In Defense of the Video That No One Seems To Like

Yesterday I posted the above video by Jefferson Bethke on our blog. I posted it because I liked it, and I thought it was well done. The video has gotten a lot of attention on the Internet (not because of me) in the last couple of days, and not all of it has been positive. Today both Kevin DeYoung and Jared Wilson wrote thoughtful, helpful, insightful critiques of the video, pointing out that Jesus is not opposed to religion, and was actually very religious himself. The Friendly Atheist blog has also posted some critique of the video, as well as a number of other sources.

So let me offer a few of words in defense of the video, because I actually think it’s very good. I’m a songwriter who cares very much about creativity and sound doctrine. I love to see them blended and fused into something beautiful and doctrinally sound.

One of the first rules when it comes to interpreting a song, or any creative work for that matter, is that it must be judged on it’s own terms. In other words, the content must be interpreted based on the author’s intent. The first line of the piece is “Jesus came to abolish religion.” To that I say, “Oh really? Tell me exactly what you mean by the word ‘religion’.” Because the meaning of the entire piece depends on what Jefferson means by the word “religion”. If I’m going to critique it, I need to critique his meaning of religion, not my meaning of religion.

The critique of the video generally runs along the lines of this: Jesus was not against religion. That’s a false dichotomy that Jefferson is creating.

But I think that the wrong question is being asked. The question everyone seems to be asking is: was Jesus against religion? The answer to that question is: yes. And no. And maybe. It all depends on what you mean by the word “religion”.

But the question that everyone should be asking is: was Jesus opposed to religion as defined by Jefferson Bethke? The answer to that question is a definite yes. Jesus was opposed to self-righteous, man-made religion. Jesus was opposed to those who exalt man-made rules over the true, life-giving religion of God. The entire piece must be interpreted through that lens. You can’t separate out pieces of the song and say that they are doctrinally incorrect unless you first view the song through the lens that Jefferson intended. Every use of the word “religion” in the piece must be connected back to the original definition of the word “religion”.

In this piece, Jefferson is not talking about the Mosaic law. He’s not talking about the church as biblically defined. He’s talking about sterile, God-less, Christ-less religion.

So do I hate religion? Yes, if it’s a religion that leaves Jesus out. And that’s exactly what Jefferson is talking about. He’s not attacking the church. He says that both explicitly and implicitly. He’s not creating a false dichotomy between Jesus and religion. He is highlighting the real dichotomy between Jesus and man-made religion.

Now why do I even care about this? Because sometimes us Reformed folks, in our passion for sound doctrine and the Bible, are pretty agressive in our critique of artistic works. And in some ways, that’s very good. But I always want to make sure that our critiques are gracious AND that we critique the artist on his terms, not ours. I think that’s where some of the critiques are missing the boat.

  • http://www.drbobgonzales.com Bob Gonzales

    Excellent defense of the video. I agree. Context is king for interpretation.

    • Nichole

      This is true and I think both critiques for and against the video are spot on. What we must remember is as Christians we are responsible for the words we speak, and if we do not define, and leave things up to interpretation then we become stumbling blocks. Just like James teaches us that we must tame our tongues. When we speak, artist or any other profession, as Christians we should not leave things up to interpretation, we should wholly define and speak from the Bible. Otherwise we walk a thin line that can easily cause a young Christian or yet to be Christian to fall.

  • Joel

    Excellent. This video (and the ensuing critiques) reminded me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's use of the phrase "religionless Christianity" which was sadly misinterpreted by a lot of people. I think Jefferson is advocating a similar principle and is being similarly misinterpreted. Neither of them seem to be proposing lawless Christianity, but merely realizing that we can be a part of the worldly institution of the church without obeying Jesus' call to abandon our allegiance to ourselves and swear allegiance to him. Sorry, long comment, I know. If you read all this I'm impressed.

  • http://kyriostheos.blogspot.com Jason McClaren

    You said, “But the question that everyone should be asking is: was Jesus opposed to religion as defined by Jefferson Bethke? The answer to that question is a definite yes. Jesus was opposed to self-righteous, man-made religion.” That would be false religion and he (Jefferson) does not clearly distinguish that is what he means. He just says religion. The one true religion that exists is Christianity and Christianity is not false. It is important for him to distinguish between religion and false religion. He definitely makes it sound like (and I think he means) he is talking about religion and not just false religions. Basically, he is saying that Christianity is not a religion. That is a false statement. Jesus Christ is central to the Christian religion, the one true, pure religion!!

