this can’t be Christianity…

Sunday morning I was at Mike‘s parents’ house doing homework. We were going to Mike’s cousin’s wedding in a few hours and I was trying to squeeze in some homework. I got bored and decided to turn on the TV for a few minutes when I saw… Coral Ridge Ministries Hour. Within minutes I was up from the table and standing in front of the TV, arms crossed, and quite pissed off…. I simply couldn’t believe that what they were saying, in the name of Jesus. They were fundamentalist Christians, to say the least, and very conservative, and I am neither. But despite our opposing starting points, I would hope that I could agree with them at least partially because of our common faith… but I could not.

The preacher said, “85% of Americans claim to be Christians while only one percent claim to be atheist. Do you know what it is called when the one percent rules the other 99%? A tyranny. We need to take back this country and make it a Christian nation again.” WHAT?!? Ok, first off, 85% of this country is not truly trying to follow Christ or things would be a whole lot different. Secondly, this country was not founded as a Christian nation- most of our forefathers were deists! And even if all of our forefathers were devout Christians, as Christians we should not be striving to build a “Christian nation” but rather the Kingdom of God, which transcends all nations, nationalities, races, and boundaries. The idea that we should build a Christian nation is absolutely ludacris to me… and where the heck to you find that idea in the bible? I think that trying to build a Christian nation also puts Christians at war for power with the non-Christians of America, and that puts a serious road-block in building the Kingdom. Why are we fighting for political power when we already have the power of God? Why are we trying to take over the systems of the world instead of building the Kingdom of God that is far more powerful and transendent then any system in America? I believe Christians should vote, we can even get involved in politics, and I think it is necessary to be activists, but forget “building a Christian nation”- we have far greater goals.

After the motivational speech about re-building our Christian America. There was a Coral Ridge Ministries commercial… for a cruise. A CHRISTIAN CRUISE? WHAT?!? The cruise trip was called “America the Beautiful” and the ship cruises the Hawaiian Islands for a week on the “Pride of America” ship staffed completely by Americans and covered in American decor. How can we mix patriotism with Christianity like that? And a Christian cruise to see the beauty of our “God Blessed” nation- can’t Christians find better things to spend their money on- like perhaps ending poverty?

I could go on and on about how wrong I think ministries like Coral Ridge are… but other than becoming VERY frustrated and wanting to write some angry letters, what can I do? What do you do when you think another group of Christians is so incredibly wrong? Because they seem to think that they are right on track with fulfilling God’s will for America. And I completely disagree.

I have been wrestling with this. Jesus calls Christians to be united as he and the Father were united, and that means we need to get awfully close. But how do I do that when I think that other Christians are butchering the Gospel and following their own mission rather than God’s? Now we have me vs. them, and I know that we both think we are right. Do I drop my pride and accept that they may be correct, and therefore let them express their faith in the patriotic way they do? Or do I stand firm and oppose them because I think doing anything less would be allowing the message of Jesus to be mutilated?

I’m confused and I need help… and ask me questions if you don’t understand my dilemma… but how are Christians to be united? What am I supposed to do when I think another Christian is getting it wrong but they think they got it just right? And is it ever ok to think you have it at least partially right when it comes to God’s purpose or plan, or should I be tolerant to any other Christian interpretation- such as Coral Ridge’s?

Help!

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9 thoughts on “this can’t be Christianity…

  1. Hey wait a minute…..girls aren’t supposed to preach. And read very preachy to me.
    Unfortunately there are a lot of evangelicals that would fall into the above mentioned group. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metromess. An overwhelming majority of evangelical christians feel like the Coral Ridge people do.
    I think the thing to do is to focus your sites on Jesus and continue to build God’s Kingdom. I’m a recovering political junky. My radio was all Rush Limbaugh all the time. I wanted to change the morals of America by force… I mean through the government. Somewhere along the way I realized that wasn’t right. I don’t listen to the conservative talk shows anymore. I don’t watch CSPAN 24/7 anymore. I’m too busy out in my community trying to live how Christ wants me to live and to make a difference in peoples lives. We are to be salt and light, remember. Quit worrying about the other guy. Focus on Christ and His message.

  2. ok, this is my second time around b/c i forgot to enter the code! darn!

    basic recap: that guy must’ve gotten his stats from the us census bureau in which people identify themselves as christian b/c they aren’t anything else…such as buddhist or muslim or the like. i think you’re right on though as far as practicing christians, b/c even though they may believe in God, they don’t practice a true relationship with Him. i get that a lot, “yes, I’m spiritual, but i don’t like religion.” how do you separate the two? (maybe that’s a different discussion.) anyway…you need to use that match that lit your fire to keep on doin’ what you’re doin’. get fired up girl! that’s passion in action (oooh, i like that phrase!), and it solidifies what you care about and motivates you to act on it. it’s not worth it to wrestle with ‘the man’, b/c like you said, it’s you’re word against their’s and it’s just going to be a battle of worldviews that don’t agree. just keep on livin’ out the Christianity you believe in, it’s the little acts of faith and dedication that matter. ask yourself something, are you more motivated to spread the word of the God you know and love and serve Him, or are you more motivated to prove the other guy wrong? my guess is that if you work on the first, in the end God will take care of the latter. yes, it’s sad when people get caught up with the wrong ideas about Christianity…but…here’s another question…what if this is how they get saved? what if this is their only contact with other believers, or means of fellowship? you never know how God is working in their lives…there is no way for us to ever know God’s agenda or how he may be working through ‘the other guys’.

