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"Did Jesus Really Hate Religion?"
by Monty Watson, senior pastor on January 26th, 2012

Good Morning Church,

I’ve heard many people talk about or post on Facebook a video by Jeff Bethke called “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” What was meant to be for a few Facebook friends has gone viral and millions have applauded the video and share Bethke’s sentiments. What’s good about it is a fresh passion for Jesus that breaks free the bonds and errors of the traditional church.

But what’s not so good, in my opinion, is a lack of love for the bride of Christ. So, if you have seen the video, I’d also like you to read the two blogs below. One is Kevin Deyoung’s critique of the video. DeYoung is a young pastor and frequent blogger for The Gospel Coalition. The second blog is an exchange between DeYoung and Bethke. I appreciate their candid dialog and respectful, humble demeanor.

My purpose in sending this to you is to urge you to be balanced in your understanding of the culture and the church. So, let me know what you think.

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Dawn Smith - January 26th, 2012 at 8:11 PM
On one hand I feel sorry for people who write heart-felt music/poetry, celebrating the joy of freedom found in Christ only to have their art picked apart by theologians. On the other hand I can understand people's concern about the tone of this video in our emergent /anti-church age. How you interpreted the video probably has a lot to do with your past and present experiences. This video would really resonate with a person who grew up in a legalistic or hypocritical church and discovered grace...I think that is what is being celebrated. As he celebrates grace, he makes some excellent points about how the world sees the church being political and judgmental and not about exalting Christ. (Sadly, in my kids' school foyer that that showcases world religions there is a Shiva god, Buddha, Menorah and an American eagle to represent Christianity. Really???) However, I agree with Deyoung that the church can be beautiful, Christianity has done much to bless the world, and that authenticity is over-rated if it doesn’t lead to change.

Above all, I am grateful that these two men have demonstrated incredible humility and love. Too often these confrontations reflect poorly on the body of Christ. They will know we are Christians by our love…

Rob Smith - January 26th, 2012 at 9:55 PM
I completely agree with your assessment Pastor Monty. Both links are worth checking out. If we love Jesus, then we will love what Jesus loves. To love Christ is to love the church. I really like Kevin DeYoung. I highly recommend his book, "Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion". It is an excellent book.
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