You will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth– 1st Timothy 3:15 NIV
Every generation of Christians has had its own unique set of mistakes. The church in the1980’s was filled with dramatic personal “testimonies”. Many of which turned out to be crazy-pants lies. In the 1990’s the church became consumed with end times prophecy. This left some Christians looking a little nut-joby. The late 1990’s and 2000’s birthed the well-intended but tragically misguided purity movement. That movement inadvertently drove Christian dating completely underground and left a whole generation feeling an unhealthy level of shame simply for having natural and entirely normal sexual desires.
It is critical we understand the spiritual and doctrinal errors of our generation will have a greater impact than those of past generations. Not because we are inherently more important or special than past generations. We’re not. But because technology has given humanity the ability to spread bad ideas, misinformation, and wrong thinking faster than ever before. This is why the church today is having such a tough time reaching the lost. Thanks to advances in technology the spiritual errors and excesses of the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s had a much deeper reach into the culture than the errors and excesses of previous generations. Following are five the most dangerous lies Christians are believing and spreading right now.
I can be a Christian and reject everything the Bible teaches-
Nope. Nope and more nope. No one comes to faith automatically believing the “right way”. It is true all have to be taught. Growth and learning is a lifelong process. It is also true that there is some room for disagreement on some of the particulars of what the “right way” is. However, choosing to reject everything God says about Himself as well as what He has to say about sexuality, gender, right and wrong and true justice is basically just rejecting God. A person cannot reject God (and/or everything God says about Himself) and still be a Christian. Period. It just doesn’t work like that.
Bible knowledge doesn’t matter-
This unbelievably stupid statement is always preceded by a reference to 1st Corinthians 8:1 where Paul says “knowledge puffs up while love builds up”. Context is key here. When we read the text carefully it becomes clear: the apostle Paul wasn’t talking about spiritual or Bible knowledge in general terms. The apostle wasn’t encouraging ignorance. He wasn’t suggesting Bible study is somehow harmful. He was talking specifically about knowledge related to a particular thing: eating food that had once been sacrificed to an idol (1st Corinthians 8:1-13). There were some arrogant Corinthian church members who had embraced the teaching that food sacrificed to idols was just food. In response they had openly and pridefully begun eating that food in public spaces, sometimes even mocking those Christians who did not feel comfortable eating food that had been sacrificed to an idol. This created all sorts of confusion for less-mature Christians who didn’t understand as long as they did not sacrifice the food to an idol themselves eating food someone else had sacrificed and then sold in a market at a discounted rate wasn’t a big deal. Some of these less mature Christians had returned to idol worship in response to the freedom they saw other Christians exercising. Here’s the thing: it is positively absurd to think the man who wrote well over half of the New Testament’s instructive passages was somehow opposed to people learning the Bible. It is true that people can become prideful about what they know about the Bible without really applying any of the biblical truth they learn to their lives. However, those unfortunate realities do not make biblical ignorance somehow superior to Bible knowledge.
Bible knowledge is the most important thing-
It is important, critical even. Those who do not acquire basic biblical knowledge rarely stay believers for very long (Matthew 13:18-23) and if they do they struggle big-time to live a victorious Christian life. That being said, knowledge is not the most important thing. Having our hearts transformed so we become a loving reflection of Jesus is the number one goal and objective of Christianity (Romans 12:2, 2nd Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 3:1-17). However, even that requires at least rudimentary Bible knowledge. So, there’s that.
Christians can be spiritually formed outside of spiritual community-
Individual believers are always at their most healthy when they are living in community with other Christians (Acts 2:42-47). This is because God designed people to be like Him (Genesis 1:27). God is a community within Himself (Genesis 1:26, Isaiah 46:16, Matthew 3:16-17). As a result, we were literally made to need other Christians in order to grow, mature and reach others for Jesus (1st Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:12, Hebrews 10:24-25). Without healthy community individual Christians either drift away from church altogether or they adopt strange pseudo-biblical beliefs that make it very hard for them to effectively share their faith.
We don’t need to half the Church to make the Church work-
Men and women were intended to work together to bring about God’s purposes in this world (Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 2:18). Anytime church leaders think they can do church without the contributions of half the church something valuable and vital will be missing in that church community. That loss will affect the churches ability to effectively reach the lost and disciple Christians God has placed in their care.
I believe with all my heart the church in the west stands at a crossroads (Jeremiah 6:16). The church can continue to embrace easy-believism and just dance down the path it’s been on for years. If we do, Christians will continue to lose influence and we will see our culture disintegrate into even more moral bedlam. The other option is to do the hard work of correcting the errors we have fallen into and embrace the hard work of holiness and becoming more like Jesus in everything we do and say. This route will is much more challenging but it will pay dividends that will be felt for generations.