Are you religious?

By Not Known

In 2002, Fritz Ridenour wrote a book entitled, “How to be a Christian without Being Religious.” It was a book that questioned religiosity. He asks: Do you sometimes feel you have been trapped into playing a game called “Church”?  The book goes on to show why religion has failed and points readers to the way of being Christians without being religious.

While there is some truth about what this book proposes, there are also some issues that we need to address as believing and practicing Christians. True, people can be religious without necessarily being Christian. Yet, we have to understand the definition of being religious.

To be religious, according to James 1:19-26, is to be truly a follower of Christ, a disciple. This person has given his heart and life to Christ and is doing everything he can to follow Him in obedience. This is why James says that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14ff).

Being Christian is not about being involved in rituals but about being doers of the word. It is about the manifestation in our conduct as dictated by the change inside us. It is not about never ever missing church services weekly, but about how we would respond when we are confronted by things that would test our godly reactions.

James was writing in the culture of his day. He was writing to believers who were persecuted throughout the Roman Empire. He was directing his words at the religious hypocrisy of his times. He was focusing on those who had a form of religiosity but were empty spiritually inside them. True religion is revealed by actions.

This is what the book of Acts is about. It does not just record for us meditations of the apostles but their acts. The title of the book suggests movement, progress, and initiative. It sets the pace and points to the principles of discipleship: action.

In a world that needs love, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, peace and salvation, while some are out there preaching on them, few are actually modelling them. Discipleship is about living the life of obedience and acting out the Gospel in diverse and difficult situations. It is about you and I being there to tell others by our lives what the Gospel is. Follow the Acts of the Apostles and understand that we cannot be Christians without being religious.

Peter Poon