The Difference between Jesus and Christianity


a Jewish JesusOn the night before he was crucified, Jesus said something to his disciples so beautifully profound that it changed their lives. Ironically, this same statement has also been badly misused by future generations of Christians. It began when Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, asked him this question: “Lord, you say you’re going back to God. How can we find our way back way to God, too?” [John 14:5, my paraphrase]

In response, Jesus said,

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6-7).

To put it another way, Jesus was trying to say, “Thomas, I am the way to God, and the truth and the life you seek. I’m the way because when you know me, you know God, and when you look at me, you’re also looking at the face of God. Since I am he, don’t look anywhere else for what you seek. You’ve found him already.” That was Jesus’ way of assuring Thomas and countless other disciples, myself included,  that in Jesus is the way, the life, and truth we’ve always been looking for.

But many Christians have taken hold of this beautiful verse and have used it to say quite emphatically to our non-Christian neighbors, “Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, the only life, and the only way to the Father. You can’t come to God unless you come to him and convert to Christianity.” I join a lot of people in shuddering at the way some people misuse Jesus’ statement about himself.

As a disciple of Jesus, I believe he is God who has come in the flesh, both fully God and fully human. So I believe what Jesus is saying about himself when he invites his disciples and anyone else to come to him and to discover the life, the way, the truth and the fullest expression God. I mean, just give a fresh read to the gospel accounts of Jesus from the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and you’ll find the reason why billions upon billions of people through the ages, both Christians and non-Christians alike, have flocked to this man and love him.

But many, very understandably, have stopped short at the doors of the Christian church and have said, “No, thank you.” One such prominent example was Mahatma Gandhi who once said,

I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. The materialism of affluent Christian countries appears to contradict the claims of Jesus Christ that says it’s not possible to worship both Mammon and God at the same time.

The problem is Christianity has often done Jesus a great disservice. Some of you reading this post already have a bad taste of suspicion or even disdain in your mouth because of the ways Christians have betrayed the true spirit and person of Jesus. (I have to admit that my life has at times betrayed him, too. I’m very much a work in progress!) Christianity is a diverse culture and organization which has a long history of being both faithful and unfaithful. Christianity has spawned and revolved around God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ is not Christianity.

So, I want to make a very clear distinction for both my Christian and non-Christian readers. There is and always has been a clear line of demarcation between what God has accomplished in Jesus Christ and the religion of Christianity. If Christianity can remember this principle, then it will always remain in a constant state of reform in order to be more faithful to Jesus. If non-Christians can understand this, they might have the freedom to explore and believe in Jesus without the worst of Christianity to to contend with. Perhaps non-Christian believers in Jesus can be Jesus Christ’s Church (the community of his disciples) in a way that might shine the light of Christ into the Christian world and into their version of the Church. Wouldn’t that be a sight to be behold??

I’m not saying here that Christianity is all bad or that it’s wrong to be a disciple of Jesus as a Christian. Christianity and Christians come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are more faithful to Jesus than others. There have been and continue to be Christians who are model disciples of Jesus. Without deceiving myself, I hope to be one.  There are wonderful Christian congregations out there who truly embody what it means to be the Church, the community of Jesus’ disciples and his Living Body and presence in the world. As a pastor in a Christian church, I work to make my congregation more faithfully one of those.

But let’s be clear: there is a major difference between believing, trusting, and giving our lives to Jesus and converting to the religion of Christianity. The former may happen within the later, but it doesn’t have to and it won’t for a great many people, including, in many instances, people of other faiths.

