Monday, March 19, 2012

Religion vs. The Gospel

Dick Hillis, missionary and founder of OC International, writes in Is There Really Only One Way? --
I was told I was doing an injustice to people to come to them as a Christian missionary. I want you to know I wouldn't turn over in bed for religion...but I would circle the world for the sake of the gospel!

...To suggest that we not communicate the love of Christ to those who have not heard would indicate the gospel has nothing to offer them. I believe Christianity has everything to offer religious man. From a spiritual standpoint, man has retrogressed rather than progressed in spite of religious efforts. This clear indicates that man's religious escalator only runs downward (Romans 1:23).

The dictionary classifies Christianity as a religion, but we must remember it's far more than that. Some schools teach a course called "Comparative Religions" and include Christianity among the many religions studied. This raises the question:Can one compare the Gospel with religion or do we find more truth in contrasting the two? My missionary friend, Dr. John T. Seamands, gives some powerful contrasts in his book, "The Supreme Task of the Church":
  • Religion is man-made; the Gospel is God-given. 

  • Religion is what man does for God; the Gospel is what God has done for man. 

  • Religion is man's search for God; the Gospel is God's search for man. 

  • Religion is good views; the Gospel is Good News. 

  • Religion is good advice; the Gospel is a glorious announcement. 

  • Religion takes man and leaves him as he is; the Gospel takes a man as he is and makes him what he ought to be. 

  • Religion ends in an outer reformation; the Gospel ends in an inner transformation. 

  • Religion whitewashes; the Gospel washes white. 

  • Religion places the prime emphasis upon doing; the Gospel places the emphasis on a Person. 

  • You can take Buddha out of Buddhism and Buddhism still remains with its four noble truths and its eight-fold path. 

  • You can take Mohammed out of Islam and Islam is still intact with its five pillars of action and its six articles of belief. 

  • But if you take Christ out of the Gospel there is nothing left, for the Gospel is Christ. 

Today's Missional Challenge: Consider the contrasts above regarding Religion vs. The Gospel. Choose to embrace the message of the gospel!


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