Maybe There’s a Way to Follow Christ Without Being a Christian

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle.  That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”  – Brennan Manning (a Christian)

Maybe Manning should figure out a way to follow Christ without being a Christian.  That is, he could dispense with church and give all his devotion to Jesus.  This is not only possible – it’s desirable from God’s point of view.  See the Overview of A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

See also Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church.

Jesus is Lord.  He is everywhere…all the time.  We should stop acting as if this were not true.

Evangelicals Have Tired of Hearing about Jesus

The trinity doctrine is usually embraced by those who have tired of hearing of Jesus.  I hope you are not such a person.  As the Scripture says, “We must pay much closer attention to that which we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1).  What have we heard more important than Jesus?  And to whom should we be paying attention lest we drift away from Him?  That portion of Scripture from which I quoted goes on to say that there is much to tell us about Jesus but that we have become “dull of hearing” (Hebrews 5:11).  In fact, the entire letter to the Hebrews is an exhortation to faith in Christ as opposed to faith in any ritual or practice or institution.

If Christians had not tired of hearing of Christ, they never would have embraced the idea of a trinity.  Cast off the trinity concept and seek the mature teaching about Christ (Hebrews 6:1).  He is everywhere…all the time.  Let’s act like it!

For more, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

Faith in Christ Is Preferable to Christianity

Faith is Christ in preferable to any religion (even Christianity).  If you trust Christ, He will know it.  If you find that you need affirmation from any other human being that you have successfully trusted Christ, you have not yet trusted Him (Romans 14:22).  This is why so many churchgoers have so little faith in Christ.  They are looking to each other instead of to Him.

Which Religions Have the Most Followers?

Joel Watts of Unsettled Christianity has posted Howard Steven Friedman’s list of the five religions that have the most adherents.

Actually, what I’d be curious about is how many followers Jesus has.  Note that this is a very different question from asking how many followers Christianity has.  Of course, no one on earth knows the answer to my question.  That answer rests with the Lord Himself (2 Timothy 2:19).

My Experience with De-Converts from Christianity

In recent months I have had exposure to numerous atheists and agnostics who have deconverted from Christianity.  As a rule, I have found them to be just that – de-converted from Christianity (or some form of it) rather than deconverted from Christ.

Another way of stating this is that these people have de-converted from social Christianity rather than spiritual Christianity (for the difference, which is vast, see Spiritual Christianity Versus Social Christianity).  What passes for Christianity today in fundamentalist and evangelical churches really amounts to Churchianity (see The Curse of Churchianity).   That is, instead of pursuing the kingdom of God – as Jesus taught we should – Christians are pursuing the kingdom of church.  The two ideas are completely opposed to each other.

When today’s generation of Christian adults were children, they were taught the precepts of Churchianity – not the precepts of Jesus Christ our Lord.  As a result, it is not surprising that many of them – upon leaving the nest – find social groups more to their liking.  In fact, I’m surprised there aren’t more de-converts from the idolatry of church.   

By contrast, Jesus Christ gives no reason to de-convert.  He is faithful.  He is the mighty God and humanity’s greatest friend.  Oh, how I love Him so!

Dialogue with “ExChristian.Net” (re: Heaven and Hell)

Last month I came across a post called “Hell – Roots” on a site called ExChristian.net.  I thought this provided a good opportunity to tell the news of how everyone is going to heaven.  I was confirming the thesis of the post – which was that an eternal afterlife of hell was not something people needed to worry about.  I was thus taken by surprise at the hostility toward my message. 

The tone of the dialogue is decidedly less edifying than that of Dialogue with “Common Sense Atheism” that I posted earlier today.  In fact, so upset were they with my message that they banned me from the site.  Thus I was responding to various challenges when I found the comment mechanism inoperable for me and saw the pop-up “You have been banned from commenting on this site,” or something to that effect.

While this experience was jarring, I attribute it to the fact that it is a site intended for proselytizing.  That is, they are welcoming “de-converted Christians” and don’t want anyone making comments that might interfere with that process.  While I don’t consider that attitude wise, it does make their action rational. 

It interests me to juxtapose in my mind this dialogue with the Dialogue with Don and Robert (re: Heaven and Hell).  In both cases, you have people rejecting the idea that everyone is going to heaven on the basis that it is not true.  The former – atheists – believe it’s not true because they don’t believe anyone is going.  The latter – Christians – believe it’s not true because they believe only they are going. 

I would have thought a group of exChristians (or at least some of them) would be interested in the idea that they could reject what was wrong with modern-day Christianity without having to reject what was right with it (that is, hold on to the baby of Christ and throw out the bath water of churchianity).  I learned something.  Here then is that conversation (I show up in the comments as “mdgantt”).

Why I Am For Christ…but Don’t Call Myself a Christian

I love Jesus Christ.  He is the one true God.  And He’s the God not just of Christians, but of all humanity.  This is why I don’t call myself a Christian.  I don’t want to be set apart from rest of the human race; I want to be one with it.

Christianity today has become Churchianity.  That is, it’s devoted not to Christ but to itself.  Church has become an idol – meaning it interferes with the true worship of God.  Church behavior is one of the biggest obstacles to people seeing Christ.  The church doesn’t need to be reformed, it needs to be abandoned.

I don’t mind being called a Christian, especially if it brings glory to Christ.  And I love it when Christians promote Christ.  But Christians who promote church or themselves do not honor Christ.  Moreover, when most people call themselves Christians they are setting themselves apart from their fellow human beings – as if there’s a pecking order in humanity.  This does not please God, and therefore it’s not something I want to encourage.

Jesus died for the whole human race that we all might go to heaven.  For this reason, we all should repent.  But repentance doesn’t mean going to church it means loving God and your neighbor.  It means purifying your heart before God, not wearing a label and associating with supposedly holy people.

As the song says, “Jesus is the answer for the world today; above Him there’s no other, Jesus is the way.”  Christians should not be followed, but Christ should.

I don’t want to be called Christian.  I don’t want to be called anything.  I only want Him to be called Lord.  And for Hi m to call me obedient.

Related posts:

Spiritual Christianity Versus Social Christianity

True Christianity

Why Christopher Hitchens Debates Well Against Christians

Obviously, Christopher Hitchens has an interesting personality and is very bright.  Nonetheless, his Christian debate opponents usually have similar if not identical assets.  The reason that Hitchens often appears to “win” the debates is because he argues from moral conviction.  Strangely, his Christian opponents I have seen won’t engage with him on this ground. 

Take this debate below between Hitchens and William Lane Craig.  It is quite long (1-2 hours in total) but if you watch it all, you will see the irony I am describing.  Craig is a very good debater and, at the end, concludes that Hitchens hasn’t laid a glove on him…and that Christianity has won the debate.  The problem is that Craig is viewing and grading the debate in strictly philosophical terms.  Audiences, however, don’t listen so purely.  They are affected at the emotional level, and this is where Hitchens has appeal. 

I believe in Jesus Christ and nothing Christopher Hitchens has said makes me want to do otherwise.  However, it is disappointing to see Hitchens take the moral high ground while the representatives of Jesus argue philosophies, logic, and tradition.  Surely Jesus has a moral argument that is superior to anything Christopher has heard or said.

(If you want to view the Hitchens-Craig debate, which is one of the best, here it is:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxgGKA9eUn0