Jesus' Condemnation of Religion

This coming Sunday I am continuing a series looking at the parables of Jesus by looking at Mark 2 as Jesus called Levi to follow Him and then was criticized by the Pharisees for spending too much time with “tax collectors and sinners”. As I’ve studied I’ve really grappled with the approach of Jesus versus the approach of the “religious” people in His day. Initially it was easy to criticize those who love religion more than they love Jesus, but as I’ve studied I’ve painfully seen too much of myself in the lives of the “religious” people.

Today, the guys at (which is a tremendous blog resource written by faculty at Southeastern Seminary) published an article by J.D. Greear who is the Lead Pastor of the Summit Church in Durham, and also serves as adjunct faculty at Southeastern. In the article J.D. touches on a variety of characteristics of those who love religion more than they love Jesus, particularly in light of Matthew 23. I want to commend the article to you and I pray that you will read it with a critical eye towards yourself.

To access the article, click here.

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

2 thoughts on “Jesus' Condemnation of Religion

  1. Micah,

    Jesus didn’t condemn religion. He condemned what the scribes and Pharisees DID.

    Religion is the service and worship of God, or the supernatural. That’s what I do, with reference to my religion, too.

    It seems what Jesus condemned was people whose religion wasn’t the service or worship of God, or wasn’t backed up by their actions; perhaps hypocrisy would be the word. But what the Pharisees did that Jesus found objectionable could hardly be deemed “religion”, and I don’t see where He called it that.

  2. I think it’s right to condemn religion when it has become ritualistic, a formalistic pietism rather than the true Christianity that’s relational and transforming. It could be a question of semantics, but “religion” so often has a negative connotation because of what “Christianity” frequently passes for in practice.

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