    • Stephen Altrogge

      Jason,

      At the very end of the video he makes a clear distinction between Christianity and all other religions. He says that Christianity (which is a religion!) is God seeking man and religion is man seeking God. He makes clear distinctions in terms of what he's talking about.

    • Valerie Jacobsen

      In his introduction, he calls it a ""poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion."

      I read that before I first listened to the poem, so for me it was easy to understand.

    • Mel

      Christianity isn't a religion, it's a relationship with Jesus Christ

  • Adam Jones

    Thanks Stephen. I just finished reading DeYoung's response before reading yours. I was actually talking with a friend about this video earlier before she saw it and warned her to listen to it carefully. We then discussed after and thought there were definitely some semantics issues that we had with it – but after hearing your view as a fellow song writer, I can see how it is important to view this as a work of art and interpret it as such.

    I really appreciate your perspective. If nothing else, this video is a great reminder of how so many people will blindly like anything that sounds good to them without thoughtfully critiquing it one way or the other. In that light, the only thing I would add is that we have to be able to take anything (song, sermon, poem, painting, doctrine, etc) back to the Bible and determine the truth within based on that.

  • Luke McCarnan

    I agree with authorial intent strongly. I believe, however, that words have specific meanings that authors must submit to if we are to have reseasonable language. While there are ranges in meanings to words, we can’t inject our own meanings into every word.

  • Andrew

    Words have meanings. The word religion does not mean what Jefferson Bethke uses it to mean. That is the substance of the critique. The problem is not with Jefferson Bethke necessarily, but all those who think they agree with him, while using the actual definition of the word religion. The critiques are helpful.

    • Stephen Altrogge

      I agree Andrew, that all words have a definite meaning. But, and I think this is important, shades of meaning are determined by context. Jesus clearly attacked false religion, while James clearly endorsed true religion. In both cases, the context determines the precise meaning of the word religion.

      • Brian Phillips

        Guys, words have usages. What does "cold" mean? Low temperature, illness, lack of interest or kindness? And if society begins to use "cold" in a new way, it'll have a new usage. After all decimate "means" to reduce by 10%

  • Joshua

    Andrew nailed it. This issue is that the word religion is used in scripture and one may not redefine it and then use it in a conversation about the content of scripture. Artists are not the demigods of their own created worlds. We are subcreators together with God in His creation. Artists ought to be held accountable to respect the larger meanings and influence of the words they use.

    • Stephen Altrogge

      I agree in part. But, as I said, even in scripture the word "religion" takes on various meanings. In this video, he is not redefining anything. He's simply using the word "religion" in the sense that Jesus used it when speaking of the pharisees. No redefinition is taking place.

    • http://www.drbobgonzales.com Bob Gonzales

      Stephen is correct. The term religion is fluid in its usage. It can refer to what is (1) positive, (2) negative, or (3) neutral. The same is true, for example, of the Greek words for "love" (agape), "lust" (epithumia), and "passion" (pathos). Each of these can be used in contexts that are either positive or negative without any immediate adjectives to qualify. It's the larger context that determines meaning, not what happens to be the first usage listed in an English dictionary.

    • Valerie Jacobsen

      Depending on translation, the word 'religion' is used in Scripture 5-7 times. Only once is it used in a positive sense, of the True Faith.

      The primary definition for the word 'religion' in our day is [Webster] "a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices."

      The poet is using the word in that sense, and in the sense that it is _most often_ used in Scripture.

  • http://www.theviewfrommychair.blogspot.com John Kuvakas

    Well said, Mark. It's great to hear some balance and objectivity on this issue. Let's give the young man some credit for sound thinking and a message that has hit its mark.

  • gjware

    Stephen, I think the intent of the video has been largely appreciated, it's the execution that has been questioned.
    I didn't mind the whole of it, but found the tone and presentation offputting.
    The strength of the pushback is invited by the passive aggressive 'I'm not judging' sentiment of the piece.
    As I'm reading your piece the basic defence is that Bethke redefines what religion is on his (Bethke's) terms and points out that Jesus is against it.
    But I'm not certain that Bethke thinks that's what he's doing.

    • Heather

      I have found that the execution was perfect for this generation! He is relevant. He made a very clear presentation of the gospel, in rhyme no less, that has sparked conversation around the globe!!! Not sure how that is off-putting… Unless it was convicting?

