You have heard it said…
“God has an individual will for you in every circumstance, and you need to find it.”
“Salvation is fundamentally about knowing Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.”
“Your suffering and misfortune may be punishment for some sin you’ve committed.”
“God personally speaks to people via (subjective) signs.”
“The church building (especially the sanctuary) is a holy place and ought to be treated with reverence.”
“You have an obligation to tithe 10% of your annual income.”
“Faith is belief without evidence” [or] “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”
“Christianity is about winning souls to a heavenly afterlife” [or] “Earth is not our home.”
“The lord’s supper is a time for quite, soul-searching introspection and personal communion with God.”
“Humans are inherently sinners” [or] “The nature of man is sinful.”
“Sermons and studies ought to emphasize relevance and personal application.”
“The Bible teaches that there is no marriage in heaven.”
“All sin is equal in God’s eyes.”
But I say to you, ‘I find these (and other) popular sayings ‘contrary to sound doctrine’ (1 Tim 1:10), half-true and therefore untrue, and/or just plain stupid. This blog is an exercise in catharsis. I am a Christian. But I am discontent; discontent with how these and other toxic beliefs seem to define the status quo of evangelical Christianity (status quo Christianity, for short).
The simple fact is that the more I learn about the Bible, God, Christian doctrine and history, and life in general the less status quo Christianity resembles its doctrinally sound and philosophically rich roots. “With much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief” (Eccles 1:18). Oh, whatever would Jesus do? Create this blog, no doubt.
This blog is devoted to ripping apart, or simply lamenting, status quo Christianity. But what is status quo Christianity? Well, its a lot like pornography: its amorphous nature prevents a careful definition, but you know it when you see it. It is a many-headed hydra (the allusion to a demonic creature is intentional). It is as multifarious as it is nefarious, and it often rears its ugly head when a pastor speaks. In its broadest characterization, status quo Christianity is a vulgar (in both senses of the word), unbiblical, and illogical way of thinking about God, Jesus, the Church, the Christian life, and Christianity in general. It is not typically found in books worth reading, but it is ubiquitous in Christian culture. This is because it’s fueled more by mindless sentiments expressed in vacuous Christianese than by intelligible propositions. It is, in the words of Phillip Cary, “what you might call a ‘working theology,’ which is not an academic theory but a basis for preaching and discipleship, prayer and evangelism and outreach.”
The pious among us might agree with the content of this blog but complain, “But, but, rather than just complain, what are you doing about it?” The answer to that is: writing on this blog, and other things you don’t know about.
Questions, comments, vehement condemnations, doxological affirmations? Feel free to send them to contrarianchristian at gmail dot com.