Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

what is Christianity?

4/10/15

 

There is a vast difference between institutional Christianity as represented by its various churches with their doctrines and rituals and Christianity in the sense of adherence to the life lessons and ethics taught by Jesus. Despite that difference, many, many people, church affiliated or not, equate the two forms. 

 

The former is characterized by attempts to please God by proper obedience in order to secure His blessing in the hereafter to the exclusion of most of humanity. The latter attends to our behaviors and attitudes toward one another, foreseeing in the words of Jesus that we are intended to reflect God's love to one another and thus be an extension of the divine. The former is an instrument of restriction and control, exercising great power in the coercive sense, often in alliance with secular governments. The latter involves access to a even greater power which counter intuitively recognizes  the strength in weakness which the Apostle Paul identified. The former attempts to distinguish itself by acts of public piety. The latter recognizes in the Golden Rule and the fruits of the spirit the only basis for humanity to rise above our lesser tendencies. The former encourages and even demands that we separate humanity into small insular groups, politically, nationally, and of course religiously. The latter acknowledges that the universal kingdom of God predicted by Jesus cannot be limited by such arbitrary barriers. A universal kingdom with a universal truth must promote unity and not discord and segregation into warring sects. Clearly adherents to Jesus must be comfortable with the fact that all men are truly equal in God's sight, being his offspring without exception, again as noted by St Paul.

 

As long as the meaning of Christianity remain ambiguous, the world will remain confused and largely unaffected. 

 

Endlessly pointing to this or that passage in the Bible to support the institutional version of Christianity as the real one will never prove the point. With all the involvement of the institutional church in the assembly, translation, and interpretation of the text, referencing the Bible in the support of institutional Christianity amounts to circular reasoning. In effect, the contention becomes this: church Christianity is the correct form because the church says so.  

 

These two different versions of Christianity account for the fact that Christianity to some appears mundane and unappealing while to others it is transcendent, inspirational, and life altering. In reality Jesus becomes what we individually make of him. He is either the reinforcer of man's historical attitudes and behaviors or the one who exposed mankind to a divine message which changes everything.