The problem I’m seeing is that American Christianity for the most part is too busy trying to be relevant and not faithful to the teachings and beliefs of the very apostles that sat at the feet of Jesus. Too many churches have conformed to this world so that their teaching is no longer distinguishable from the teaching of the world. They have traded in the gospel of hope for a message of tolerance, giving up the very word of salvation that can actually change people’s lives and give them the purpose and meaning that we all so desperately need.
If we’re not careful, we will soon become irrelevant and obsolete. The world won’t hate us because we’re too different, but because we’re not different enough — or in some cases, there will be no difference at all.
The message that sets us apart is that old tried and true John 3:16 that says that God so loved this fallen and broken world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever recognizes his or her own sinfulness — and we’ve all sinned — and believes in God’s Son as the remedy for sin, will not be eternally lost but will have eternal and abundant life now and in the life to come.
But what we’ve done is recreated the Son of God in our own image — either as a passive anything goes leftist who will tolerate any abhorrent behavior of ours or as a judgy moralist right-winger who is all about pointing out every single mistake we’ve ever made to punish us for them. We’ve in essence tamed the Lion of Judah to fit within our political and ideological framework, rather than submitting our politics and ideologies to His reign and rule.
As Dorothy Sayers said, “The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused him of being a bore – on the contrary, they thought him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him ‘meek and mile,’ and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.”
The Jesus who came hung out with prostitutes, drunkards, and outcasts. He forgave the woman caught in the act of adultery. Yes, He met people where they were, as they were, but He didn’t leave them there. Those prostitutes, drunkards, and outcasts didn’t stay prostitutes, drunkards, and outcasts any longer. He also told that woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more, not living by the old way she knew but by a new way that He had shown her and had empowered her through His presence to live out.
That’s the gospel — not conforming to the world but being transformed by the renewing of our minds through the hope of a living and risen Christ.