Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. - Mark 7: 13
The message of Christ is not Christianity. The message of Christ is Christ.
- Gary Amirault, Former Atheist. www.tentmaker.org
MIDDLE EAST, May 15, 2011 — I see the word ‘Christianity’ as a diabolic mockery of one of the most precious verses in the Bible: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1: 14)
That one word has hidden Christ from millions of people down the ages, often transforming potentially true faith into mere tradition and pious pageantry.
'The Word was made flesh' - made into a man-made religion Jesus never intended.
Christianity defined by Merriam-Webster
Christianity defined by Merriam-Webster
Arguably “Christianity” may be the most powerful word coined in history. It resulted in the formation of a two billion strong global institution, which has basically rearranged the meekness, humility, authority and purposes of Jesus Christ.
Words are powerful, and writers in the genre of religion have a duty to use them wisely. Virtually no Christian writer is prepared to disown the term “Christianity” – some have hinted at its counterfeit origins, discussed its flaws, talked around it, but no one bells the cat.
Men have been enticed by religion throughout history.
Does Christianity bear witness to the truth or simply demonstrate the lure of a religious idea? Its power and spectacle has obscured the mission of Christ to preach the good news to the poor, heal the broken hearted, release the captives, give sight to the blind, and deliver those who are crushed. (Luke 4: 18)
Christianity’s edifice is enormous with dominions, lifetimes and livelihoods invested in it – it is too risky it seems to fall afoul of the establishment.
The Barna Group widely considered to be America’s leading research organization on faith and culture, produces survey after survey proving that evangelical Christian lifestyles are as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centred, and sexually immoral as anyone else’s.
Divorce is more common among “born again” Christians than ordinary Americans, and white evangelicals are the most likely people to object to neighbours of another race.
George Barna concludes, “Everyday, the church is becoming more like the world it allegedly seeks to change.”
Nonetheless, Barna has not taken a clear stand against “Christianity,” despite co-authoring a book with Frank Viola titled, Pagan Christianity, which exposes the religion’s unscriptural origins, and challenges many common modern day church practices.
Author Os Guinness is a rare exception. In his book The Call, Guinness says, “Think of the three terms Christ, Christian and Christianity. How would you describe the progression from the first to the second to the third?
Conjure up all the associations each word has and you find yourself moving in one of two directions: either from the personal to the impersonal, or from the fresh and direct to the institutional, ideological – and, too often, corrupt.
For everyone attracted by Christ, there are scores bored or repelled by “Christianity,” he writes.
“History shows that the very shift in focus from “Christ” to “Christianity” is itself a mark of corruption. The direct relationship and the dynamic way of life become a religious ideology and institution (which is why you won’t find any use of the term Christianity here, apart from its use in quotation marks or in the quotations of others),” Guinness pointedly declares, referring to his book.
Nietzsche called Christianity a narcotic.
In my experience and understanding of the faith, after nearly three decades of institutional servitude, I moved from Christianity to Christian, and finally decided I would employ no suffix to the name of Christ.
Os Guinness observes, “Christian is certainly a term used in the New Testament, but by outsiders and with the suggestion of an insult. But among themselves, the preferred term for disciples was followers of Jesus or followers of the Way.”
“Follow me,” Jesus decreed – that single-minded concentration can make all the difference for a fresh understanding of who he pointed to, and what to believe and live by.
I had a paradigm shift when the penny dropped for me; it eliminated my awe of “religious” middlemen and any inclination to denominational thinking. The most liberating of all is something I am convinced is essential for social harmony – to see people as people, not as religiously branded Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, etc.
Otherwise, the great commandment of love is impossible to fulfil.
Let me take this opportunity to appeal to Christian writers to stop promoting “Christianity” in their books.
It is not the way, the truth and the life of Christ.
I will name just a few of many authors whose books I cherish in my library and hope they would see their folly: Beverly Lewis, Bill Hybels, Bob Russell, Charles Colson, Chuck Swindoll, Erwin McManus, Francis Beckwith, Francis Chan, Gary Chapman, George Barna, Henry Blackaby, Jack Cottrell, Joyce Meyer, Karen Kingsbury, Max Lucado, Philip Yancey, Ravi Zacharias, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Stephen & Alex Kendrick, Stormie Omartian, Ted Dekker, Walter Martin, William P. Young and many, many others.
You know, there is a difference between following Christ and Christianity.
Why won’t you tell the world?