To locate a proper positioning of Believers especially when navigating the many spiritual issues of doctrine, prejudices and the strange complexities found in Christianity today makes defining a Christian not as simple as one may expect. All you have to do is get around different groups to find different perspective and heated debates that leave you wondering who really knows and I can see why some folks would want no part of it. Sometimes my research has brought me to the place of asking if there is in fact a preponderance of evidence that a true definition of Christianity even exists. It seems at times gooey and sticky and if you eat too much of it you need to wash your hands and recover from a stomachache. In Scripture we find an Apostle chastising local church personnel for having so quickly leaving the gospel as had been delivered to them (past tense) and to return to the truth. So apparently that leadership had been adding additional nuances or doctrine of their own making to the true gospel as they had originally been taught making then a contrived or accommodating gospel that served the wishes of people and not God. One sure point or recommendation that I would insert if I were writing a report on my analysis would be that Christianity is in need of a major shakeup to be restored in its most simplistic form and purpose which is true worship and praise of the Lord. This portends of course that there are sufficiently trained Teachers available that have true service to Jesus in mind and understand the scope of that service delivery. I once asked the Professor of a tort law class regarding a case under discussion “if you had 10 different Judges placed in 10 different rooms and all given the same case to rule on, how many different opinions would be forthcoming”? The professor said probably 10. I asked him where is true justice to be found in that? He shrugged his shoulders and went on with class. Does this define a problem in Christianity? If officers of the court recognize discrepancies in interpretation of law and consider it to be acceptable, then do Pastors and Ministers of the gospel and Scholars do the same thing? Accordingly, I would ask of the Pastor, what then is the truth and what is the intent of your message? Is it as simplistic as this? “Thou shalt not steal”? Do you steal? Yes I have stolen or no I have not stolen. If yes, is there need for penance and restitution? Can and will God forgive based upon true remorse and in response to a request for forgiveness from a repentant heart? Yes comes the answer but go and sin no more. Is the case now adjudicated and progress made? And is it therefore discovered that complexities of Christianity are found in people and not necessarily in Christianity itself?
You and I constitute an individual person, and when combined with other persons we collectively become a people, so we are right back to the necessity of a required change in each single person so that collectively there can be change in a society and we consequently find the true breakdown of Christianity as known today and perhaps since its inception. But religious opinions are as fragile as ego and precious as breath. Nobody wants to be found lacking or mistaken. And yet few Christians will undertake the fearsome toil of exposing their doctrines to fresh scriptural scrutiny. Fewer still have the confidence to honestly consider new interpretations, thereby, having no need for an engineering department, because there will be no new designs needed here. To follow the Holy Spirit in the lonely paths of spiritual revelation is after all dangerous, and there is need for leadership to provide proper scriptural interpretation so that the Sojourner does not go astray. Fearing change and incrimination, the denominations found it easier to simply defend their old beliefs. Craving the solace of familiarity, they shut out new ideas and banded ever closer together, seeking the reassurance of like-minded people. Soon the security of friendly faces at the church began to provide more comfort than the denomination’s doctrines. The social aspects of church became more important than its teachings. The congregation of believers took-on a new preeminence in the religion, and a relationship with “the body” eclipsed any need for a personal relationship with an intangible God. Fellowship grew infinitely more important than truth, and entertainment became the essence of Christianity. Now, as in the days of Balaam, the truth of Christianity has been blended with sensual desire. The denominations of today draw their converts, not from a pious hunger for the deep things of God, but from an urge for respectable social interaction.
I once had a man tell me that going to church was good for business, you know build up your acquaintances so you have expanded sales potentials. The churches pander to those with a voracity to visit, a need to be noticed, and an appetite for amiable amusement. To feed this craving, Modern Christianity employs every device of social addiction known to man. Today it has become a common carnival of fleshly entertainment, hailing the carnal with choirs, jugglers, fund-raisers, bake sales, games, pageants, plays, sports teams, spectacles, gaudy singers, lurid women, and entertaining speakers who have nothing to say. Take a harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou may be remembered. Have you ever seen one of those evangelists that travel a circuit and after they would give one of their talks have the people line up for prayer? This dog and pony show blew my mind. If you attended more than one of these you noticed the same people always lining up for this thing or that thing and then they would always fall to the floor. One guy once asked me if I would be a “catcher”. Catch what I asked? If these people ever fell near me I would bend down to see if they were faking. And I would wonder why they didn’t progress so that they wouldn’t have to line up for the same thing again, and I would want to say to those people, still got it, ay Joe?
True Christians ought to have more spiritual discernment than to follow the Pied Pipers in the world today. They play their tunes and you sign on and follow as though you have no ability to distinguish and for the most part, these people use your ignorance and dependency to pad their bank accounts, sell you products, and stage the next great show or program all at a hefty cost to you and you keep on writing checks while falling off the cliff.. Some of these “celebrities” are constantly at the drawing board or in planning meetings to concoct new programs and then market them as the next great movement and then tell you why it is imperative that you attend and guess what, you do. Radio Talk Show hosts, TV personalities, so-called Pastors and Evangelists, book writers all, give you something for your feel good. Do you for one moment really believe these people care for you and do you believe that for one moment these people are unaware of your dependency on them? I heard one prominent radio personality (who says he is a follower of God) speak of an idea he had but could not figure out how to commercialize it so he put it away. Again, I ask are these people there for you because they care or because demographic research shows that you are a part of a large market to be nurtured and capitalized upon. Churches operate the same kind of worldly business. Leaders are more concerned about the size of their church than the welfare of their parishioners. They teach a watered down socially correct gospel, not getting you too angry because your tithes and offerings are of paramount importance to them and their operation.
Our charge is to walk with God, not follow man and his many devices. Our Lord wants a personal relationship with you and that relationship involves all aspects of your life right down to the most minute detail. And I dare say the Lord will not not frankly care if you call yourself Catholic, Protestant, Baptist or whatever label you can cite. It is You He wants and it is from you that He desires an individual response and commitment from. And I believe in You.