Following are my message notes from the introductory talk to the series, Christianity: More than a relationship.
Christianity: More than a Relationship
One of the most influential teachings of the late 1960’s and the 1970’s was the emphasis upon people having a relationship with Jesus Christ. We can’t over emphasize how much good this unique emphasis provided to turn millions of people toward Jesus.
About 50 years later we see that the predominant world-view is significantly different than it was then, which requires us to formulate our presentation of Christianity with a different emphasis.
“Not religion, but relationship” was the hot phrase. We now know that religion without relationship is lifeless and destructive and that relationship without religion leads to absurdity.
Religion is defined as “a personal or institutional set of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion
We see all three components of religion’s definition in the life of Jesus.
Attitudes Matthew 5:3-12
Beliefs John 6:51, John 8:23, 12,
Practices Luke 4:16
Jesus, by this definition, was a religious Man.
The best I can tell, Jesus never summed up his life and teaching with, “Start a relationship with me.”
He did say, “If you love me, (then) keep my commandments.” John 14;12-17
Maybe we can say it this way: My Attitudes are in my heart and soul. My Beliefs are in my mind. My Practices are in my life.
Interestingly, the first known use of the word “religion,” is the 13th Century and the first use of the word “relationship” is 1741.
From my perspective, prior to the historically new use of the term “relationship” Christianity was understood to be an interrelated system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices.