Christianity is a "Religion"
The Latin word from which the English word "religion" is derived means "to bind up." Jesus did not come to bind us up in rules and regulations or rituals of devotion, but to set us free to be man as God intended.
Religion is a system of beliefs or a code of moral conduct that judges (qualifies or disqualifies) a person based on their adherence and obedience to certain codes, rules, laws, traditions, or the performance of required acts.
(although Mark Driscoll is a false preacher, he does make a valid point here)
Religion (almost universally) is enforced by those in power in an attempt to maintain, increase, or abuse their power over others. Religion is the creation of man and is not the intention or design of God. A modern day example (taken from the movie “Footloose”, starring Kevin Bacon) is a preacher who believes that dancing leads to promiscuity and destructive behavior (the Bible does not speak against dancing). He uses (abuses) his influence and his position of authority to convince his congregation that dancing is evil and forbids it. He sets up rules that are not in the Bible and adds additional beliefs that Jesus never endorsed. He is trying to control the people, using their trust of his authority to force them to believe his version of the truth. He adds rules that don’t exist in the Bible. In this example, he even has good motives, but he is still being religious and this “religion” is not from God. This is so very common. People have used Jesus to justify adding so many “requirements” to being a Christian. Here are just a few of the countless examples:
- Insisting that church meet on certain days
- Only certain forms of music can be used in church
- You can’t be saved unless you are circumcised
- Reciting ritualistic prayers
- Saying you aren’t saved unless you get baptized
- You can’t eat certain foods
- Requiring you to perform rituals
- Being saved is conditional upon attending church or church membership
- Saying that you have to earn your salvation by doing good deeds
Another reason why many people are turned off by Christianity is that they think it is too restrictive. This, for the most part, is due to the way they look at the so-called restrictions that Christians observe. In the first place, they have no idea what the meaning of true freedom is. As the apostle Paul says, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Cor 6:12). God does not tell us that we cannot go to dances, watch movies, or listen to secular music. What He does tell us is this:
Christianity is a laundry list of things to do.
God has reached out to sinful man and through His only Son Jesus has offered a way to be reconciled to Himself through a personal relationship with Jesus. So Christianity is not a laundry list of things to do. There is nothing we can add to Christ’s finished work on the cross as payment for our sins.