionary.
A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion (dictionary.com)
An orderly life so far as others are able to observe us is now and then produced by prudential motives or by dint of habit; but without seriousness there can be no religious principle at the bottom, no course of conduct from religious motives; in a word, there can be no religion (Paley).
Religion . . . means the conscious relation between man and God, and the expression of that relation in human conduct (J. Kostlin; Schaff-Herzog Encyc.).
Specifically, conformity in faith and life to the precepts inculcated in the Bible, respecting the conduct of life and duty toward God and man; the Christian faith and practice (dictionary.com)
Strictness of fidelity in conforming to any practice, as if it were an enjoined rule of conduct (dictionary.com)
The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of gods having power over their destiny, to whom obedience, service, and honor are due; the feeling or expression of human love, fear, or awe of some superhuman and overruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies, or by the conduct of life; a system of faith and worship; a manifestation of piety (dictionary.com).
Whew! Sounds like there are as many different (though similar) definitions as there are theologians!
“Religion” has come to mean what we do when we’re all together; the things we "do" in our meeting times. Religion is the systematic, sometimes ritualistic way in which we express to God and others what we believe about Him.
Religion in a very real sense is man’s way of trying to bridge the gap between mortal and immortal, the finite and infinite, the temporary and the eternal.
Religion is the way in which we live our lives as we wait for something better on the other side. Now I want to blow you away. I’ve discovered something that prior to this discussion I had not considered.
I don’t believe God ever intended for there to be religion. I don’t believe “religion” was created by God. I believe that religion was man’s creation, and was never part of what God wanted from His people.
Why do I believe this? What’s my evidence? I’m going to show you from the Text. Turn to Genesis 1. Let’s look at the definition of “relationship” from the very beginning.
Without reading the details, here’s what happened. God took matter, void and formless, and made beauty. God made perfect harmony in every aspect of His creation. Light and dark sets the days. Harmony in the universe with planets rotating around the sun, moon rotating around the earth. Tides/seasons. Plants are seed bearing and can reproduce themselves. Animals, male and female, reproduce after themselves. Birds and fish and all creatures are in perfect harmony with each other. Oxygen and cardon dioxide work together.