One of the hardest things for me to understand about the Christian faith is probably one of the simplest. How do we live out a life of faith? How do we carry our Sunday piousness into the hustle and bustle of the other six days of the week? More to the point, how do we do it and not fall into the legalistic trap that caught the Jews?
I am sure that I am not the first to ask these questions, and if I have found any answers, I’m sure I am not the first on that score either. But while there are many who live admirable and worthy Christian lives that are recognisably just that, I still have a niggle at the back of my mind that behind these questions lies a small can of worms. I call it faith versus religion.
In our travels we have come across a whole spectrum of Christianity from Presbyterians in Scotland to the Coptics in Egypt and Pentecostals further south. Personally, I like the style of preachers such as John Ortberg and Erwin McManus who put faith into a modern context admirably. They represent yet another church. Who is to say that any one of these styles of church is any more or less virtuous than the the others in God’s eyes? I am certainly making no such suggestion here.
Yet I am confident in my own mind that Christ only intended one kind of disciple, regardless of how they worship. If I am right then the unity that Christians across the planet have through their shared faith is surely greater than any unity found between the churches. There are atheist writers who use the words faith and religion as if they were synonymous. I have come to the conclusion that one of the primary tasks of Christians should be to explain to the world that they are not.
That might explain faith to the world, but what would the churches say? Answers on a postcard please.