I hear it a lot in Christian rock and this youtube video articulates the idea that somehow we'd be better off following Jesus and not following the Church He started.

As a Catholic that's about as high as it gets on my poppycock meter, but what would a Lutheran who attends services and practices their faith according to their traditions say to a man who thinks that organized religion is unnecessary. The fellow in the linked video is basing his argument in the Gospel and definitely appealing to emotions. But emotion aside, is there a Lutheran response to the argument against organized religion?

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    From what I understand, the evangelical movement at least is based around the idea that organized religion is a no no. Other than that, I couldn't help you.
    – user1160
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 18:27
  • I think this question is assuming part of the answer: That "protestants" have, or want a rebuttal to this idea. I think the better question would be: Does X tradition agree with this idea? And I think the answer is: Some agree, some disagree, and some fall somewhere in the middle. "Protestants" is too broad a group.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 21:11
  • @Flimzy aren't "Mainline" protestants the ones who worship in congregations?
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 21:32
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    "we'd be better off following Jesus and not following the Church He started." I don't think that's what the video says at all. The message is more that the church should not be bogged down in religion. We showed the video in my church last Sunday; it's something we agree with. The video isn't anti-church, it's anti-religion; there's quite a substantial difference.
    – Waggers
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 13:11
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    @Flimzy, I don't know why anyone would compare them in the first place. It's like asking who is greater, the painter or the painting.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


I don't really label myself to a certain sect, though I do go to a baptist church, and this is my rebuttal:

We're supposed to worship collectively and hear teachings from God's appointed leaders. Jesus wants us to break bread, together, in remembrance of Him (not just in practice, but in worship also). We are the body of Christ, brothers and sisters in Jesus, and being a member of the body, we need to incorporate ourselves with other members and become part of the family; not cut ourselves off. When one part of the body isn't getting it right, you can't blame the entire body. But it is our job to set them straight. We need to be there for each other to build each other up in love, faith, motive, knowledge/wisdom/understanding of God's Word, etc., and this is done within the church. People use the word "religion" to define such things..

When the guy in that video talks about religion, he seems to be referring to people who practice over worship, and have motives of self interest, and that is what he should say. He shouldn't refer to it as "religion". There is much Christian religion out there that are 100% in it for Christ, and this guy doesn't acknowledge that and makes religion as a whole look foolish.

Here is a cool rebuttal video from a Lutheran guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbsadOQK_6A


I don't think the video's point is that religion is bad, but that religion misses the point. And I think that's pretty much true. Without Jesus, religion is meaningless. Religion cannot add or take anything away from the person, message, and work of Jesus. That doesn't mean that a follower of Jesus should have no part in religion; rather it means that a true follower of Jesus will follow Jesus rather than some religious formula/rules/organization/etc.

As the video says, religion is man's attempt to reach God, but Jesus is God's attempt to reach man. Even "Christianity," when practiced outside the grace of Jesus, is simply man's attempt to reach God, and it falls short.

I think the only "rebuttal" necessary is to clarify that the point of the video is not to shun religion, but to put our focus on Jesus rather than religion. If, and only if, our focus is in the right place--on Jesus--will our religion be good, useful, meaningful religion. Any other religion is a futile attempt to "reach God."

  • To your 3rd paragraph, I don't think he gets that point across very well: "Jesus came to abolish religion"? That is not a good message to be giving. Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 4:38
  • @Shredder - not to mention the fact that it is flat-out incorrect. Having said that, I think that there is something to be said for not addressing it indirectly through social media. I take issue with quite a bit of what he actually says and how he says it. I appreciate the heart behind it all - especially the call to action but the reality is that it is guilty of much of his own accusations. Ok, now I'm doing what I said I didn't want to do.
    – swasheck
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 23:51

There are the notions of the Visible Church (member of a church) and the Invisible Church (Faith in Christ). Basically, only those that are in the Invisible Church will be saved. Most of those in the Invisible Church are also in the Visible Church, however, there are far too many who are in the Visible Church, but not in the Invisible Church. For more read the article on the The Invisible and Visible Church is article and then the book called Vintage Church by Mark Driscoll.

There is a good argument that those in the Invisible Church should also serve in the Visible Church, but that is not a requirement to be saved. After we realize that God loved us first, we are called to love our neighbors and serve them.

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