Will much of the world come back to its Creator through Jesus Christ who died and rose for the salvation of the world? I believe so, yes. The grace of God leaves out no one. Admittedly, I don’t know how that will happen; I simply believe it will. And yes, some will inevitably reject God and his Son and lose out on life. However, not all those who come to know and follow Jesus will be of the Christian religion, and that’s fine by me! I welcome them as my brothers and sisters in one common faith…

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44 Comments

Filed under Christian thought, Reflections

44 responses to “The Difference between Jesus and Christianity

  1. I agree. Christians are now defined as anyone who BELIEVES in Christ and His redemption for our sins. However, we should do more than believe and try our best to strive to be more like Christ.
    I have one question, though. You speak of Christianity as a different religion from those who follow Jesus instead of a misguided religion. What is your definition of Christian?
    Also, how can one follow Jesus without being a Christian?

    • Hello there- Without splitting hairs too much, I’m trying to separate out the religion of Christianity from Jesus himself. The two are not one in the same. One can certainly be a follower of Jesus and a Christian. Christians, however, have the constant pitfall of Christian religiosity, i.e. Christian culture, institutional rules and expectations, traditionalism, and narrow theological dogmatism, to avoid. Or to put it more simply, a Lakota Sioux pastor I know often says, “You need to get rid of your religion and hold on to Jesus.” That’s really at the heart of what I’m trying to say!

      Chris

      • Oh, that clarifies it, thank you. :]
        How prevalent do you think the problem of people being Christian instead of a follower a Jesus is? I see a lot of people who are self proclaimed Christians, but I also know a lot of people who live solely for God.

      • In short, it’s a big problem! That’s why I’m risking the ire of many institutional Christians in pointing out the difference. We Christians tend to do one of two things: 1) Make an idol of Jesus to be the kind of Jesus we’re needing at the moment. Or 2) We mistake involvement in the religious practices and beliefs of Christianity for an authentic discipleship under Jesus in which we live for him and conform our lives to his teachings and his way. I’ve been guilty of both and am in reform, myself!

        Chris

      • I’m curious about your opinion in this: do you think the separation of Christianity into many denominations is a result of the religious problem of our faith?

      • From my thinking, it’s the result of our human brokenness playing out in the Church. I think the way to repair that is to honor the distinctness of each denomination and to find in each one their unique contribution to the kingdom.

      • John

        “constant pitfall of Christian religiosity, i.e. Christian culture, institutional rules and expectations, traditionalism, and narrow theological dogmatism”

        So if it’s Christian culture, traditionalism, and theological dogmatism we should avoid… then why go to church? I mean if it’s a personal relationship with Jesus that I should have, then all I need is a Bible and some time to pray.

    • Yvonne Jackson

      Absolutely loving JESUS is the key, then being like him Will follow, because if we truly love JESUS we will obey.

  2. Tom

    Although I believe with you on the separation of Jesus and “religion” I disagree with the separation of Jesus and Christian. Religion is not at all what God had in mind when He started the church, but “Christan” means Christ-like which is the ultimate goal of every true follower of Jesus. I know it isn’t a “bible” term, as it was originally a mocking word used by those who persecuted “The Way” as we were originally known. I think, like you, that the word definitely has a stigma attached to it, and for good reason, and that we as true followers of Christ need to show forth the true heart of Christ to a lost world which is searching for meaning. A very large job, but thankfully God is up to the task.

    Funny thought, that Jesus was unacceptable to the “religious” when He came, and how little has changed with all our advancements. He really opens your mind to new things if you let Him. I agree with you totally that Christians were never supposed to be a “close-minded” group.

    • That’s a fair criticism, Tom, and ordinarily I would have agreed with you that Christ-like is automatically synonymous with Christian. But between the stigma attached to Christian and Christianity and the length to which many so-called Christians have gotten away from true discipleship, replacing it for “churchianity”, I think we’re at the point that we can safely separate Jesus and authentic discipleship from much of Christianity. And as I said in the post, not all Christians and not all of Christianity is bad or unfaithful. But it’s a healthy corrective if we can stand on the biblical faith of Jesus and peer into Christianity from there in order to see what’s good and what needs reforming.

