For some time now I’ve been hopping in and out of Christwire.org and reading some of their stuff. I’m pretty sure this is a satire site, and honestly, some of the stuff is funny. But on the other hand, there is something really sad about the type of material on this site, namely, that there are Christians who are really like this.
First of all, I do not want to come off as an arrogant know it all (trust me, I don’t know a lot), and I don’t wanna be a jerk to other Christians who genuinely believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and who believe that he is, indeed, the “way, the truth, and the life.” But, from time to time I just want to bang my head against the wall because of the way some Christians have denigrated Christianity to a superstition and emotional roller-coaster. So, what type of Christians am I referring to here? The ones that Christwire portrays: The Christian that believes that Satan is in every single bad thing that happens (like getting a flat tire or diarrhea); the Christian that thinks that if you study philosophy you have become a pagan; the Christian who thinks faith means you leave your brain at the door.
I love these people. But it’s so hard to see some Christians act like this and represent Christianity as some sort of superstitious soap opera. These sorts of errors need to be corrected because it gives off the wrong message to other people that misinforms them about what the Christian worldview really is. If we are to be effective ambassadors for Christ, we need to inform people, not misinform. We need to give the right message and show people that the Christian worldview is the picture of reality.
The prosperity gospels, the therapeutic Jesus movement (oh, don’t get me started there), and the superstitiousness and emotionalism that is just running rampant all over the Christian culture really doesn’t help in reaching out to other people and informing them.
Ok, I’m going to comment on what I call the therapeutic Jesus movement. I just couldn’t resist. So prepare for an aside. Plus, I think this fits in perfectly with the idea that we must inform other people and not misinform them. The idea is basically that if you give your life to Christ and surrender it to Him, your life will be a bundle of roses, Jesus will take your problems away, Jesus will take your addictions away and make you into a new person. No doubt Christ is in the business of changing lives and healing people. I don’t disagree with this one bit. And yes he will make you into a new person. BUT, Jesus’s entire goal is not to make you into Mary Poppins and let you run through the rose fields. Jesus came to save those who were lost. Jesus came to restore the broken relationship between God and man that came as a result of us our sin and rebellion. In the process, does God change our character? Yes! But he doesn’t do so so that you can just live life nice and dandy, but so that you can be transformed more into his image and so you can fulfill your purpose on this earth.
The problem I see is that our focus becomes fixated on God’s meeting our every need and want. We’re essentially telling people that God is here to take all their problems away, make them perfect people, and send them on their way. This might not be the intention, but this is the way it’s packaged and sold. What the therapeutic Jesus movement does is it makes the change and good itself (the feeling of elation and happiness, the drug free life) the the object of fulfillment. The ultimate end becomes becoming like that guy who is good, or being the good guy I wanna be, or reaching my “potential as a Christian,” or being “blessed” financially, spiritually, and what have you. Being drug free, doing good, etc. are goods, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be blessed. But these things are lesser goods, and they should not be the object of our desire. These things will to fulfill us and they are not our ultimate end.
I think this brings us nicely to the question of “what exactly is our purpose then?” What is our ultimate end? The westminster confession sums it up nicely: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, [a] and to enjoy him for ever. . In making God, who is the supreme good, the object of our desires, happiness comes as an inevitable by-product. In other words, happiness comes with the package. That’s when God changes us, takes away our unhealthy and bad addictions, and He uses us and brings forth happiness as we fulfill our ultimate end. Our human nature is ordered so that we fulfill our ends, and this is ultimately and perfectly fulfilled by God alone. So all these things that a lot of Christians in this thereupetuic movement focus on are distractions. We shouldn’t focus on being like this or being like that, but focus on Christ. In doing so and in orienting ourselves to Him, we begin to make changes and God begins to make changes, and things start happening inevitably.
It’s a slight change of perspective that makes all the difference
Yeah, that was a long aside, but I felt like it was an important discussion. Anyways, I’m huge on critical thinking and logic, and I think this should play a monumental role in the Christian life. It shouldn’t be the only role, but it should play a major role nonetheless. God gave us brains and reason, after all. Yet, I look around and see a lot of Christians just going with the emotional flow of the Christian sub-culture and this goes out the window. I love my Christian brothers and sisters dearly. It just bothers me that I look around and see that everything in the Christian circle is dominated by emotion. Emotion per se is not a bad thing. We need it and it’s something that is a part of our human essence. But that’s not all that Christianity is about. Yes, there is a great deal of emotion involved when I think of Christ and what He’s done, but there’s a lot a great deal of intellectual work and philosophy, and a great deal more with regard to walking the Christian path. We need to be well rounded and we need more critical thinking to offset the emotionalism that’s just gripped Christianity. We need to get back to the basics and fundamentals of Christianity (and NO I am not saying we need to be a fundamentalist in the way that secularism has defined the word, that is, the crazy-psycho pathic Christians who blow up abortion clinics). We need to get back to what the Gospel is and who God is and why He came. We need to show people that reason and faith do not contradict each other, and that Christianity is not anti-science. We need to articulate our views precisely and strongly, and we need to have a heart of servant. Have the heart of a servant and the will of a soldier. It can be done; it just needs to be balanced.
If we’re going to make a difference and win this culture, we have to act like we actually live in this world. Too many times Christians take the whole “be separate from the world” literally to another level. They fabricate their own reality amongst themselves and just live amongst themselves, isolated from the real world. You know, the kind of world we share with other people? The kind of world in which we all experience pain and suffering together? So, why don’t we work with our fellow human beings and show them what Christianity really is. Let’s really reach out, defend, and proclaim the name of Christ. That means we meet people where they’re at.
There’s so much that can be said and I really hope I wasn’t all over the place. There’s just SO much to say and so much I see. I think we can do it. With the rise of even more Christian philosophers and apologetics, we’re starting to see more and more Christians critically reflecting over their faith and bringing this into the market place of ideas. It starts with leaders. People who are willing to study scripture hard, really seek God in prayer and in the scriptures, studying philosophy, getting an education and really seeking truth. If we emphasize an overall approach, because I believe God permeates every avenue of life, we can really turn this thing around and show how Christianity really is vibrant in all areas of life: Spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally. And most importantly, we’d demonstrate how Christianity is reality.