“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).