There is a lively debate going on at YouTube just now. It started with the following video, posted January 10th by a young man named Jefferson Bethke. In the video, he recites a poem that rails against religion while uplifting the teachings of Jesus Christ. Watch the video for yourself, then read why I disagree with his views.
As a Christian who loves my church and my church-family, I disagree with Bethke’s supposition that Jesus hated religion and came to earth to end it. Jesus was sent to earth by God the Father to redeem His creation. In the course of that action, Jesus founded the church. He didn’t end religion, He built it!
And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. – Matthew 16:18
Jesus built a church, not of stone and wood, but of people who follow the greatest commandment we have been given:
But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[d] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[e] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 22:34-40
Can you see that Jesus commands us not to judge the hypocrisy that exists within the world, within the human heart? He commands us to love. In his video, Bethke tells us that he used to be a hypocrite, but that now he has repented and welcomed Jesus into his heart. Bethke’s zeal at this early stage in his Christian life is understandable. I remember being young and raw in my faith as well! But, for this passionate young man to grow into a mature Christian, producing good fruit on the vine of Christ, he must dive deeply into his Scriptures and understand the full story. It is first and foremost a love story. Everything must begin from the perspective of love.
Many people from various denominations, protestant, catholic, orthodox, have posted their own reply videos to Bethke’s original. I recommend that you browse through them and view a few. The sincerity of the videos and the comments on them touched my heart when I watched them. Likewise did the authors’ understanding of scripture, doctrine, and the message of Jesus Christ to His bride, the Church.
The Church must exist in Christianity for Jesus founded it. We, the stones of the church, have only the duty to follow our commandments as best we can, in our human failings, with love toward the different but sincere traditions of worshipping a guiding and loving God who constantly reaches out to us.