While many are well-intentioned in saying, “I hate religion, but I love Jesus,” or, “It’s not about a religion but a relationship [with God],” it seems the word ‘religion’ itself has come under intense fire as a source of all kinds of evil, particularly amongst the evangelical landscape. There is some validity to this assumption looking back upon our history as fallen sinners (or even the present day), where in the name of religion, many horrible things have been done to others. And in the last 50 years there is more weight given to this view that the concept of religion is a bad thing based upon the kinds of Christian groups who picket absolutely everything the world does they don’t like, or which threaten their reign on things of this world.
However, those wise men of old who have gone before us to be with the Savior knew the problem wasn’t with religion itself. The problem is sinful man and the work of Satan have distorted what the Puritans called ‘true religion,’ that is a living faith granted by the living God in which we do that which is pleasing to Him, initiated by and through the work of Christ’s grace alone. One of those men who has gone before us (though not a Puriran per se, but certainly within the same tradition) was Louis Berkhof.