The Real Problem

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“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” —  Mahatma Gandhi 

Well, that’s the real problem, isn’t it?  Today’s version of Christianity bears little resemblance to the genuine article.  Consider:

  • The church (ekklesia/assembly) Jesus built (Matthew 16:18) looks almost nothing like the divided, quarrelsome and institutionalized church of today.
  • The followers of Christ have little in common with Christ in appearance, attitude and actions.
  • The “structure” (for lack of a better word) of Christianity is far removed from the simplicity and purity of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Let me try to make it even clearer. 

Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, Jesus and/or the apostles…

…dressed in expensive robes and arcane headdress accepting the obeisance and veneration of millions of devotees as they march in processions through the streets or preside over ceremonies in gold-laden temples filled with images and “relics?” 

…sitting in a study spending many hours and much energy each week to prepare sermons to deliver to an apathetic audience of attendees?

…officiating over well-choreographed “worship services” in palatial, well-appointed auditoriums featuring orchestras, choirs and glib-tongued public speakers?

…approving the diversion of resources from the preaching of the gospel and the relief of human suffering to erect “church buildings” or “compensate” (yes, that’s the word often used!) a staff of workers with “competitive salaries?”

…ever approving of the exploitation, subjugation and enslavement of a nation and/or its people under the guise of bringing the gospel to them?

…killing, maiming or torturing human beings (or even approving of it) because their religious beliefs, political persuasions or scientific ideas differ from theirs?

…using the media (or anything else, for that matter,) to preach a “prosperity gospel” scamming millions of dollars from the ignorant and vulnerable to finance a luxurious and selfish lifestyle?

            Is it any wonder that Gandhi felt as he did?  Is it any wonder that multiplied millions have been “turned off” by what they understandably perceive as “Christianity?” 

            Those of us who call ourselves Christians need to take a new, close, hard, honest look at the life and teachings of the one we claim to follow.  Then we need to deal ruthlessly with the discrepancies we will surely discover.

            We have a lot of ungodly history to overcome: witch hunts, crusades, inquisitions, tortures, executions, exploitations, unsavory alliances, political intrigue, forced conversions…on and on we could go.

Warning!  We must get our act together quickly or face certain further defeat and disdain in the world’s marketplace of ideas. 

            How will we accomplish this?  Finding our way back to service, good deeds and the public proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ and the Way is essential.

Relying on God’s Word, the indwelling Holy Spirit and God’s power we must jettison our shameful, precious and prideful denominational baggage and return to the simple Christianity described in the New Testament.  It is time!

It is time to shed our sanctimonious façades to truly follow the one who came to bring peace to the world and spiritual warfare to the domain of darkness. 

It is time to look, talk and walk like Him.

It is time to serve, seek and save like Him.

It is time to cast off everything but Christ and Him crucified.

This problem has a simple solution.  It is to be like Christ.  For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

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7 Comments

Filed under Religion

7 responses to “The Real Problem

  1. Jim Thomas

    Amen!, Amen!, Amen!

    Dwight, Shirley and I have known you for a very long time and it is such a blessing to us to have watched your growth in spiritual maturity. It must be good that you are now in the education field where your audience actually wants to listen and learn rather than being in the pulpit where there are so many in the audience for the wrong reason(s). We certainly need both, but I believe you have found the place your talents can do the most good.

    We enjoy all your writings and comments. May the Lord bless you with a long, healthy life to benefit others.

  2. Terry Pickles (South Australia)

    Dwight, A great article but I have found that “We” will never change anything because “we” are always waiting for someone else to start. “I” on the other hand, have no-one else to wait for and consequently, “I” can blame no-one but myself, when nothing changes. Keep searching.

  3. Bob Chapman

    It is highly unlikely that entire congregations will ever step out of their comfort zones and pursue the ideals you have mentioned Dwight but individuals can; beginning with you and I.
    Blessings
    Bob Chapman

  4. dwhitsett

    Bob, Terry, you are so right…those who have tried to bring change to established churches will testify to that fact. Sometimes I wish I could just hit “rewind” and start over again. Since I can’t do that, the next best thing is to make sure that I am following Christ.

  5. Chadd Schroeder

    Dwight – I just stumbled onto your blog…really appreciate your thinking and words.

  6. Good article. Our posts (mine: http://saij.wordpress.com/2007/06/02/jerry-falwell-on-bush-and-the-christianist-hatred-of-good-works/)

    are saying much the same thing. Modern fundamentalist American Christianity is not really Christianity in the strictest sense. That is, it doesn’t actually follow the teachings of Jesus. And you are right that it is tough to do so. And that is likely why congregations don’t.

    Bob Chapman is correct. Individuals can. But, the individuals are not currently, and are not likely going to be able to compete in terms of influence with the large fundamentalist hordes. Their version of Christianity, if we can call it that, is what is selling, and it has major implications in geo-politics and collective morality.

    I hope posts like yours will help stem the tide.

  7. Pingback: What Modern Christianity Isn't « Good Tithings

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