more of a statement; ...

kenneth Van Der Slyus asked:

more of a statement; catholicism is a religion:Mark 7:vs 6 Christianity is a relationship with the promise from the empty grave. religion contains nothing. In reading the several items on the main page, there isn't an = between light & darkness as the good news so declares we have hope; religion doesn't.....

Jack Answered:

Thanks for your sensitivity and reaction, Kenneth, to the articles on "the main page." We have to be careful of definitions. Webster defines "religion" as "a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices." In this sense, Christianity is a religion.

However, the emphasis you are rightfully making is that no religion can save. We Christians believe that spiritual life comes through our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For this reason, we hear some say, "True Christianity is Christ." I think the articles show that one can come to know Jesus and grow in one's faith in Him in a variety of Christian denominational contexts. These contexts have grown up over the years and give evidence of the historical and cultural influences that have shaped them. None of these contexts are theologically pure and, as the Reformers discovered, all need to be continually renewed as Biblical insight reveals where there are weaknesses, gaps, or lacks.

The writers of these articles didn't find "hope" or encouragement because they found a "religion," but because they discovered (or perhaps re-discovered) in a Christian discipline or expression something that gave greater meaning to their relationship with Jesus. I have observed over the years that some young people find Jesus in a context of spiritual enthusiasm and confrontive preaching, but then as they grow older come to appreciate the quietness and more contemplative "liturgical" stye of worship. However, their children may find this context boring or remote, and so either react against it or respond to something that speaks more directly to their needs.

I agree with you that there is a difference between light and darkness, truth and error, but within the family of God there is also a place for a contrast between essentials in our Christian belief and secondary issues and emphases.

Jack

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