This issue really gets me. APEs (American Protestant Evangelicals) constantly shove this "personal relationship" with Jesus down everyone's throat, yet never cease their attack on religion. Why is that? I'll tell you. They've unilaterally redefined what the term religion means in order to attack religion in general.
They say that by religion they mean dead man-made traditions. But they don't get to redefine what the word religion actually means. Religion means exactly what the dictionary would tell you: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity (Merriam-Websters). Religion is a way of life centered on the reality of God, extending to all venues.
The attack on religion really highlights the fact that Protestantism is a heresy, just like the Church has always said it is. The message Protestantism sends is one of," Live for God, but don't do it with any sense of order or regularity. Organize your life around God, but without any organization thereof. Order your life around Christ, but don't do it with any kind of order. Sanctify your life, but without sanctifying anything. Create a Christian culture, but without any traditions or culture. Have a relationship with Christ, but not through the Church. Seek the Truth, but once you've found it don't write it down authoritatively in order to help subsequent generations grasp the Truth; we want to keep reinventing the wheel in every generation. Bring something to the table of Christianity, but once you're gone, so is everything you brought."
Let me just cut to the chase: "The Holy Spirit is not the author of confusion." Christ did not intend for each generation of Christians to build so that the next generation could knock it down and discredit it. The Holy Spirit does not reveal the Truth to Christians so that they will forget it. The Holy Spirit does not reveal the Truth to the society of all Christians so that it's forgotten over and over and over again, only to be painfully relearned in every generation. That's like having to learn that fire is hot, every single day. The Truth is revealed in an accumulative fashion so that each generation builds, until the fullness of the Truth, once delivered by Christ, is revealed in full. This is the perfection of the Bride of Christ.
This "personal relationship" nonsense that Protestants push is designed by Satan to do one thing and one thing only: to cut Christians off from the brethren. It's designed to cut Christians off from the Body of Christ, the society of all Christians. It's designed only to blind people from the communal revelation of Christ, and the revelations that the Holy Spirit gives to the Body as a whole throughout the ages. And if you think those revelations are superfluous, look at some communal revelations: the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the Real Presence. You won't find the word trinity in the bible, or consubstantiality, or hypostasis, or transubstantiation for that matter. Those are communal revelations about the truth once delivered by Christ. Those are pretty substantial revelations.
The proposition of Protestantism which says," Forget religion! A deep personal relationship is all you need!" is counter intuitive and that's why they love it, it's a gimmick. It's the same as saying," Hey, eye ball, you don't need the head. Hey, finger, you don't need the hand." Go tie off your index finger good and tight, and tell me how long it takes before it turns green and starts to stink. The relationship of the Christian individual to the Church is more than going to listen to a sermon. It is a serious, life or death component to Christian life. The individual Christian needs the Body of Christ just like any body part needs the rest of the body.
The body shares a nervous system made out of the same substances as all it's parts; that is analogous to religion and tradition. The electrical impulses that move through the nervous system are analogous to the Holy Spirit. APEs are basically saying," You don't need a nervous system. Let me paralyze you." It's spiritual suicide. It's a bullet aimed at the head of Christ, His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
This heresy is a darkening of the intellect, which is why Evangelical Protestantism is world renowned for its sophistry, its fear-mongering, its anti-intellectual nature, its hatred of logic and reason, and its enmity with scientific and historical facts. This specific heresy of only needing a "personal relationship" is illogical and evil; it's designed to stunt human souls through ignorance. In fact, it was St. Augustine who famously said," Sin darkens the intellect." and as an Orthodox friend of mine aptly translated," Sin makes you dumb." Beware of this heresy! This IS NOT kosher, this IS NOT Christian, and most of all it IS NOT true. You need the Church, humanity needs the Church. The path to Christ is the Church and all of its sacraments. The Church is not merely some vague concept of you and me and everyone who calls on the name of Jesus. The Church is a way of life, it is religion, it is the sacraments. And don't forget it.
"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." ~Aristotle~