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 made its own unique set of mistakes.
The church in the 1980’s was filled with dramatic personal “testimonies”. Many of which turned out to be crazy-town lies. The church in the 1990’s became consumed with end times prophecy. The unbalanced teaching and lack of humility regarding what we actually know about the end-times left some Christians looking a bit nut-joby. The late 1990’s and 2000’s birthed the well-intended but tragically misguided purity movement. It inadvertently drove Christian dating completely underground and left a whole generation of young people 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”. We all have to be taught. Growth and learning is a lifelong process. It is true 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 almost always preceded by a reference to 1st Corinthians 8:1 where the apostle Paul says “knowledge puffs up while love builds up”. Context is key in all Bible study. A careful reading of the text makes Paul’s intent clear: the apostle Paul wasn’t talking about spiritual or Bible knowledge in general terms. The apostle wasn’t encouraging spiritual ignorance. He certainly wasn’t suggesting Bible reading is somehow spiritually harmful. He was talking specifically about knowledge related to a particular issue: eating meat that had once been sacrificed to a pagan idol (1st Corinthians 8:1-13). There were some arrogant Corinthian church members who had embraced the teaching that meat sacrificed to idols was just meat (which is true) and it was therefore no big deal to eat it. They would openly and pridefully eat this meat in public spaces. Then they would mock Christians who felt it was sinful to have ANYTHING to do with pagan rites and worship. This created all sorts of confusion for less-mature Christians who didn’t understand as long as they did not sacrifice the meat to an idol themselves, then eating the meat someone else had sacrificed and 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 bottom-line: 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. It is also true people can know a lot without ever really applying any of the biblical truth they “know” to their own lives. However, those unfortunate realities do not make biblical ignorance somehow superior to Bible knowledge (2nd Peter 1:5).
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 by the Holy Spirit so we become a loving person and a accurate reflection of Jesus is the number one goal and objective of Christianity (1st Corinthians 13, 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 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.