What Christianity Is Not

Here are three myths about Christianity that are debunked in light of having a real relationship with God, one that is fun and fascinating.


Christianity is not another religion. Christianity is a relationship. Dr. Alex McFarland said it best when he wrote that Christianity is not just a “get-out-of-Hell-free” card. Many think the sole purpose of becoming a Christian is to escape hell. Jesus did not just die so that we could go to heaven; He died to restore a severed relationship. From the very beginning, God who is Himself relational, wanted to have a friendship with us (Genesis 1:26).  Mankind’s relationship with God was severed by sin. It was through Jesus’s death and God’s forgiveness of sin that Jesus saved us from eternal separation from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Yes, that means hell, but it also means eternal separation from God’s presence.

Christianity is not isolationism from the rest of the world. Didn’t Jesus say, “live in the world but not of the world”? While Jesus never said, “live in the world (A.K.A. culture), but not of the world,” He has been attributed for saying as much in a conversation He has with His closest friends in John 17.  Many hear this phrase and think “Oh great, Jesus is asking me to live under a rock!”  On the contrary, Jesus wants His companions to come out from under the proverbial rock.  He encourages His friends to be a part of this world, to live an integrated lifestyle, one unified with Him and the culture!” I think renowned, Scottish pastor Peter Marshal had the right idea about what an integrated Christian lifestyle looks like when he said:

God is a God of laughter, as well as prayer…a God of singing, as well as tears.

God is at home in the play of His children.

He loves to hear us laugh…

We must try to make the distinction between worship

and work

and play

less sharp…

 

If you can’t take God into your recreation there is something wrong with the way you play.

If God, for you, does not smile, there is something wrong with your idea of God.

 

We all believe in the God of the heroic.

What we need most these days is the God of the humdrum

…the commonplace

…the everyday (Marshall, C.)

What Jesus meant in saying “do not be of the world” is an encouragement for Christians to shape the culture, rather than being shaped by the culture. A brilliantly minded man wrote that God wants us to advance culture (Sauer, 1962, pp. 80-81).  Cultural advancement does not happen unless we take part in shaping it through art, drama, technology, music, science, sports, architecture, fashion, and the like (Sauer, 1962, pp. 80-81).

Christianity is not the joy siphon. Many think God and pleasure are incongruous, but this passage offers and agreeable surprise:

“[B]ecause of the current darkness in our hearts, we must be careful not to make idols out of God’s provisions….[However,] God isn’t displeased when we enjoy a good meal, marital sex, a football game, a cozy fire, or a good book.  He’s not up in Heave frowning at us and saying, “Stop it—you should only find joy in me.”  This would be as foreign to God’s nature as our heavenly Father as it would be to mine as an earthy father if I gave my daughters a Christmas gift and started pouting because they enjoyed it too much.  No, I gave the gift to bring joy to them and to me–if they didn’t take pleasure in it, I’d be disappointed.  Their pleasure in my gift to them draws them closer to me.  I am delighted that they enjoy the gift.  Of course, if children become so preoccupied with the gift that they walk away from their father and ignore him, that’s different.  Though preoccupation with a God-given gift can turn into idolatry, enjoying the same gift with a grateful heart can draw us closer to God.

 

[In short]…we must sometimes forego secondary pleasures, and we should never let them eclipse God…But we should thank God for all of life’s joys, large and small, and allow them to draw us to him.” (Alcorn, 2004, p. 177)


Selected Resources:

Alcorn, Randy. Heaven. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 2004. Print.

Marshall, C.  A Man Called Peter: The Story of Peter Marshall. Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 1951. Print.

Sauer, Erich. The King of the Earth. Grand Rapids: Erdmans, 1962. Print.

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