30 January 2015

Is "Church" Not a Religion?



“In reading the Bible, I encountered many verses of the New Testament mentioning the word church. When I ask our pastor about the church mentioned in the Bible, he told me that the church mentioned by the Bible is not a religion. Is that true?”

YOU ARE ASKING if it is true that the “Church” mentioned in the Bible is not a religion? Let the Bible itself answers your question. This is what the Bible says in I Timothy 3:15-16:

“But if I delay, this letter will let you know how we should conduct ourselves in God's household, WHICH IS THE CHURCH of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. No one can deny how great is the secret of OUR RELIGION…” (I Timothy 3:15-16, TEV, emphasis mine)

Apostle Paul explicitly called the “Church” he belongs to as “our religion.” Thus, the belief that “the Church is not a religion” contradicts the teachings of the apostles written in the Bible. Also, those who say that “the Church is not a religion” do not understand the true meaning of the word “religion.” Etymologically, the word “religion” came probably from the Latin “religio” or the French “religare.” Thus, the Webster’s Dictionary gave us this meaning of the word “religion”:

“Religion — prob.  Fr. religare, to tie back, the personal commitment to and serving of God or a god with worshipful devotion, conduct in accord with divine commands especially as found in accepted sacred writings or declared by authoritative teachers, a way of life recognized as incumbent on true believers, and typically the relating of oneself to an organized body of believers.” (Webster’s Third International Dictionary, p. 1918)

Etymologically, the word “religion” means “serving of God, conduct in accord with divine commands especially as found in accepted sacred writings.” Thus, in saying that “the Church is not a religion” is like saying that the Church is not about serving God. Actually, according to the Bible, one of the main purposes of the Church is to prepare God’s people to serve:

“Their purpose is to prepare God's people, to serve, and to build up the body of Christ.” (Ephes. 4:12 God’s Word)

Based on the concept that the word “religion” came from the French “religare,” thus, another meaning of the word “religion” is “binding back” or “to tie back.” Hence, the word “religion” also means “to bring back to God.” So, if a person will say that “the Church is not a religion” and the word “religion” also means “to bring back to God,” hence, it is like saying that the Church is “not about bringing people back to God.” However, the Bible clearly states that true Christians are “brought back to God in one body”:

“He also brought them back to God in one body by his cross, on which he killed the hostility.” (Eph. 2:16-17, God’s Word)

The “one body” the Bible referred to is the “Church of Christ”:

“For just as the human body is one and yet has many parts, and all its parts, many as they are, constitute but one body, so it is with the Church of Christ.” (I Cor. 12:12, Weymouth)

Because “religion” is about serving God and how people will be brought back to God, thus, TRUE RELIGION is serving the true God and the true worship and service of God, and also how men will truly be brought back to God.

Therefore, it is a grave error to say that the “Church of Christ” mentioned by the New testament is not a religion. The TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST is indeed the TRUE RELIGION, the TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. Thus, we are now certain that those  groups teaching that “the Church of Christ is not a religion” is indeed not the true Church of Christ and not the true religion.

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1 comment:

  1. This is the first time I learned about church vs religion. Thank you Kapatid. Please allow me to share your articles on my fb account. :)


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