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Christianity’s Unexpected Opponent

In the East, the classic debate of who’s god is the greatest continues unabated. Just this month in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Christianity has been wiped off the map. In a shocking move that has received little push-back from major world powers, ISIS has successfully forced Christians out of the city at gunpoint. But while the “which god is real” debate rages internationally, Christianity seems stumped at how to best respond to it’s disappearing influence in the Western world. Here’s a thought:

I believe one of the most significant reasons that Christianity is losing influence in today’s Western culture is that it’s facing a challenge it’s never encountered before. For thousands of years, Christianity has been doing battle with other gods. It’s Christianity versus Buddha, Mohammed, animal spirits, atheism, the New Age – whatever. For most of history, the vast majority of people around the world believed in the transcendent – something bigger than themselves.

But today, Christianity is fighting an even bigger opponent. An opponent that it’s followers really don’t understand. That opponent is the god of ME. For the first time in history, radical individualism has become the god of our culture. Personal freedom, choice, “finding myself” – all now take precedent over responsibility, sacrifice, or humility.

When we’ve become god, how can the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob compete with that?  And what do you think is the best strategy for changing that obsession?

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12 Comments

  1. Is it any wonder that the “GOSPEL of ME,” has so thoroughly infilterated the CHURCH that we see God from the perspective of HIS pursuit of US, and have lost the original which is our persuit of GOD… He STANDS at the door and knocks. He’s not chasing after us… It’s our JOB to get up and open the door, not God’s. Even the prodigal son had to make his way back home, the Father did not go after the son in the brothel or the pig farm.

    We’ve come to believe our salvation means comfort, and this is GOD’s primary responsibility. WHAT? Really…
    We’ve come to believe our salvation means love, but our definition of love seems more akin to selfishness, not a bibical approach of selflessness and serventhood. Sell all that you have, give it to the poor and then come and follow me.

    To find GOD is to know Him. Next time you’re in church count how many times each song mentions ME, MY, MINE… and then compare that to how many times we discuss GOD. IT’s an eye opening exercise. It might just scare you a little bit.

  2. In a church culture running rampant with the health/wealth un-gospel (which is really all about ME), as well as what you have mentioned, is it any wonder? I believe you have hit the nail on the head Phil.

  3. I’m not sure God wants us engaged in competition. Jesus didn’t compete with Rome. If we play the world’s game, we’ll lose, as current circumstance demonstrates.

    We’re called to follow Jesus’ example. He didn’t ask “world powers” to change things. He didn’t call for individual rights, violence, or any other political solution.

    He said sacrificial love would change the world, and that’s how the world would know Him. If you believe that’s impractical or not relevant to our “complex” society, I’d suggest you don’t believe Jesus was who He said He was.

      1. In Acts 17, Paul was INVITED to preach, and he talked about the good news. He didn’t demean the other gods or speak badly of their followers. He also didn’t appeal to governments or blame political leaders (comment below). Neither did Jesus.

  4. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Each individual is precious. If there was just one of us in this whole world, Jesus would have come and died for us.

    Romans 12:3 says:
    “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

    So we at dBride.ME have first God, second Christ, third Ministry to others, fourth family, fifth me, sixth enemy.

    1. We know there is nothing new under the sun so trusting the Holy Spirit’s counsel when we are called to counter such thinking is a beginning.

      The next step I have taken is supporting and learning from ministries that specialize in alternatives to the “me” thinking and graciously and loving show the pitfalls of such thinking.

      It is rewarding to see someone that had everything figured out in their mind suddenly have to go on defense when they are confronted with higher thinking. I’m no expert but I have been given a Word when I’ve had an opportunity to share with individuals that have very passionate questions. The Word I received came to me because I had prepared by learning from equally passionate and dedicated Christian organizations that have been raised-up just to supply answers for such problems.

      So the best strategy for changing the “me” obsession is to know who you are in Christ, then lovingly prepare by studying God’s word to us, and God’s guidance to the wonderful organizations He has raised-up to meet such challenges.

      1. Thanks Neil for your comment. While we don’t claim to have everything covered, sure enough dBride.ME is the middle ground of reality we have found as an alternative to the ME-thinking. The idea is that we each find our place in the body/bride of Christ, “according to the measure of faith given us.” But all along the focus is on the whole (dBride). The .ME is the recognition of our membership and unique role as an individual we have in that corporate whole.

        Any prayers, support or encouragement for this venture, appreciated. Thanks to Br. Phil Cooke for raising this subject, which has given me an opportunity to showcase this work.

  5. The problem has been that the real gospel has not been preached nor lived. Both the profession and the practice of many so-called Christians in our nation have not matched up. Our substandard message has produced substandard believers. Our departure from the preaching of the cross, repentance, holiness, and the real empowering grace of God has increased the level of deception in the church.

    I’ve written an essay on this topic and I do not want to take up a bunch of space on your blog site.

    But if you have a moment I would humbly ask that you take a look at: http://disciplesway.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/the-truth-is-truth-is-2/

    Blessings

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