      • gjware

        lol.
        Jefferson Bethke: "If I can be brutally honest I didn’t think this video would get much over a couple thousand views maybe, and because of that, my points/theology wasn’t as air-tight as I would’ve liked. If I redid the video tomorrow, I’d keep the overall message, but would articulate, elaborate, and expand on the parts where my words and delivery were chosen poorly… My prayer is my generation would represent Christ faithfully and not swing to the other spectrum…."
        What a grace-filled and humble attitude.
        I look forward to hearing more from him.

        • Heather

          Right. I read that as well… and I don't agree with him on that. Jesus>Self-righteousness doesn't have quite the same punch as Jesus>Religion. Using the word Religion has caused people to stop and ask "what does he mean"? Same with other points in the poem. It is causing believers to look at their lives and the way they live their Christianity. Is it God-glorifying or man-glorifying? If he had made it air-tight, it would not have caused the stir it has, in my opinion. And for many, it has been eye-opening and freeing and has returned many to faith in God. PTL! …"he who has ears to hear, let him hear."

          Check out his other videos, especially his testimony. Very powerful. I'm looking forward to more from him as well!

  • Seth

    I agree with DeYoung, and I agree with Altrogge, but as a youth leader, the issue DeYoung is trying to point out is far more pressing. As a serious musician, I don't doubt at all that authorial intent has to be considered…but if his whole purpose is to teach, which it sure seems like it is, then wouldn't you think he'd be more aware of the audience he would be gaining?

    I have no doubt Jefferson Bethke is sincerely just trying to "make Jesus famous", but it's much easier to do that when the message is consistently interpreted as "just grace" without the foundation being laid for it. It's easy to provide salve to an aching conscience by saying "forget the law" (my words), when in reality, the law really is important. We've cheapened grace and made it seem as if all you have to do is grab a ticket, and videos like this, as well intentioned as they are, tend to propagate it further.

    • Stephen Altrogge

      But here's the thing. In this video, he's not trying to teach systematically. It's a piece of spoken word poetry. In a song, in poetry, in any creative, you really only can tell one point. He's not speaking a systematic theology, he's speaking poetry. He can't cover all theology in one short piece.

      • Heather

        If I could like this reply more than once, I would. Thanks for speaking truth in love Stephen!

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  • will1290

    "In this piece, Jefferson is not talking about the Mosaic law. He’s not talking about the church as biblically defined. He’s talking about sterile, God-less, Christ-less religion."

    You know this because you're a churchgoer, you've sat under sound teaching, or you have some theological training. There are multiple millions of people who have seen, and will see this video and will not be able to make that distinction. They'll just hear "Jesus came to abolish religion", which is not true, and possibly not very helpful in their trusting Christ for salvation. Also, I'm not so sure there are multiple definitions for the word "religion" in Scripture. But I may be wrong and I'm willing to be informed.

  • http://www.djfick.blogspot.com Daniel J. Fick

    I ended up trying to outline some positives too. Thanks, Stephen for your input. http://djfick.blogspot.com/2012/01/jesus-religion

  • Romeo

    I already know a few young man and women who live Jesus "their way", this kind of message confuses. Now Christian want to be hipsters? Religion is so mainstream? Should we discard Aquinas, Chesterton, Spurgeon, Stott?

    In this postmodern world, a call for SANCTITY is urgent. Of course, not as a means for reaching salvation of course, that's precisely why theology and BIBLE should be taught.

    • Heather

      Jefferson isn't saying to live "their way." Check out his other videos on sexual purity and his testimony. Again, he is being relevant to this generation; ust like Aquinas, Chesterton, Spurgeon and Stott were in theirs.

  • Maux

    thank you for this. finally, some kindness & common sense about a perfectly beautiful & encouraging video. this video has brought hundreds of my facebook friends into a state of questioning & wonder about Christ & the freedom & truth in him. I am so glad you defended it. thank God. was getting so sick of the other articles, tearing him down…

  • Caleb B

    I really don’t understand why people have reacted so strongly against this video when Tim Keller has been speaking this way for a long time (e.g. http://www.buzzardblog.com/2010/05/17/the-gospel-vs-religion/)
    I don’t remember anyone in the Reformed world getting upset at him at the time, so why are they getting upset at Bethke now?

    Also, I think you’ve made some great points about this being a piece of art to be understood in context and how this is not a systematic theology treatise and it shouldn’t be treated as if it were.

