Earlier this week I had the pleasure of being a guest at a Christian festival close to where I live. After having attended several seminars, and a few concerts, I drove away at the conclusion Wednesday evening, confused.
The concerts were exceptional, and there was a lot of energy, from both the performers and the audience. The lyrics in the songs from the groups Casting Crowns, Toby Mac, 10th Ave North and others I heard, resonated with messages of God’s unconditional love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and what Jesus did on the cross for us all. I liked that, it gave me hope that Christianity was turning the corner from being a religion of morality police, to an intimate relationship with God through Jesus and extending that love to all people.
But then there were the seminars.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend all of them, but if what I heard was any indication of the general tone, then Christianity in this part of the world is in deep trouble.
I went to a seminar about bullying, and I heard that you can only be offended if you CHOOSE to be offended, and that after you report being bullied a few times to the administration of your school, you have the right to lash out and pummel the bully, pushing him/her down bleachers, or to jump on and punch him/her until someone pulls you off.
But can I tell you, being a survivor of school bullying, that a boy or girl being bullied is NOT going to react with violence, it is not within the nature of most of them. And they will not report it to school authorities because in their minds they feel somehow responsible for being bullied or fearful of retaliation for telling. This “advice” is unbiblical, something about turning the other cheek comes to mind.
Another speaker on her first day decided it was a good time to attack the Affordable Care Act. The problem is that she actually LIED concerning one of the provisions in the Act. Again, unbiblical, as in bearing false witness (one of the Big 10), but I guess when you hate the current administration, there must be a loophole somewhere.
Her second day was not any better. She actually stated that if you were not tithing that you had no right to claim Philippians 4 :19. And as a result of tithing she has gotten three cars for free. Perhaps she should take this message to starving and thirsty Christians living around the globe, I am sure cars are the first thing on their minds. The idea that tithing will make everything work for you is unbiblical and destructive to the core.
She also made the statement that EVERY person she has “claimed” for Jesus has been saved. I also learned that Adam and Eve lived in a house, that the Holy Spirit is a man who is half fire and half amber with a human hand, that God did not kill Job’s wife because He was restoring everything to Job twofold so He would have had to give him two wives and that goes against His word. Apparently she forgot about Jacob, and David, and Solomon, and a multitude of other men in the Hebrew Scripture having more than one wife. Also she claimed to know what God looks like too. He has a HUGE hand that can hold the universe so therefore He, Himself must be “humongous”. And finally, we will have flesh and bone in eternity but no blood because we will be like Jesus and He bled all His blood out, so we won’t have any either.
I wish I was making this up, but sadly I am not.
Everything that I heard spoken in the three days there, had to do with what you and I needed TO DO. There was very little if any conversation surrounding God’s grace toward us because of what Jesus HAD DONE. And none about loving people outside the church with unconditional love.
The title of this post is Schizophrenic Christianity, because I heard two different messages. One is embraced by the majority of my fellow Evangelicals and the message is, that it is all about what you do that makes God happy and you a good Christian.
The second message is about God and His amazing unconditional love and grace extended to all people in Jesus, and that God loves us without any reservation in Christ, and we are to mirror that love to a broken world.
11 thoughts on “Schizophrenic Christianity?”
I completely “get” what you’re saying here. I’ve noticed that people who are Christians lure others in with the gospel message, but once you accept the gift of God’s grace there is a bait and switch that happens. After you are saved, you are hammered with lists of things you should be doing, guilt trips, what I like to call “The Sin of the Week” sermons. You are invited to confess your sin, but then it is used against you.
I don’t know which speakers you were listening to, but the idea that if you give enough or do enough for God that He will reward you with financial blessing (free cars) is known as the Prosperity Gospel and is most definitely an evil teaching. The “ministers” who preach it get rich, but their congregants do not, because they are sowing their money into the ministry.
Sadly, there is a lot of this going on in every corner of USA. It is not the Gospel. But it is what those outside the church walls have been led to believe. We have done a great disservice to the Message of God’s grace.
Mark, I know only the second answer would do for me.
There is nothing we need do or be to have God’s love – my kind of God would never say “If you do this, then you will know my love”
God loves us, whatever we are already – there is nothing we need do, except accept that love, reach out ,and grasp it fully with both hands
I am glad you are sounding better within yourself too, keep going, many are in the same boat and helping each other , even in little ways makes lifes journey so much more manageable.
Thanks again for your kind words and for holding up the truth of grace in your corner of the world too.
Peace to you.
The second, beyond any doubt.
Beyond any doubt, it is the true Gospel of grace.
I’m trying to figure out how to re-post. I don’t think I could say it better than you did.
Thank you Joseph, you are always an encouragement to me. Peace to you my brother.
Reblogged this on The Torn Veil and commented:
I couldn’t have said this any better than our brother Mark.
Tweeted this. Love the solid real life demonstration of a problem currently rampant among those who claim to be part of the Body of Christ. Sometimes I wonder if God sees them as such, but I know grace is amazing so they may just be rebellious children or believers having been taken captive by Satan and/or the world.
Thank you Wayne for reading and for tweeting this also. I hope it reaches those that need to hear.