Social networks provide an interesting insight into the spiritual climate of the Church through faith perspectives that are publicly expressed by those who are the Church. It seems that despite denominational differences in the way Christians express faith, there are some common concepts about Christianity that form an ethos of the Church that is out of alignment with the character of Christ and the true nature of His kingdom. Based on my observations through social networking - including Facebook, Twitter and blogging - I have formed a list of what I consider to be "10 Conflicting Christian Concepts" that contribute to a misconception of Christianity and the Church.
I endeavour to challenge these conflicting concepts about Christianity by asking a thought provoking question that compares each of the "10 Conflicting Christian Concepts" (in no particular order) with relevant Scripture verses. The Scriptures presented in response to each question have been selected to paint an alternative, and I believe biblical, picture of Christianity. However, they only scratch the surface, so I encourage you to read the Scripture verse presented in context with the verses around them to gain a more complete biblical picture.
So, here we go!
How do you reconcile...
...Complacent Christianity with the charge Jesus had against the Church in Laodicea?
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16, read 3:14-22)
...Corporate Image with Paul's letter to the Corinthian church addressing their pride?
"We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe...We are fools for Christ." (1 Corinthians 4:9-10, read 4:6-17)
...Cautious Faith with this description of faith that is all about risk and stepping into the unknown?
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1, read 11:1-40)
...Controlling Leadership with the servant leadership modeled by Jesus?
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant." (Philippians 2:5-7, read 2:1-8)
...Ceremonial Religion with Jesus' rebuke of the Pharisees obsession with rules and rituals?
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." (Matthew 23:23, read 23:1-36)
...Compromising Truth with this declaration of absolute truth by Jesus?
"Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."" (John 14:6, read 14:5-14)
...Conditional Discipleship with Jesus' call to abandon everything to follow Him?
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26, read 14:25-33)
...Contentious Worship that is more concerned by form and style than the Spirit of worship?
"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24, read 4:19-24)
...Consumerist Church with the sacrificial giving of the early Church?
"All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need." (Acts 2:44-45, read 2:42-47)
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority." (Colossians 2:8-10, read 2:6-12)
It is my hope and prayer that the inability to reconcile these "10 Conflicting Christian Concepts" with the character of Christ and the true nature of His kingdom will prompt a rethink about Christianity and the Church through a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ.