When I came to Washington in 1981, the media dubbed me one of the biggest Jesus freaks ever elected to Congress. The reason those Christian leaders had singled me out to accompany them to the Mideast was my reputation for being such a committed Evangelical Christian myself. I was so outspoken about my religious views that some degree of controversy followed me everywhere I went.
I consulted my Webster’s Dictionary. It defined Jesus as the founder of the Christian religion, and informed me that Christianity was the Christian religion, based on the Old and New Testaments. But were either of these statements true? I could not find a single verse in the entire New Testament that stated or even implied that Jesus of Nazareth promoted, began, or intended to begin any religion. In fact, he never once mentions the word “religion” in the Gospel writings, nor does the word Christianity appear anywhere in the text of the Bible.
As I continued poring over the text, I came to an inescapable conclusion: the teacher from Nazareth never intended to start a religion. What he was creating was a movement, a relational revolution of the human heart.So where did this leave Christianity? Where did it leave me? I thought of myself as a devout Christian—but what did that really mean?