Saturday, 13 August 2011

You got the wrong idea about Christianity!

Many people choose not to become a Christian cause of all the lies that Satan has spread about Christianity. There will always be misconceptions about Christians. Prejudice will also always exist. So here are the most common misconceptions about Christianity:

Christianity is a "Religion"
The Latin word from which the English word "religion" is derived means "to bind up." Jesus did not come to bind us up in rules and regulations or rituals of devotion, but to set us free to be man as God intended.

Religion is a system of beliefs or a code of moral conduct that judges (qualifies or disqualifies) a person based on their adherence and obedience to certain codes, rules, laws, traditions, or the performance of required acts.

(although Mark Driscoll is a false preacher, he does make a valid point here)

Religion (almost universally) is enforced by those in power in an attempt to maintain, increase, or abuse their power over others.  Religion is the creation of man and is not the intention or design of God.  A modern day example (taken from the movie “Footloose”, starring Kevin Bacon) is a preacher who believes that dancing leads to promiscuity and destructive behavior (the Bible does not speak against dancing).  He uses (abuses) his influence and his position of authority to convince his congregation that dancing is evil and forbids it.  He sets up rules that are not in the Bible and adds additional beliefs that Jesus never endorsed.  He is trying to control the people, using their trust of his authority to force them to believe his version of the truth.  He adds rules that don’t exist in the Bible.  In this example, he even has good motives, but he is still being religious and this “religion” is not from God.  This is so very common. People have used Jesus to justify adding so many “requirements” to being a Christian.  Here are just a few of the countless examples:
  • Insisting that church meet on certain days
  • Only certain forms of music can be used in church
  • You can’t be saved unless you are circumcised
  • Reciting ritualistic prayers
  • Saying you aren’t saved unless you get baptized
  • You can’t eat certain foods
  • Requiring you to perform rituals
  • Being saved is conditional upon attending church or church membership
  • Saying that you have to earn your salvation by doing good deeds
The list goes on.... 

Jesus hated this!  He hated the way the Pharisees used the people’s love for God (or fear of God) to control them, limit their freedom, and empty them of the relationship with God that was intended.  When you practice religion, your relationship with God is degraded to a mathematical formula.  Do this, then do this, don’t do that, and presto. . . you are right in the eyes of God.  This is TOTALLY missing the point!  God wants so much more.  He wants to have a real relationship with you.  He wants to show his love to you and He wants you to love Him.  That was the point of the original commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”.  The Sabbath day was supposed to be a day for us to take a little break from working, refocus on what’s important, spend time with our family, and spend time with God.  You can’t build a deep relationship without spending quality time together.

Christianity has "restrictions"
Another reason why many people are turned off by Christianity is that they think it is too restrictive. This, for the most part, is due to the way they look at the so-called restrictions that Christians observe. In the first place, they have no idea what the meaning of true freedom is. As the apostle Paul says, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Cor 6:12). God does not tell us that we cannot go to dances, watch movies, or listen to secular music. What He does tell us is this:

' the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)

Thus, if you drink, go dancing, etc., perhaps nobody will stop you, but think of the following questions: How do all these things facilitate you in loving God and people? Are you in control or are the things you do controlling you? Will your actions adversely affect you in the future? Will you be able to bear the responsibility that comes with your actions and to face the consequences?

The Ten Commandments, which always seem to loom so ominously, have been established for our benefit. If you break any of them, you can be certain that God will still exist. But if you obey them, it is you that will gain freedom and peace in your heart. What is freedom, as defined by our Lord Jesus? It is holding to His teachings, because then "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" from the slavery of sin (John 8:31-34).

It is just that people do not realize how much God has given them and how His commandments can help them live a more happy, healthy, and meaningful life.

That Christianity is "BORING"
Yet another deterrent is that we are "boring" and "have no life." You do not have to be Christian to be "boring." There are many non-Christians in this world who are "boring" and "have no life". You can easily witness this simply by looking around you. Furthermore, just because you are a Christian, it does not mean that you just sit at home, read the Bible, pray, and sing hymns all day. Besides pursuing their spiritual life, school, and work, Christians do go out to relax and have fun. They ski, do aerobics, lift weights, go bowling, ice skate, roller blade, play tennis, basketball, etc. Christians who aren't athletically inclined might visit museums, go shopping, read, pursue their hobbies, learn a foreign language, cultivate a skill like singing, drawing, playing a musical instrument, etc. Now, if these things are boring, then what isn't?!

That Christians are "narrow-minded"
Besides being accused of being "boring," Christians are also prone to hear of people who are afraid of being "narrow-minded," having "blind faith," or being "brainwashed." Admittedly, many Christians and non-Christians alike can be guilty of these. However, Christians are taught in the Bible to listen to what other people have to say before they speak.

James 1:19 (KJV)
 19Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

Proverbs 18:13 (KJV)
 13He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

 It also warns us to "judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes" and "not to think beyond what is written".

1 Corinthians 4:5-6 (KJV)
 5Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

 6And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

These teachings are not compatible with "narrow-mindedness". The same is true about religious fanaticism, for the Bible instructs, "it is good to be zealous in a good thing".

Galatians 4:18 (KJV)
 18But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

Planting bombs in subways and mass suicides have no place in Christianity. How are Christians who truly have the correct attitude and understanding of God's commands "narrow-minded," "blind in their faith," or "brainwashed"?

Non-Christians can be quite "narrow-minded," "blind," and "brainwashed". Take, for example, people who are couch potatoes and are constantly glued to a TV or movie screen. A person's values and decision-making process can be greatly or subtly influenced by what they see on the screen. You can witness this by observing the decisions they make in what they wear, what they say, what they watch, what they eat, etc. But the most obvious and devastating effect can be seen in how desensitised these people are towards sex, violence, and the sufferings and deaths of other people outside their immediate sphere.

To be Christian is "just being good"
And lastly, another major misunderstanding that people have is that being a Christian is simply to "be a good person." You don't have to be a Christian to be a good person. There are many non-Christians who seem like really good people. In fact, there are other religions that teach people how to "be good people." Everyone agrees that murder and theft are wrong. Everyone also agrees that it is good to have compassion on those less fortunate than we. These things are just common sense. So what really differentiates Christians from everyone else? First and foremost, we worship the one true God and trust in Jesus as the only Savior who saves us from sin. Second, by faith we believe that the prophecies recorded in the Scriptures regarding our Lord's virgin birth, sufferings and wanderings, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection and ascension to heaven were all fulfilled. Third, we believe that everything that has been done under the sun, whether good or bad, has been recorded and remembered by our Lord Jesus Christ and that at the end of time, everyone will be judged accordingly. Fourth, our two main objectives in life are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love others as ourselves.

Christianity is a laundry list of things to do.
God has reached out to sinful man and through His only Son Jesus has offered a way to be reconciled to Himself through a personal relationship with Jesus. So Christianity is not a laundry list of things to do. There is nothing we can add to Christ’s finished work on the cross as payment for our sins.

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