Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus
This video has been making the rounds, and I felt the need to say something about it.
So many things, where to start? First, I think that it’s very possible, likely even that this young man, and those involved in the making of this video are quite sincere. But let me be clear, the premise of the message is dead wrong. He does not make the distinction between true religion and false religion, something which the Bible does. Scripture says in James 1:26-27 (emphasis mine):
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The Bible talks about religion here as a good thing. This is why I think, regardless of how well intentioned, this video is damaging in that it can (and probably will) confuse people who don’t understand the distinction between true religion and false religion. 1
And it even talks of works as a good thing. In this video, this guy says:
Religion says do, Jesus says done
This is dismissive of anyone who is a believer in Jesus Christ doing anything. It’s dismissive of works, which indeed do play a part of a redeemed person’s life; not to save him (or her) but as a response to God’s saving them.
1 John 4:19:
We love him, because he first loved us.
1 John 14:15:
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Keeping His commandments is a work. It is not a work we can do of ourselves, it is not a work which saves us. It is a work enabled in us by the Holy Spirit. So Jesus does indeed say do. What does he say to do? To follow Him, to love Him. How do we love Him? We keep his commandments.
He says in the video:
[The church] is not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken
But this is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Church is. The Church is made up of those who are God’s people. God’s people, who have been redeemed, are to go and minister the Gospel then in the capacity which they have been called by God to do so (again, works — just not works to get salvation, but works enabled by salvation).
Jesus did not hate religion as suggested in the video, he hated dead religion. He hated false religion. He did not hate “pure religion and undefiled”.
I’m not going to respond to every single line in the video, but there are some lines I want to directly quote, and then talk about.
What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion
But this is not what the Bible says Jesus came to do. What Jesus did had the effect of abolishing dead religion; false religion. Jesus came to redeem his people from their sins. He came to seek and save those who are lost. But when they are found, what do they have? What do they get? They are redeemed, this is religion, this is true religion.
What if I told you Republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian
On this one point we agree muchly!
If Religion is so great, why has it started so many wars.
Yeah, I’m guessing the folks in the land of Canaan hated the religion of Israel. And yes, many wars have been fought in the name of false religion.
Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor
See above, this is not true religion, this is false religion according to the book of James.
…it’s just behavior modification like a long list of chores
And the problem with this is…? Our behavior should be modified if we have true religion. God’s redeemed people are a holy people.
Acting like a church kid while addicted to pornography
Yes, this is a problem, but why does this make religion bad?
acting if I was simply created to have sex and get wasted
What sort of church were you in buddy? A good, Bible believing Church (a Church of true religion by the way) would have called you to repentance.
now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness
Look, I know this rhymes, but if this is true you need to repent. It is not good to boast in anything that is of yourself, even your weakness.
(sorry, I know I said I wasn’t going to go line by line, but some of these lines I can’t help it)
if grace is water, then the Church should be an ocean.
Seriously?!? Really? I. Have. No. Words. Okay, I have one word. Hackneyed.
Alright, I’m going to stop myself here. You get the point. This video is very disturbing to me. It is not good, in fact I would call it damaging and I’ve been surprised at the people I’ve seen posting it and sharing it.
My wife, in looking this over and making editing suggestions, feels that perhaps this is a war of definitions where his definition of religion, is what I define as false religion. I still maintain that this is a problem and we must be Biblical in our thinking on this. Saying religion is bad gives people the wrong idea. ↩