  • Caleb B

    Just as a follow-up, Tim Keller defended using the term ‘religion’ with a negative connotation back in 2009 on Tullian T.’s blog (shar.es/WDCfW). He said:

    Tim Keller May 15, 2009 at 11:15 pm
    The Greek word for ‘religion’ used in James 1 is used negatively in Colossians 2:18 where it describes false asceticism, fleshly works-righteousness, and also in Acts 26:5 where Paul speaks of his pre-Christian life in strict ‘religion’. It is also used negatively in the Apocrypha to describe idol worship in Wis 14:18 and 27. So the word certainly has enough negative connotations to use as a title for the category of works-righteousness. In the Old Testament the prophets are devastating in their criticism of empty ritual and religious observances designed to bribe and appease God rather then serving, trusting, and loving him. The word ‘religion’ isn’t used for this approach, but it’s a good way to describe what the prophets are condemning.

  • http://jon.limedaley.com/ jon daley

    i would argue that the word “religion” in acts 26:5 isn’t being used negatively, but more so, the “straightest sect… pharisee” are the negative words in that verse. i think the james passage is quite strong in saying “religion” is not a negative thing:

    Pure religion and undefiled before the God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widowed in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    (but, I’m also of the belief that we shouldn’t hold the apocrypha on the same level as scripture, and that we don’t need to understand Greek to receive God’s word (e.g. the colossians verse doesn’t use the word “religion”), so you might reject my reasoning altogether)

    i used to use the word “religion” in anegative connotation, but I stopped a couple years ago, because i don’t see that stance taken in scripture)

    • Valerie Jacobsen

      James doesn't say, "Religion is…," as if to define the word for all time. He says "Pure religion is…."

  • http://mitzi-hisgraceissufficient.blogspot.com/ Mitzi Evans

    I really like the video, thank you so much for sharing it.. It has some awesome truths in it and will connect with those who struggle with religion, but GOD is drawing them to a relationship with HIM through HIS precious SON. Thank you!

  • Sharon

    This is why there is concern…he was not precise in his use of terms…authors can try to demand that they be understood on their terms but you cannot guarantee that will happen. The only way to controll the understanding is to choose your words carefully using the words that most clearly say what you want to say. Otherwise you will unintentionally lead people astray or justify their own understanding. This quote says it far better than I can:

    "The way for a person to develop a style is (a) to know exactly what he wants to say, and (b) to be sure he is saying exactly that.

    The reader, we must remember, does not start by knowing what we mean. If our words are ambiguous, our meaning will escape him.

    I sometimes think that writing is like driving sheep down a road. If there is any gate open to the left or the right the reader will most certainly go into it."

    (“Cross-Examination,” in C.S. Lewis: Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces, ed. Lesley Walmsley, p. 555.)

    • Heather

      Hi Sharon, Jeff has an explanation of his video directly under it on his YouTube channel where he explains he is talking about false religion. Not ambiguous at all.

  • lisa

    I think Jefferson makes some good points. And I think you make some good points, Stephen. And the comments that precede this one make some good points. Haven't read the two reviews you cite (going to now), but my guess is that I'll think DeYoung and Wilson make some good points too.

    As for me, my first thought, when I saw this video (before I read anyone's else's thoughts), was "Hmmm. Depends on how you define the word 'religion.' " James came to mind immediately, as did the title of DeYoung and Kluck's book, subtitled, In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion.
    I appreciate Jefferson's heart and I think that, in many ways, he did a good job with this. But regarding context, the meaning of words, and critiquing (which, by the way, means evaluating, not criticizing) an artist on his own terms, my question would be, does he, as a poet, bear some degree of responsibility for the way he uses words, given the goal of his poetry?

  • Carrie Simms

    I have been a christian for 33 years and I have been in some very legalistic ministries over the years; which really damaged my relationship with God. To be honest Jefferson's video really ministered to me and resonated with my heart that Christianity is not about me and my righteousness but it is about what Jesus did on the cross for each of us! It is amazing to me the reaction this video has created worldwide…. In only 4 days this video has had almost 10 Million hits and over 97 Thousand comments. This is incredible and wonderful!!! Maybe instead of criticizing Jefferson we should all be praying that the Lord uses him to reach the lost all over the world? I believe be presents the heart of Jesus in the following segment and I pray that individuals in every nation will fall in love with Jesus!!! This would be awesome!!!

