“Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship.” How many times have you seen this statement? You may have said it yourself. The problem is that when we look at traditional definitions of religions, such as belief in a God, rituals of worship and theological doctrines, Christianity seems to fit that definition. Christianity may be more than a religion but it is not less.
Greg Paul, founding pastor of the Sanctuary in Toronto, responds to this in Resurrecting Religion. Paul takes issue with the idea that the gospel is salvation from religion and demonstrates that Christianity should be religion at its best.
For those who dislike the idea of religion, there is the problem that James in the New Testament both defines and lifts up religion. Paul’s book is really a study of the epistle of James, a book that has so much wisdom for our current culture.
According to James, religion is not a dry and lifeless legalism, but is a vibrant faith that transforms how we look at God and other people. Paul, illustrates this by sharing stories from his pastoral experience at the Sanctuary. True religion may be messy, but is beautiful.
As a person who has been uncomfortable with attacks on religion, I’m thankful for Greg Paul’s book that instead of rejecting religion, resurrects religion as something worth embracing.