Hey Steve: while I was on a business trip I had a good conversation with my friends, one who is agnostic and the other an Evangelical. Both of them agreed they didn’t believe in “organized religion”. From your Protestant background is there a specific meaning to that term or is it just another way to describe the Catholic Church. I thought Jesus was very organized having 12 apostles and when they replaced Judas and the first council etc…. Those are things in my mind that describe an organized way of a belief system. Or am I off on this. Reply when it’s convenient.
Hello Friend: “Organized religion” has nothing to do with being organized. Used in a negative manner, it refers to a government, denomination, or authority that has become institutionalized and that subsequently attempts to intrude into your life — ruling over you.
“Organized religion” is something (an institution or government) that steps in, takes authority and expects something of the person — something that interrupts or circumvents the simple, personal relationship they supposedly have with Jesus. The Evangelical often thinks of Christianity as a purely vertical relationship — me and Jesus. They forget that Jesus said, “I will build my Church!”
Because the evangelical often rejects an institutional, hierarchical “Church” or any “man-made” authority over them — outside the Bible Alone — “organized religion” is seen as a man-made institution that arrogates authority for itself — trying to take the place of Jesus. The gospel was once “pure, simple, Bible-only, and non-institutional. “Organized religion” is seen as the opposite of, or even opposed to, an “authentic, personal relationship with Jesus.