      Chris

  3. Tom

    wow. Chris, you nailed on the head with that one. I have been saying the same thing. lol

  4. I have often thought that that quote from John has been overemphasized. He is reassuring his disciples that they are not really losing their friend and teacher. I don’t know whether it is a statement about salvation at all. If it were, wouldn’t John have written ‘I am salvation?’ This was a concept possessed by the Judaic faith at the time, since salvation was thought of as a quality of belief in the scriptures and prophets. It is certainly an attempt to set Jesus up as a prophet, and to supplant the others once and for all. And this sense, which seems indirect, salvation is being implied.

    But then again, with the Hebrew prophets since Abraham supplanted, since their vision was meant to lead up to the Messiah’s arrival, why is salvation needed at all anymore as a concept? Isn’t the world redeemed through Christ’s acts of sacrifice—not just the crucifixion, but his rejection of home and family, his wandering in the wilderness, his confrontation with evil, and all his trials? Salvation seems to be a doctrine of the Church, a price of admittance to the institution rather than the doctrine of Jesus, which is in the Sermon on the Mount, and which basically preaches against all forms of earthly power. Including, one might add, the Church.
    TOG

  5. I understand that you’re trying to make a point that you don’t convert to Christianity, but instead, follow Jesus. I agree 100%.

    But I’m still a bit confused on what you’re saying from this, “But many Christians have taken hold of this beautiful verse and have used it to say quite emphatically to our non-Christian neighbors, “Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, the only life, and the only way to the Father. You can’t come to God unless you come to him and convert to Christianity.”

    So, what are you saying? Is there another way to come to God other than through Christ alone? I know that all truth is God’s truth, but it’s ingrained in me that only through Jesus is there salvation (and that pesky eternal life thing).

    In another direction, I’ve found that many believers don’t like to use the word “religion” but instead prefer to use “faith.” Myself included. Yet, I’ve also found that outside of the church crowd, most people don’t have a clue what you mean when you say, “I have a strong faith.” But know exactly what you mean when you say, “I’m pretty religious.” I think sometimes we pat ourselves on the back because we think we’re safe from religion if we use the word “faith.” But beyond our church world, there’s little difference, you’re the same type of person whether you describe yourself as “religious” or “having a faith.”

    • I think what Jesus WOULD NOT shut up about during his life, was the insanely close connection between himself and God – Jesus, God – God, Jesus. They’re interchangeable.
      I know alot of people, ‘churched’ and ‘unchurched’ (*shudders at the terminology*) that struggle with the concept of Jesus – but that doesn’t mean they struggle with the concept of God, and if they are one in the same, part of me just wants to shout – who cares?!!

      and sadly, however beautiful and warm and comforting the vision is to some people, this great widely accepted vision that one day, if the world were perfect, the world would be coming into our churches and singing our songs and using our cringey termonology – I don’t think it will happen.
      God? I really hope it doesn’t.
      Sounds like hell on earth to me.

      Hillsong for the world?
      no thanks.
      The beautiful people of Africa, or Greece, or Birmingham – they have their own flipping culture and colours, and ways of understanding God – let them!

      essentially Jesus was a forgiving God, and if that simple truth that God is love and he forgives is all that we have in common with people outside the church – I don’t think It makes them wrong, or misinformed, or missing something.
      I think it makes them beautiful.

      There is something innately stunning about a truth that is both simple and saving.

      All the spills and frills of Christianity never helped me become closer to God, even though I thought they would – so I wish everyone without these frills but with an awareness of God, and hope, and love… a very happy, long and revolutionary life!

      I like Chris’ interpretation of the verse, its something to think on.

  6. liamrobb

    As a non-Christian I found your post very refreshing and you present some interesting ideas that I only wish were more wide-spread. Unfortunately, Christianity can carry with it a label or a reputation, something that can only be blamed on the people who used it to serve their own purposes and continue to do so. It’s a shame that you must make a distinction between what we know as Christianity and the teachings of Jesus, but like you seem to be saying I see a very clear divide between a message of love and peace – and whatever on earth we’ve been largely seeing in the last two thousand years.

