There was a video that went completely viral on YouTube this week. Maybe you've seen it, or maybe you haven't.
I mean seriously, this video blew up! As did all the Facebook shares, posts and critiques about it.
Responses to Jeff's video have been varied across the board. Some hated it. Some loved it. The guy's heart is definitely in the right place. I struggled with the message however. Then I got angry with myself for overanalyzing a video that probably wouldn't have started a worldwide revolution anyway.
Truth is though, I did struggle. I was confused as to why people I know whose actions and life do not reflect Jesus and obedience to Christ were sharing the video. Then I got angry with people who claim to hate the church because of past shortcomings of church individuals. And then I got upset with myself for being confused and angry at other people. Because I practice religious disciplines and because I was judging the "irreligious" actions of others, did I actually succumb to living the horrible "religious" life that Jeff condemned in his video?
I ultimately (after prayer - which btw can be considered a religious discipline - and discussion with those wiser than me) came to grips with the existing and important distinction between religion and the Gospel. The truth is found in what my definition of religion is. Tim Keller spells out the distinction with a helpful comparative list in his book Gospel in Life (study guide p.16). Read it, check it out, it will do your soul good. Here's a sneak peek:
"Religion: I obey, therefore I am accepted
The Gospel: I am accepted, therefore I obey
Religion: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity
The Gospel: Motivation is based on grateful joy
Religion: I obey God in order to get things from God
The Gospel: I obey God to get to God, to delight and resemble Him"
Below are links to other articles and responses to Jeff's video. They are from contributing pastors of the Gospel Coalition and helped me out with my own processing.
"Jesus Was Religious"
"Does Jesus Hate Religion?" then read "Jefferson Bethke Responds"
"Religion and the Gospel"
I really like the last one. But don't take my word for it (don't take my word for anything except that, my word) read it yourself!