I am seeing a disturbing trend in the attitudes and approaches that some Christians are taking in their mission work.
Most notably, "It's not Religion, it's a Relationship"
I am inclined to disagree. If it's just a "relationship," then does that not mean that you can dictate the rules, as you are part of the relationship? Relationship implies mutuality, and reciprocity. Not true by any means - God's unconditional Love for us will never be reciprocated by any human being. See, there's this thing called sin, and it holds us back.
To further the idea that this is not a 50/50 relationship as stated, I cite Romans 6:18.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
It's plan and simple. We can willingly choose to let God be our Master, or let sin be our master.
I'm not saying that a personal relationship is not possible with God, but is it NOT something that can stand alone.
Religion is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
"b (1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance"
Hm. If Christianity, or whatever it is you are practicing is NOT religion, then what is it?
Now, this may seem nit-picky, but I feel very strongly against the alteration of the general Message of Christianity in an attempt to convert more people. Romans 14:21 states "It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles." I believe that by saying "It's not a religion, it's a relationship," it could very easily lead to someone misinterpreting Christianity, and in turn causing them to stumble in their walk with God.
All of this being said, I think a balance of the two is absolutely the best idea. Some of the doctrines set forth by Christianity as a religion are absolutely essential (Freewill Anyone?) to the Christian faith.
My last point is a simple question: Why all these new methods of converting Christians? "Religion dies here," and "It's not a religion, it's a relationship!" just to name two examples. Now I am by no means calling out any individual churches, however these were simply the first two that came to mind.
Now I have nothing against trying to attract new believers, but why in the world do we have to make up catchy lines to make people go "Wait, what?" When did Christianity become all about marketing.
There are 4 books in the bible. They're called the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They tell about the life of and death of the Extraordinary life lived by a man named Jesus Christ. Try reading them sometime - They're miraculous. Amazing. Tell the stories - LIVE the stories.
Catchy slogans only go so far.
Another scripture has been brought to my attention, which is James 1:27.
James 1:27 (New International Version - UK)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Note that this scripture says Religion - not relationship. It also says pure and faultless; leading us to believe that it is not religion that is the problem. Rather, it is the perversion of Religion.
NOTE: These are all simply my beliefs and interpretations on this subject, my apologies if it seemed as if I was speaking in absolutes. This is simply my take on the matter at hand.