    Thank you for your thoughts on this; as someone who is usually met with harsh stubbornness or a declaration of hellfire when engaging in people who associate with Jesus’ teachings, you’re a breath of fresh air!

  7. Lorraine Davis

    I am not sure I understand how “somone of a different religion ” can also be a follower of Christ ? What “other religion ” is there that would be compatible with the teachings of the Bible ? How could a person be both buddist and follow Christ ,hindu and follow Christ , muslim and follow Christ ? ………what about putting no other God’s before the one and only true God ? When asked if he were a Hindu Ghandi once said ,”Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.” this can not make any sense you can not be all of these things . In the end Ghandi was a wonderful man full of good works who without pronouncing Jesus Christ as the one true way to the father and the only way to Heaven he is a great man who will go to hell . Being a wonderful “christ-like ” person is a great trait to have (and we should all strive to be christ-like) but will not save us from Hell . Only a belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God who died on the cross to pay for our sins and then rose again is going to get you to Heaven . I think some people seeking answers could take your blog the wrong way and think it means you could have many Gods, many faiths and still go to Heaven as long as you were Christ like in action.

    • Lorraine, thanks… I think the quick answer to your question is that yes, they would abandon beliefs and ways that contradict a trust and life with Jesus. But that does not mean that they would convert to the religious system of Christianity as we know it. Think of the Magi from Matthew 2. They found Jesus through their own religion and worshipped him. My guess is that their life of worshipping and following Jesus would have been very different from ours considering the culture and religion they came from. Just a thought… My bottom line is that we stand on the faith of Jesus Christ, not a religious system of Christianity, and we offer Jesus Christ, not a religious system. We need to be keenly aware of the difference.

      Chris

      • There’s an interesting book I read a few years ago, Eternity in their Hearts. In essence, the author describes how cultures across the globe already have a redemption story with a Jesus figure in it. He explains that if you can find the story and explain who their redemption figure really is, within the parameters of their culture and expression, then you can bring the Gospel to them seamlessly. Without the hang-ups of Western Christianity. http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Their-Hearts-Startling-Throughout/dp/0830709258

      • Lorraine DAvis

        O.K I think I get what you are saying now. A person can follow Christ and his teachings while still upholding his customs and culture as long as those customs or cultural things do not directly conflict with scripture ? ……If that is what you are saying I completely agree . I have always thought that God does not care how we worship him , what songs we sing or how we dress he examines our hearts and if our hearts are in relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that is what saves us . The rest is just details .

  8. Chase Hunter

    That is one of the more confusing essays I have ever heard from a Christian minister. I was left at the end with a “say what?” look on my face.

    Good luck with explaining your position to the Heavenly Father.
    Only he could understand what you just wrote.

    Shaking my head in confusion

    { and I am a gay Christian… chuckling…. so I don’t matter anyway do I?]

    Chase

    here’s what I am doing these days……..why not follow me, since you are so confused.

    http://333crucible.wordpress.com

    Bye

    • Chase, I’m sorry you felt that way. I’m unpacking and weaving through a lot of crucial concepts however imperfectly. It might help if you share some specifics with me of what you could affirm and what confused you. And BTW, I know a number of gay and lesbian Christians. I look forward to reading your blog.

      Chris

  9. Ibelieve

    Very interesting Chris! I also struggled with exclusiveness of Christianity for many years. Jesus says in Luke 5: 31 And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.

    32″I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
    This passage says to me that those who are right with God are already in Heaven.

  10. Dr. Philip B Terry-Smith

    Chris, your pondering here are both profound, controversial and so refreshing and enlightened. I think you have begun a dialogue that will encouraged many to reflect on their faith and connection with GOD and view, with a very different light the role of the “church” in our spiritual life. There are many paths to GOD. Is it not presumptuous of us humans…believers and non-believers…christian and non-christian alike…to assume that the creator has only manifested in one form!?

