Why Christians Fail
Submitted by lukeprog on Fri, 09/30/2005 - 06:15
- Many Christians secretly find Jesus irrelevant.
- We think He belongs to a different realm and time than the one we must deal with now. He is not considered to be a person of much ability or intelligence, but rather a magical pawn in a religious game. But how can we really commit our life to His words if we think He is irrelevant and any less than the smartest man who ever lived?
- Many Christians only want to get to heaven.
- Once we have "accepted Jesus into our heart" and are certain we'll go to heaven when we die, we do enough to feel we are good people (pray on occasion, perhaps go to church), but have little interest in living for Jesus.
- Many Christians focus on boundaries.
- We act as if being Christian means not smoking, drinking, swearing, committing adultery, etc. Or that it means going to church regularly, giving tithe, enrolling our children in a Christian school, etc. We don't bother to truly love God (his #1 command!) or learn from Jesus how to live.
- Many Christians focus on doctrine.
- Doctrinal focus proclaims "We must believe what is true!" and not "We must do what is good!" The result was centuries of division in the church over baptism, the nature of salvation, the end times, the trinity, predestination, and more, which is only now beginning to show signs of healing.
- Many Christians focus on politics.
- Christianity can easily become a political stance and a platform for social action rather than a devout apprenticeship to Jesus.
- Most Christians severly misallocate money.
- Like most people, we spend tons of cash on big homes, nice cars, expensive food and entertainment, vacations, and more. Our tithe is spent on gigantic, pretty buildings and impressive multimedia presentations. What if we spent just enough on ourselves to get by, met in homes as the early Christians did, and collectively gave the leftover $20 billion a year from the U.S. alone to feed the hungry as God commanded?
- Most Christians severly misallocate time.
- We have a black hole belly for entertainment, relaxation (without God-focus), vain pursuits, working for ourselves rather than God, and more. We spend more time consuming the destructive principles of our popular culture than the lifegiving principles of God.
- Much of Christian evangelism has been salvation-centric rather than discipleship-centric.
- "Let's just get their butts into heaven." It seems only recently that major missions organizations have been concerned with fostering Christian discipleship beyond the "salvation moment."
- Many Christians oppose secularism more than they live as disciples of Jesus.
- We arrogantly flaunt our intelligence in apologetics, verbally abuse homosexuals, pridefully shun "sinners", bomb planned parenthood clinics, and more.
- Many Christians love the wrong way.
- They equate "love" with unqualified acceptance and being nice. But God's love does not enter quiet collusion with other's sin, accept believers with major, obvious, continuing sin into positions of spiritual leadership, or sacrifice truth and holy edification for "being nice" to others.
- Many Christian institutions of education, charity, evangelism, and commerce are poorly designed to promote discipleship to Jesus.
- "Your system is perfectly designed to produce the results you are getting." And Christian schools, universities, churches, and other organizations are producing millions of Christians who live no differently than non-Christians. These institutions often inspire more boredom and contempt than spiritual fire, despite their good intentions.
- Christianity is usually a religion or culture rather than a devout following of Jesus.
- "I'm a Christian" means for many people that they attend church, pray before meals, wear a cross, wed before a priest, pay tithe, be nice to people, etc., rather than devote their lives to Jesus' way of life.
- Most Christians say one thing and do another.
- This is really a symptom of not actually believing what we are saying. If I truly believed throughout my entire being that Jesus had told me the way to be fulfilled and joyful, I wouldn't ever again cultivate lust to feel momentarily satisfied or waste time watching a silly movie rather than living in God's purposes. Somewhere within me I don't trust God's ways to be adequate or correct, and so I do not always act in accordance with my own words.
- Many Christians misuse the Bible.
- The Bible is not a scientific textbook, a complete guide to living, or factually inerrant, though it is often used as such. Sometimes, entire doctrines are pulled from a narrow-sighted exegesis of a single verse. These uses cause confusion and disappointment.
- Some Christians have developed the idea that they are a persecuted minority.
- Christianity is the most popular single worldview on the planet (including athiesm). It makes little sense for Christians to be so easily intimidated in "secular" settings like universities and workplaces, but many are.
- Christians don't try to be special.
- It's easy to be caught up in secular psychology, sociology, behavioral study, and the principles of "modern morality." Because it is extremely normal to allow negative thoughts, let our emotions rule, maintain "minor vices" and "white lies," etc., Christians become just as trapped in the patterns of slow self-destruction as everyone else. But we are called to be anything but normal.
The more articulate parts of this list are paraphrased from Dallas Willard. Few Christians are described by ALL of these criticisms, though nearly all are described by a few. The list is not complete.