    See because religion says do, Jesus says done
    Religion says slave, Jesus says son
    Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you free
    Religion makes you blind, but Jesus makes you see
    And that's why religion and Jesus are two different clans
    Religion is man searching for God, Christianity is God searching for man
    Which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own
    Not based on my merits but Jesus's obedience alone
    Because he took the crown of thorns, and the blood dripped down his face
    He took what we all deserved, I guess that's why you call it grace
    And while being murdered he yelled
    "Father forgive them they know not what they do."
    Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of you
    And he absorbed all of your sin, and buried it in the tomb
    Which is why I'm kneeling at the cross, saying come on there's room
    So for religion, no I hate it, in fact I literally resent it
    Because when Jesus said it is finished, I believe he meant it

  • Mike

    I’ll just say this: I’m glad that Sovereign Grace Music is by and large more careful in their use of language than Jefferson is in his poem. Words have meaning, and artists carry a huge responsibility. The postmoderns would say that all art is equally valid. If you punch a few holes in the bottom of a paint can, get smashed, and swing it around like a madman, your canvas can hang next to a Rembrandt. As Christians we must judge everything against truth Himself. I am grateful that DeYoung has so helpfully and thoroughly done that.

  • http://scottweldon.blogspot.com Scott

    Here's a great article written years ago before this video ever hit. http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/voddie-baucham-

    Furthermore, since this whole thing came out, the author of the poem has himself come out and said that his critics are correct and that he needs to be more careful about the words he uses, etc. What a great, humble response.

  • http://www.christianlovematch.com judith

    I think Bethke is an interesting voice and represents the Facebook/Twitter generation. I for one am glad it has been widely viewed, I would be interested to see how his youthful thoughts develop over time.

  • http://independentchurch.blogspot.com Joel

    I echo the comments of many here that the video had some good things to say. I also think, like many, he said some things that are debatable and possibly unhelpful. I can support the video in general.

    My problem is his foray into the political. I would not ever say that Christianity and being a Republican is synonymous. In fact, becoming political is a degrading of the faith in my opinion. However, for those Christians who choose to degrade themselves and become political, the choice is very limited. Being a Democrat is not possible due to their unfettered support of Abortion, Homosexuality and their consistent attempts to force Christians behind closed doors. Being a Republican can be an uncomfortable compromise (that is why I call it "degrading") but for NOW there is no choice.

    Of course, one could avoid being political completely.

  • http://www.theologicalthoughts.com Michael

    "I need to critique his meaning of religion, not my meaning of religion." Maybe in the postmodern dictionary, but all the dictionary I just looked in does not have a negative connotation for religion.
    This is why he needs the adjective "false" in front of religion in the poem.

    If not, then we can just have a hey day with words, inserting whatever meaning we want:

    Jesus is against the bible (oh, I meant the Jefferson Bible.)
    Jesus is against the church (oh, I meant the apostate church)
    Jesus hates worship (oh, I meant false worship.)
    Jesus hates religious practices (Oh, I meant the practices of the Nicoliatans.)

    • Heather

      Michael, he did explain it in his first sentence on his channel… read the description.

  • Robert

    Most words have more than one meaning. So does the word religion. Jefferson Bethke defines his use of the word all through the poem. His definition of religion, as he uses it in this poem, says it makes you a slave, makes you blind, etc. Man-made religion does just that. Jefferson says he loves Jesus and for those that maybe didn't listen all the way through, he says "I love the Church," some might say a religious institution. He is showing the dichotomy between Christianity and man-based religion. I am 58 and in spite of the generational differences (someone called it the Facebook/Twitter generation) I understand what he was saying and what he meant. I believe that his intention was to glorify Jesus and make a distinction between the true and the false.

    I've heard so many say the Christianity is not a religion, its a relationship, and now people seem to be defending religion.

    Sure, you can always find something to criticize in just about any song, hymn, poem, book (except the Bible–some might even disagree with that statement depending on how you define the Bible), etc. Why are we always so quick to criticize and tear down? Maybe because we are all human…

    Lets all be gracious and humble in our response to others and "speak the truth in love."

  • H. Nicole

    I think the people who critisize Bethke have good intentions (upholding Scriptural authority) but don't understand evangelism. We don't force the world to understand the beautiful, holy way that God uses words before they are born again. First we come to them, on their own terms, with their own words and concepts so that they can understand the message. Isn't that what God did by becoming a man so that we could understand him, and using thousands of metaphors and parables to help us understand holy truth through things that were familiar to us? After he comes, then there is a purification and a rebirth of our souls along with everything else we enjoy; a rebirth of our relationships, a rebirth of how we use food, or sex, or free time, and a rebirth of our concepts and the meanings behind words.