    Stacia 🙂

  3. In Philippians 1, Paul was in prison and knew that there we people that were preaching with wrong motives & methods (envy, selfish ambition, power, etc.) However, Paul does something extraordinary…Something I have so much trouble doing. He does not bash them or condone their motives or methods & neither does God excuse them, but Paul rejoices. He says, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” (v.18) God honors His word, not necessarily the man or organization and we can be thankful that it “does not return void”. So when something I hear or see troubles me, it motivates me to be a catalyst for change. To give everything we have and work that much harder or as Paul put it, to “always be bold for Christ…and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or die.” (v.20)

  4. Hey Maria, great title…”this can’t be Christianity.”

    I agree! I’ve thought the very same thing…

    Your post made me think about how often that phrase, or variants of it has been used throughout the old and new testament, and throughout the church history. The Pharisees looking at Jesus saying…this can’t be Judaism/Yahweh worship…Paul responding to both Jews and Gentiles saying “this can’t be Christianity – you still follow the Law OR you don’t follow the law”…Irenaeus looking at Gnosticism saying “this can’t be Christianity”…St. Francis of Assisi looking at the Crusades saying “this can’t be Christianity”…mid 20th century fundamentalists looking at mainline denominations saying “this can’t be Christianity”…anyone non-Emergent looking at Emergent and saying “this can’t be Christianity”

    And I think for all of those examples the answer is yes, and no. Yes, it is a certain group of people claiming to be Christians…and No, they haven’t quite captured what the Kingdom of God is supposed to look like. But who has? Which faction of Christianity has?

    I love what the comments above had to say…in the midst of all these “can’t be Christians” that we see everywhere…let’s stay humble and keep working for the Kingdom!

  5. I just remembered a friend of mine from a church I used to go to once said “my religion” while we were talking.So I asked her “do you think what we believe is a religion?” She was very bold with what she said and believed,so I didn’t try to talk about that anymore.
    But I was concerned (that was the first church I was going to after came to America because a friend of mine said that was a Christian church).Later I talked to the Pastor about it and we realized that in America and in English language,people use the word “religion” to answer about their belief in God even when their “belief” is in having a real relationship with the living God (that’s my belief)and believing in His Word,but not a religion made by men.

    I can’t say I’ve done so much for Christ or others,but I have “tasted” Christ.I used to work with teenagers,and my desire was not all about just doing or giving them so much,but my ultimate desire was they could really “taste” Christ so that they can’t live without that. I know they still loove Christ and serve Him lovingly.And I know they don’t have much but they are rich and happy in their spirit.

    And also I spend time with God every morning before my breakfast not just because I want to please Him or ask Him to answer my prayers,but for He is above all in my life And for my nourishment to my spirit.

    So…what I’m trying to say is that I think and believe that if what we say or do is to help others to “taste” Christ in their spirit that He can give peace to their soul,which we need more than anything in this life (I believe).And it does not really matter where we are from or going,what and how we do it,…we all love Christ and want to share Him in our own unique and talented ways,so keep going!!!

    Therefore,I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,not the words of this world that He died for our sins and we are new creations in Him to live for His glory no matter how we or our old lives were,He is my Treasure.

    Ok,I need to finish now,today is my Chinese friend’s birthday,she already warned me that she is not interested in Jesus,but I believe she will taste Him someday.

    Yes,let’s be humble and kind.

    love

  6. I’m ready for my birthday dinner,but let me share just a little “joke” with you.

    The GreatWall in China.The Chinese tour guide says proudly “The nation who built this wall must be so great!” The toursit answers “The nation who made them build this must be even greater!!”

    I know I was blessed by many American missionaries who came to my country and shared Jesus with us.You can take pride for that,America!?

    And if some are angry at you for reasons,remember,you must have that power to make them angry or peaceful!!

    Have a great night!!!

  7. I have agree with your premise that we should not be striving to build a Christian theocracy here in the US. But I have a question for you: What value system should our state run on? Should our state run on a completely secular/scientific values which may deem little or no use for human life?

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2005/01/11/the_case_for_judeo-christian_values_part_ii

    Also, should we not show pride in our country given that the US shows respect for human rights, free speech, freedom of religion. Should we use the state to help promote those values in areas like the Middle East which clearly disregard these values?

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