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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fake Christianity

Moralistic therapeutic deism. That's what the CNN article I referenced a week or so ago labels the fake Christianity that so many teens -- and by the way, adults -- buy into instead of the real thing.

Moralistic. It's about being good. Nobody's against being good -- but so often our attempts to be good are a childish attempt to make God love us, just like we tried to make our parents love us, by doing the right things. This is fake because in the end, Christianity is only -- ONLY -- for those who cannot be good enough to please God. We call these people "sinners." If you're not a sinner, Jesus has nothing to do with you.

Therapeutic. From the Greek word "therapeuo" meaning, "to heal". We go looking for something that will be healing for us. Certainly there is healing for the wounded in Christianity -- Isaiah 53 says, speaking of Jesus, "By his stripes we are healed." Amen. But when my faith becomes about me, about me feeling better, about my therapy, I have given away the heart of Christianity and bought a bowl of self-centered pottage.

Deism. Yes, this fake religion is about God, or at least a god, but he's really beyond us and we really can't know him, so we make him in our own image. He's a Really Nice Guy. This fake Christianity doesn't seek to know the invisible, invincible God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified and rose from the dead. It just talks about "God" as though we all agreed on who God was. True Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the full revelation of the unknowable deity, who makes him known. (See Colossians 1:15 and John 1)

In the end, so much of our false Christianity serves just to innoculate, vaccinate, us and our children against ever catching the real thing. It's sad. A vaccination gives you a weakened or dead strain of a virus so your body builds up defenses and you never catch the real thing. We've done exactly this with Christianity.

Be good and feel good. Both good advice if you can manage them, but they are not Christianity.

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