What has happened to true Christianity?

Posted: February 16, 2016 in Christian Living, Music & Videos, Revival
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There are lyrics to an old camp meeting song that goes:

Give me that old time religion

give me that old time religion

Give me that old time religion

It’s good enough for me

Makes me love everybody

Makes me love everybody

Makes me love everybody

It’s good enough for me

It was good for Paul and Silas

It was good for Paul and Silas

It was good for Paul and Silas

And it’s good enough for me

Many of us grew up in a time where almost everyone went to church services on Sundays. We would sing hymns like the one above, quietly listen to the preacher’s sermon, and we did our best to be good Christians.

America is a wonderful place to live. Here we have religious freedom to express our beliefs and worship according to our faith. But times have changed. According to a recent survey by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the number of Protestants has fallen below 50 percent for the first time in American history and many U.S.-born Catholics are leaving the church. The survey also revealed another startling fact: the number of people who are not affiliated with any faith at all rose four percent in just the last five years and nearly 20 percent of the population said that they are of no specific faith at all!

Why is this? 

I believe it’s partly because we have focused too much on symbols of Christianity  rather than the underlying reality they represent. Christians have fought to place the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and Christmas Nativity scenes outside town halls. We have sued over public prayers and crosses in state parks. Schools have been dragged into court over prayer at football games and whether students should be allowed to post Bible verses on their banners.

Instead of spending time fighting the courts over our “religious rights”, I believe we need to go back to the basics of living as disciples of Christ and demonstrating the Gospel in tangible ways within our schools, workplaces and communities.

Instead of unifying believers, Christ has become a symbol of discontentment and divisiveness. Theologians publicly humiliate each other, pastors hatefully condemn those they disagree with and denominations are split over minor differences.

Professing Christians are now using Facebook and Twitter as platforms to spread hurtful comments, derogatory posts and vicious attacks and to spew degrading opinions and gossip—often without provocation. Accusations of being a “heretic” and “false prophet” are freely given to various individuals who simply have new, bold or different ideas.

While I would be happy to see the Ten Commandments back on the courthouse wall, the fight over symbolic issues is backfiring, alienating people from the truths of the Bible rather than attracting them to it. The kind of Christianity the world responds to is the authentic “love your neighbor” kind. This is something that can’t be legislated through court battles and neither can the courts stop it from spreading.

Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” American Christians have forgotten how to dialogue and respectfully disagree. We’ve abandoned concepts like grace, humility and love and have devolved into critics instead of encouragers, instigators instead of peacemakers, debaters instead of friends, and reactionists instead of innovators.

Our fast-paced culture of celebrity worship and entertainment has trumped our ability to patiently meditate, pray and reflect. We ignore God’s meaningful truth in the Bible and instead clamor over hollywood celebrities and place Christian entertainers on pedestals as if they were gods to be worshiped!

Today Christians have made salvation as simple as parroting a simple prayer. But we neglect to do what Jesus commanded us to do and have forgotten that our salvation cost him his very life! How different would the world be if Christians understood that our ultimate reward at the Resurrection is based on our actions—what we do, how we conduct our life, and how much we ministered to others—instead of offering this exceptionally generous “Get Out of Hell Free” card?

Jesus also said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) [See also John 14:21, John 14:23, John 15:10, and 2 John 1:6]

But today Christianity credits what you believe far above what you do. This idea is the reason that the Catholic church could consider itself to be Christian during the scourges of the Inquisition and other atrocities committed by them.

Years ago Keith Green caused a great stir among Christians when he published an article titled, “What’s Wrong With The Gospel?”

In it he writes, “Now, because of our dilemma in finding ourselves to be such numskulls, and seeing the demands of Jesus, we have invented some pretty interesting and caraaazzeey doctrines. Some Christians have said, “Well, when God looks at us, He doesn’t really see us anymore, He sees Jesus instead. And when there’s ever sin in our hearts, if God should happen to look at the wrong moment, He’ll see a smiling face of Jesus there, instead of seeing our sin. So God sees me as holy – even though I’m not! But…I really am…er, well, you know what I mean!” (I don’t happen to believe that God is that easily fooled, not even by Christians.)”

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 2:13, “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” You see, the Bible not only teaches us to love God and others, but that we are to obey His commandments as well!

Christianity is more than just a word that describes your culture. To be a true Christian you actually have to live a Christian life! “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) But if you attempt to debate this truth from the Bible, most believers will try to stop you. Because they want you to believe the way THEY believe. Some may preach, argue, get angry, and even threaten you. Why? It’s all written in their own Bible, but most won’t look it up.

I didn’t write the Bible. And I’m not responsible for what the Bible documents. I only read it and pass on what I have discovered. But no matter how often I emphasize this, people still tend to blame the messenger for the Bible’s content. And blame is  a no win game.

“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-16 Emphasis mine)

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Comments
  1. Gordon Kruse says:

    Saw a video the other day of a young cute girl spewing out hate and other things towards Hillary Clinton. She sounded quite educated in her bashing. I noticed a pretty cross around her neck, so I assumed she was a Christian. The last thing she said after her tirade was … “Hillary go F— yourself. Too many people wear the cross and treat it just as jewelry with no meaning behind it. When we proclaim Christ as our savior, we all need walk the walk as well as talk the talk. When one acts totally of the world, the world assumes that if this person is a Christian, then it is OK to shout out obscenities too, and that it is OK with our Father to do so. I’m not trying to judge her because I too have fallen at times to the world’s languages. People have just got to be more sensitive to what they are portraying before blowing everything with ungodly actions that the world can only understand as proper behaviors for Christians.

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