Can you tell me if Jesus said anything about forming a religion around him. The only thing I can find is that he was going to build his church on Peter’s foundation. I believe he was here to show us a way of life not a religion. How wrong do you think I am?
I agree with you, but to be honest, this is probably more of a preacher’s point than anything substantive. One could argue that a religion IS a way of life. It depends on your definition of religion. Is a religion a set of beliefs? Is a religion a set of practices or rituals? Is a religion a way of living? Is a religion a set of rules? In the dictionary it is all of these things.
So, I think what you are saying is a great preaching point, but may not hold up as a thesis for a doctorate of theology. Bottom line, Jesus did start a religion by almost any conceivable definition of a religion. The essence of the religion he started is more of a way of living than it is a set of propositions, of rules or of religious acts.
By the way, let me provide scriptural “proof” that the Christian religion is a way of life: James 1:27 and 1 Tim 5:4 show that in Christianity, religion is a way of life. If it is merely a set of beliefs or a set of ceremonies, then it is not the kind of religion that God desires.
Scriptural proof that Jesus was starting a religion: John 12:32. If Jesus is drawing all men unto himself, surely he is starting a religion!
So, a great preaching point, but you may want to say it this way. Christianity is a religion, but what kind of religion is it? Is it a set of beliefs, practices, ceremonies, list of do and don’ts? No. It may include some of those things, but that is not its essence. In its essence, Christianity is a way of life. Jesus is not looking for someone who can be “religious” He is looking for someone who will believe in him and who will dedicate him/herself to becoming like him.