Updated: Oct 9, 2021
being careful with semantics
Religions are invented, constructed. But, Christ did not “invent” Christianity. Nor did he simply “live” it. He isn’t just an example of Christianity; He is Christianity. He is the way, the truth and the life. Only Jesus. Apart from a systematic “church” and liturgy, above denominations, Jesus stands. And at the end of the day, the simple gospel of Jesus Christ stands and is what calls people to follow Him, is what makes us Christians.
Consider that if not a single soul believed that Jesus is the Son of God sent as the propitiation for our sins so that we might be restored in relationship to the Father, even then, the gospel truth would not kneel nor fade and He would still stand glorified with the Trinity in Heaven.
As it’s been said that Christ is the “instigator” or developer of Christianity, so It’s been said that Paul built the church, Peter the Catholic Church. But we ought to be careful with such claims. In many ways, it’s an issue of semantics, but if we aren’t particular about our terms and what they mean, it can easily give Satan a foothold to have us believing that the Church was built by man. But man did not build the church. The resurrection of Jesus Christ birthed the church. It was born, not built. The church existed before men built church buildings ornate with decorative arts. It existed before there were systems in place, before there were checks and balances, before theologians wrote their books, before the organ began to play. The church is the body of Christ followers and therefore existed the moment Mary saw the Lord's resurrection and believed. Yes, Paul and the disciples worked in the book of Acts to set up the systems of the church, the institution of it. They were given the body, the church, to manage and organize in accordance with God's will. Nothing more.
And if we forget that, if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the idea that the church was built from nothing but by the hands of men, then all we’ll have is systematic religion. And if all we have is a systematic religion made by man, we might think of it as something that can be edited by man. And if we start to think we can change it or mold it to our liking or culture, then what we’ll have is a buffet type of Christianity where we take only what we want, and leave what we dislike or what feels counter-culture.
Take, for example, the idea that in America, the law that says “turn the other cheek” is seen as a beautiful truth. But the preservation of sexual intimacy for marriage is considered abhorrent and dated. Contrastingly, in the Middle East, the preservation of sexual intimacy for marriage is generally upheld, but the idea that one would turn the other cheek, abhorrent. See how easily we can start to create our own religion of self-propelled morality and sever the relationship with Christ? It’s a disambiguation of the truth. And when we have a disambiguation of truth, Christ is demoted to a good teacher, a wise instructor, merely the inventor of Christianity. But, Christ is GOD. He is Master. He is Lord. And His life, death and resurrection is life.
This is a difficult truth: Christianity is not simply a religion; if it were, it’d be long gone by now and the Church would be nothing more than a brick and mortar. But it is reality by which we either choose to align ourselves or not. Christ did not invent it. It is because He is.