    Clearly the passage you quote gives a path and profound insights for one to reach the kingdom and it is ironic that some who profess to be “christian” and “the church of Christ” have spent more time, energy and life-force building an empire that one must pass through BEFORE reaching or “going through Christ” than they have at being disciples and servants who through their life, love, compassion and simple example, shine light on the path to the creator and true salvation.

    I applaud your work here and pray that others will see your words as a wake up call or at the least pause and reflect long enough to understand and appreciate that our omni-present GOD, our divine creator, has and continues to manifest in many forms and through Christ has illuminated one of many paths that lead to the kingdom…and in the same profound act of compassion, has given us a living example, challenge and mandate on how to live ones life. I shudder at the exploitation and outright disavowing that so many who profess to be “christian” have and continue to do in the name of the “church”

    I regret that so many who profess to be disciples reflect day-to-day hatred, bigotry and are the antithesis to all that Christ is and provides. I close by saying that as you know, I am a non-christian, but I celebrate and honor those who are true disciples of Christ and those that truly understand the paths to GOD.

    Spirituality is such a private and individual quest and I am delighted that you have opened a dialogue so that perhaps others may see that there are paths, that do not necessarily require falling prey to false prophets in all of their many manifestations; and that some professes to be “christian” and the “church” of Christ but are nothing more that the evil spirit incarnate and are unfortunately leading flocks away from the love, teachings and life of Christ and have gone above and beyond to illuminate a path AWAY from GOD.

    May you continue to be blessed in your work and may that beautiful light that is Christ continue to shine in and through you.

    • Hi Phil- It’s great to hear from you, my friend! And thank you for all your encouragement, too… It’s funny. One of my friends told me that someone could read this post and take away from it whatever they want! That may be good and bad. At least, it opens the door for conversations with people that I might not otherwise have. I still hold that Jesus is the fullest expression of God’s self and God’s saving of the world. Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection is the good news for the whole world, for every person of every faith and walk of life. The problem is that Christians have either badly appropriated that message or turned it into a vehicle to get people to join their religion. (Frankly, it reminds me of the Borg from Star Trek.) Let’s take you, for example. Hypothetically, would it be possible for someone like you to fully embrace Jesus and follow him without the trappings of Christianity to worry about? That’s what I was trying to get at…

      Chris

  11. I think I am understanding your message as one of inclusiveness as compared to the isolationist mentality the western church has been known for. The desire to reach out to all people and let everyone know that God loves everyone. Right?

    My only real problem is in your quote from John. Jesus says He is THE way and THE truth and THE life. He is not A way, he is the only way. No come to the Father except through me. I don’t think that verse has really been misinterpreted, unless you are trying to say He didn’t say that He is the Christian way.

    I have my own issues with the western church, so I am not defending them. Christianity is the name usually associated with acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God and salvation only through Him. The name came about as an insult to those early believers and not what they were originally calling themselves. Between Catholicism and the denominations that splintered off from it, we are where we are now; facing a history of persecution and discrimination we are trying to break away from.

    The message of Jesus doesn’t work with other religions. Muslims believe in Him, but not the way the Christian Bible portrays Him. Jesus is pretty much an either or. Either you follow Him or you don’t. You don’t just add Him in to your current belief structure to get a little variety. I worry about watering down the Gospel so more people will be accepting to it.

  12. Tom

    I have been reading comments left by your viewers, and must say I have a concern with what you have wrote. When you quoted the verse in John 14:6 and said that Jesus wasn’t saying He was the only way it left me with some concern. And with many of your readers, including one who states that there are many paths to God, saying that Jesus isn’t the only way I felt must add my voice to the discussion.

    Because Jesus ended that verse by saying “no one comes to the Father but by me” would mean that He is saying He is the only way. Peter reflects this statement when He says in Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Peter, says there is only one way to heaven, through Jesus.

    And Paul adds in Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” The gospel, or message of Jesus, is the power of God unto salvation, and only His message. The same cannot be said for the message of anyone else.