  • H. Nicole

    Using words in the way the world will understand is vital to evangelism. It doesn't matter how boldly we preach the gospel if we refuse to bear with other's weaknesses in order to make it understandable. I think Bethke used 'religion' in its popular, everyday, modern meaning. It is obvious which type of 'religion' he meant. Let's not be stubbornly obtruse. Let's face the fact that MANY people are turned off by Christianity because of the extremely negative connotation that 'religion' has gained. It's ok, and even honest, to acknolwedge that connotation, as long as we also continue to affirm and love the true 'religion' that Jesus loves.

  • Robert

    I find the video both entertainng and thought-provoking. And it reminds me of a debate I recently listened to,"The World Would Be Better Off Without Religion," featuring Dinesh D'Souza, Rabbi David Wolpe, Matthew Chapman, and A.C. Grayling. They ALL clearly separated "God" from "religion."
    http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.php/past-d

    You can download it as an audio podcast, watch the video, and read the core points each side made. Sadly, the debate reduced "religion" down to, mostly, "being nice" and doing "good works." So in this case, I would agree with Mr. Bethke.

    Great post, as usual!

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  • Andrew

    Thanks for this Stephen. Your comments about the tendency of those in the Reformed camp to be critical are spot on. I love Reformed theology, but we carry a big, big stick and need to wield it carefully and lovingly.

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  • Adrian

    Undoubtedly, creative expression is a powerful and often beautiful medium, but if it were the case that Jefferson Bethke had chosen to write an argument paper in addition to, or instead of embodying his arguments in a spoken word poem, then there would have been far less confusion about what he meant by religion. He then could have simply defined 'religion'. It seems like a lot of time has been lost due to the popular attraction and tendency to conflate aesthetic elements or artforms with serious debate, that in the case of Bethke's presentation has led to confusion about terms. It's an evocative piece for sure, but ultimately, I believe the content of his argument should stand clearly, and on its own, i.e., not impeded by artistic goals, but strengthened by them.

  • jun

    Whatever! :-) Seriously though, I agree with Stephen's defense and I love Bethke's video. Just my 2 cents worth, instead of using our intellect and brilliance in interpreting/criticizing what he is not saying, why not use it to understand what he is saying. Stephen is right in saying that we must critique the artist on his terms not ours. Let's not forget that the video is not an exposition of Scriptures, it is an expression of an artist who happens to be a Christian. We preach grace yet it's very difficult for us to be gracious to someone who doesn't use the words we use or how we want it to be used. For those of us who love to analyze almost all things, analyze this: which is more damaging to the gospel, consuming alcohol or Bethke's video? God's grace be upon us all. thanks, stephen.

  • Sonbird

    I think he uses the word 'religion' in the same context that Paul uses the 'Law', in Romans for example. The law was not bad in itself in the same way that religion is not bad. What makes it bad is the intent of man's heart – does it replace God? What I mean is, do i worship the rules more than the rule maker?

  • http://www.calvarychapelspacecoast.org Pastor Baron

    GREAT VIDEO!! I am senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Space Coast, and this video hit so many nails right on the head, all I could say, was, "Hammer it home!" I'm in no position to know his heart, but any of us that have walked with Jesus for very long in the midst of His church have been grieved in our spirits over the way that people among us have been demeaned, belittled, and abused by those that justify such behavior in the name of truth, when the root of such conduct is arrogance and self-righteousness. We say that that members of the Moslem community aren't speaking out enough about the evil committed by those professing Allah, so why should we not applaud the members of our Christian community who are willing to speak out about the evil committed by those professing Jesus?

  • Heather

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This is the BEST "critique" of Jeff's video to date. And I have read many of them. He is one of the most gracious 22 year olds I've come across in a while! We're in a transition from Modern Christianity to Post-Modern and I think Jeff now has a relevant voice in this generation. I'm praying that the church recognize this shift in perspectives and grow.

  • Heather

    I say, yet again, he did explain it in the description… No one should have been confused by what he meant with his use of the word "religion". He very clearly said the poem was to describe the difference between Jesus and False Religion.

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  • Dallas Valerian

    I wake up to a religious music radio station every morning. And just a few days ago I realized how pre-chewed palatable their soft rock lyrics were getting as one song repeated perhaps 30 times, "Where you follow, I will go," to bland pop so generic that I could hum along although I'd never heard it before. Rap lyrics seem much the same to me: bass drum machine, attitude, and a single lyric endlessly. All by money-making artists, I'm sure.

    Being no expert on heretical thought, I applaud his catchy presentation and thought-provoking ideas, based purely on the video.
    A regular balm in Giliad for weary listener.