Contributor Wes McAdams is the preaching minister
at the Baker Heights congregation in Abilene, Texas.
His writing - located on his Radically Christian website - is often poignant and timely.
Recently, over 40,000 people answered this poll question, “If Jesus suddenly came back to earth today, would He approve or disapprove of modern Christianity?” It might surprise you to know 87% of Americans answered that Jesus would disapprove of modern Christianity. This brings a few questions to my mind.
1. Upon what basis is this judgement being made?
What standard are they using to make the judgement that Jesus would disapprove of “modern Christianity.” If they are using the Bible to say, “What I see in the religious world today does not match what I read in Scripture,” then I would totally agree. Most of what is called “Christianity” today looks very little like the Christianity of Scripture.
However, it’s also possible that some of those who answered this question are basing their judgement on their idea of Jesus, rather than on the Jesus who actually reigns in heaven. If they are saying, “Modern Christians are all homophobic and judgmental,” then they don’t know the Jesus of Scripture. Yes, Jesus loved everyone, but He also told people if they didn’t repent of their sin they would perish (Luke 13:3).
I don’t believe Jesus would approve of those who hatefully protest at homosexuals funerals, but I also know for a fact that Jesus would not disapprove of Christians saying exactly what the Bible says, homosexuality is a sin (see Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-20).
2. What are they doing to change things?
If 87% of people in America truly believe the modern version of Christianity is – for the most part – broken, then what are they doing to fix it? If they believe that mega churches are shallow, superficial, and only after their money, why are so many of them still attending? If they believe that the teachings of these churches don’t match Scripture, are they demanding that we get back to the Bible? Are they opening Scripture and saying, “See, here is what Jesus actually said, let’s do that”?
The time is ripe for another great restoration movement in America. When the overwhelming majority of Americans say, “This isn’t right!” it’s time for those of us who have been saying that for decades to figure out how to show them what pure, simple, New Testament Christianity looks like.
3. If Jesus wouldn’t approve of it, can it even be called “Christianity”?
Isn’t the question itself an interesting one, “…would [Jesus] approve or disapprove of modern Christianity?” Doesn’t it stand to reason that any teaching, practice, or lifestyle with which Jesus would “disapprove” cannot in any way be called “Christianity”? If being a Christian means belonging to and following Jesus Christ, then those who do not follow His life and teaching cannot be called Christians and their religion cannot be called Christianity.
It’s time we say, “That’s not Christianity.” We obviously believe it. Why not say it? When the infamous Westboro group protests with their hate-filled signs, let’s all stand up and say, “That’s not Christianity.” And on the opposite extreme, when a preacher says homosexuality doesn’t violate Scripture, let’s stand up and say, “That’s not Christianity either.” When a mega church “pastor” teaches feel-good religion, just to bring in more people and more money, let’s stand up and say, “This certainly isn’t Christianity.”
I realize this is bold, but we must be willing to look at Scripture and determine what is genuine Christianity and what is counterfeit. When we find counterfeits, let’s stop calling it “modern Christianity” and simply say, “it’s not Christianity at all.”
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