Joe started an interesting meme: Evangelist Changing: 5 Deeply De-Christian Doctrines Meme which I discovered through Eddie’s blog Deeply De-Christianised Doctrines « Kouya Chronicle
Peter Kirk has tagged me with a meme that states: list 5 doctrines that are taught within the Christian church that you believe to be deeply de-Christian.
Among those who have already participated are:
Gentle Wisdom» Blog Archive » Deeply De-Christian Doctrines
clayboy » The Deeply De-Christian Doctrine meme
De-fending the de-Christian | lingamish
Lingamish suggests that “If you’re a reader of this blog consider yourself tagged.” So, I consider myself tagged and will contribute some thoughts on this topic. However, I am not necessarily listing real doctrines but ways of thinking that I believe to exist in many Christian circles but are not necessarily biblical.
1) Some cultures are more Christian than others: this is along similar lines as Eddie’s “Christians in one country or region are better than others” but not quite the same. The colonial attitude is unfortunately still alive – it assumes that Western cultures and Christianity are nearly identical. Therefore in case of doubt, the local culture must be wrong and unbiblical. For some it is hard to imagine that they got it right, even before becoming believers, and we might have gotten it wrong.
2) Bible Idolatry: the book called “God’s Word” is sometimes considered God’s only Word and often becomes more important than the author himself and my relationship with him. We forget that the Bible is only a means to an end – a deeper relationship with our creator.
3) Perfectionism: we are supposed to become more or less perfect soon after our conversion. If it does not work, I need to at least pretend; put on the Sunday smile before going to church. This is one of my more recent insights – we are called to become more and more Christ-like and this is NOT identical with being perfect but a matter of maturity. It’s hard to shake off a perfectionist upbringing and learning to understand that rules are not more important than relationships – “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
4) Having the right information solves all problems: as long as I have the right information (=get enough training, do enough Bible study), I can use my will and make the right decisions. Conversion and faith are a matter of the will. Legalism and judgmentalism are the logical result when you think that that ideas and choices are key to being a Christian and making us into the right kind of person. This means when you know God’s Word, you are able to decide in every situation what’s God’s will for yourself and others. No need to ask God. Or so many people seem to think. Unfortunately, there are lots of people who have all the right information and still make the wrong choices.
4a) Right theology is more important than character transformation: even though the theological part is only one point of many and the last in the list for the qualification of elders, it is often treated as the most important one when choosing a pastor or elder, to the detriment of other points that the Bible seems to consider more important.
5) Our mind is more important for spiritual living than the body: this mind-body dichotomy is rooted in a medieval psychology that is long outdated and no longer tenable in view of more recent psychology and brain science, but Western theology still subscribes to this view. Will and spirit were seen as spiritual and important, while the body and emotions were seen as fallen and therefore unable to please God. Today we know that will and spirit are very much linked to our body.
The last three points I owe largely to teachings by Dr. Jim Wilder, especially his recent webinar series on “Why Western Christianity Failed.”
EDIT: Oops – I forgot to tag others. Let’s see if the following people will take up the challenge: Dr. Mouw, Rombo, Marti, Tim and Wess.
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