    Scripture is very clear on this fact. I could reference many more verses. In fact it is a foundational truth. However we have screwed it up, like we always do, and have taken away from the simple truth that Jesus was trying to share and have made being “Christian” about so much more. So I agree with you totally on the separation from our “religious” form of Christianity and our faith in an loving and saving God. I blogged my own thoughts about it in my blog http://tssanders.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/religion-vs-relationship/

    Christianity was meant to be a welcoming and inviting faith, where everyone could feel welcome and accepted. Instead we have turned it into a country club with exclusive access given only to those who are “acceptable” to us. So in that regard I completely agree with you. We are not at all what God intended, and need to reform. However that cannot remove Jesus from His proper place, that He put Himself in, as the only way to God. Otherwise, we just simply have another “club” that helps people “feel good” about themselves and little else.

    • Tom, see my clarifications on John 14:6 in my just-published post. That might help a little… I’m certainly not saying there are many paths to God. Perhaps I’m trying to say that there are many paths to Jesus… other than Christianity as we’ve come to know it. And hey, if all of this shakes the tree and gets us to think a little more deeply, all the better!

      Chris

  13. Pingback: Another Look at John 14:6– What Does Jesus Really Mean? « Pastor Chris Owens – - Musings, Rants, and Reflections

  14. dreadpiratescetis

    Avast ye harty! I be the Dread Pirate Scetis. I found your port through WordPress suggestion and I thought I would need to hit the grog, turn port-side and fire all my cannons at you. But alas, I see a good, heartfelt and compassionate description of what it means to be a Christian. No judgment yet a doctrinally correct explanation. Ye have a real view of the church and what is wrong with many Christians out there.

    I tip me hat to ya matey! Smooth sailings!

  15. Pingback: Ghandi’s Self-Righteous Rejection of Christ « The Quest of Coming Together

  16. Another interesting perspective Chris! Having gone through the Roman Catholic approach to Christianity, I can’t begin to tell you how none of it ever felt welcoming and/or loving, as in perhaps how Jesus likely acted when he was here.

    I know you weren’t specifically addressing that, but it still struck me that many Churches, in my opinion, don’t create a Jesus-like atmosphere (I’m not even sure what that would be like). As I read more and more, and as I would like to understand who Jesus really was, I just cannot match it up to some of the Churches/Denominations that seem to have their own spin on The Word.

    At this point in my life, I’m not very likely to return to belief in any gods, but I have to say that I would genuinely have enjoyed meeting and speaking with Jesus while he was here walking among us. I’m fairly certain that he was beyond cool to hang out with!

    Your blog is refreshing to me as an atheist! I know that probably doesn’t mean a whole lot, but to me, the world needs more people like you. Thanks!

    • Hi Jetson- I’m glad we can be in conversation together. My heart gets broken every time I hear stories like yours, and believe me, I share them with the churches I work with to warn and encourage them to be more like the person (Jesus) they worship. On the other hand, there are churches and people who truly are authentically Christ-like. I have a feeling that if you encountered them, you’d get very close to having the conversation with Jesus you’re looking to have. Hopefully without risking being too preachy on you, something Jesus said might encourage you: “”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). Hope to keep hearing from you, Jetson!

      Chris

  17. Hello again, sir. I really enjoy your posts. As you kindly visited my blog, I’m sure it was clear to you I am of a spiritual inclination, but without any specific title. Awash in a sea of religious mis-information, it’s refreshing to see a man of the cloth so friendly and welcoming. Sad to say, but true, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible to you. I look forward to your essays. Thank you.

    • Hi there- Yes, I could clearly see that you are one spiritually open and seeking person! I was really fascinated to see all the different strains of spirituality you weave yourself through. I think a LOT of people share a similar hangup with you: in the sea of religious information and misinformation, who or what do you trust? It seems a lot safer to be non-committed to something than risk getting hurt committing yourself. Hopefully without running the risk of sounding like another piece of religious mis-information, I’d like to share with you something that Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

      Chris

  18. We recently moved to a new town and the number one question we have been asked by locals, friends and family is – Have you found a church yet? Well. I thought I had. In the Family of Christ. Have we found a building in town that is filled with people who have our personality and style? No. But I’m still part of “the church”. This tiny town is still promoting Christianity. Conforming to their Church. Love, fellowship, grace, mercy has yet to be seen from this outsider. I was asked to leave a church because I had a metal coffee cup with a lid, filled with coffee instead of water. How to do we get people to quit promoting Christianity? Sanctuary? Dress Codes? Rituals? Food? Drink? Speaking? Praying for this town, and for all of the churches promoting Christianity as a culture, instead of Christ as the Creator, Savior and Giver of Joy.

    • Hello pebblekepper- You’ve given a practical example of what I mean… Thank you so much for leaving that comment! If I were to ever write a book on this concept, that’s an example I would love to use.

      Chris

  19. Amen Brother! We at Saved Life are also trying to show the difference between Jesus and religion. It is a tender situation sometimes. My belief is Jesus looks different to each one of us because we all experience Him differently. I have an exercise that I use with my students to prove this point. I will give each one of them a piece of paper and something to write with. Next I will read them a Scripture from the New Testament. I will ask them to write down what they think that Scriptures means to them. Although, most of their answers are in the same”ballpark”, the Scriptures have their own significant meaning to the individual. My relationship with Christ is mine. It is unique because it is mine and I am unique. I am one of many unique and beautiful children of God. He made each one of us with our own special abilities, gifts, and talents to use for His purpose. A personal relationship with God has been and is the most important thing in my life. We are about to embark on a Coast to Coast benefit ride for the homeless and to promote Christian Living. We must get back to basics. Back to our roots as Christians! God Bless!

    http://savedliferide.wordpress.com/

    • Wow… God bless you and your work! I’m glad to have some sisters and brothers out there who are getting back to the basics with discipleship under Jesus Christ. Please keep me posted with your endeavors!

      Chris

  20. Kevin Feliciano

    Pastor Chris, do you write books? Because i wanted to read more about this. I feel that i need to learn more..

  21. Pastor Chris,
    I just found your blog and am thoroughly blessed. I spent some time yesterday reading through most of your articles that you wrote in January 2010. I especially liked this post and the others about Jesus, Christianity, and idolatry. Idolatry can take many forms. As I read through your articles I started writing an article about idolatry here ( http://live-anew.com/node/484) Yes, there is a difference between following God and following religion. I’ve learned that through experience. (You can read part of my story here: http://live-anew.com/node/485 )
    I really appreciate you writing so plainly about the difference between Jesus and Christianity. This is a message that needs to be given to people.
    In the last few years I also have been doing a lot of thinking and writing on a similar vein. I’ve realized that the religion of Christianity was so indwelt in my way of thinking that I do much research and writing. I want to be free of that man-made religious way of thinking. I like to find others (such as yourself) who are teaching a message of freedom. Using what I’ve learned in counseling, in struggling through live, and from other authors, I been working on a website (see above links) where I’m rethinking much of what I’ve been taught. You have given me much to think about, which I appreciate.
    Best Wishes,
    Stephen

  22. Just as Jesus Christ admitted that he didn’t know everything at that time he was here in the 1st Century A.D., the problem ‘THE WAY’ had was the forcible conversion (said to be done by Jesus) of a notorious politician called Saul! Was this politician not the one who had to become anything to anybody, ‘to gain some for the Christ’? Which involves lowering standards, and the converts knowing what happened will see ‘Christianity’ in that light. Jesus’ conversion of Saul was like snatching Osama bin Ladin to puncture the strenght of El Ka-eda. ‘THE WAY’ became what a politician (you know them) felt he would take advantage of its fast growing acceptance; the same thing that made Emperor Constantine embrace Chiristianity’s Cross.

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