The other night on my way to an appointment I was listening to The Factor with Bill O’Riley on Fox News on satellite radio in my car. He was discussing football with one of his regular guests and the way a certain player places a knee on the ground when he scores a touchdown – as if to say “Thank God” for what He just did through me.
In the midst of this rather useless conversation he stated, “Christianity is not a religion, it is a philosophy.” I could not believe what I was hearing. I agree – it is not a religion as religion is man’s attempt to reach God and please God. But is is also not a philosophy.
Let me define philosophy… Dictionary.com gave five definitions two of which are:
1> The rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
2> A system of principles for guidance in practical affairs
Christianity and the Christian faith does contain principles and does speak to how we are to live and conduct ourselves so I can see where Bill O’Riley gets the idea that the Christian faith is a philosophy. But, it is so much more. It is a relationship which leads to a way of life. It is a daily walk with the Creator God, our Heavenly Father, which comes about because of what Jesus’ death on the Cross of Calvary accomplished for us – paying the penalty for our sin and going to Hell so that we do not have to.
I am not blaming Bill O’Riley – it is a problem that should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Christian Church. He thinks he is a believer and declares his loyalty to a speciafic branch of the Christian faith on a regular basis. But, apparently he is not aware that the faith he declares so readily states the need to be born again and that every born again disciple of the Lord can have a personal and daily relationship with God where he can hear the voice of God and be involved in what God is doing. A relationship – not a religion or a philosophy.
The Church is to blame. The Church has, in many ways, lost the basic message it was birthed to preach – repent and be saved – as we have been busy teaching and doing so many other things. Everywhere I go I teach on the basic Gospel; what it is and how to share it – and it is seriously evident that many sitting in churches Sunday after Sunday are not born again and do not know the Gospel. And, those that are true disciples certainly do not know what it is that they confess to believe and how to share it with others – I know because I have elders and leaders come to the front to share the Gospel in these training times and the results are frightening.
Time for us to preach the message and preach it hard and often. Several nights ago I was in a Christmas banquet in a church I work with and during the Gospel presentation by the guest speaker a number of people simply got up and walked out. That is okay. They heard the Gospel and are now accountable. They may be mad at us – they may think we are mad – but they heard the Gospel and that is what is important.
That is our task in the world today – to declare the good news of salvation. It is time to be about our Father’s business.