Beliefs vs. Practices….

October 3, 2012 — 3 Comments

With this post I am going to introduce you to a book that has had a pretty profound affect on my faith. It is by Robin Meyers entitled Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus. Here are a couple of quotes from the book that will provide fodder for this post:

Strangely, we have come to a moment in human history when the message of the Sermon on the Mount could indeed save us, but it can no longer be heard above the din of dueling doctrines. Consider this: there is not a single word in that sermon about what to believe, only words about what to do. It is a behavioral manifesto, not a propositional one. Yet three centuries later, when the Nicene Creed became the official oath of Christendom, there was not a single word in it about what to do, only words about what to believe! …..

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Christianity as a belief system requires nothing but acquiescence. Christianity as a way of life, as a path to follow, requires a second birth, the conquest of ego, and new eyes with which to see the world. It is no wonder that we have preferred to be saved. 

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Today, worshipers of Christ agree to believe things about him in order to receive benefits promised by the institution, not by Jesus.  

It seems that much of the Christian world today is split between two Christian world views.  One is Christianity as a belief system as taught to us by the Nicene Creed and the other is Christianity as a way of life as taught to us by Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount.  These two Christian world views have been battling each other since the fourth century when the emperor Constantine made Christianity a mandated State religion of the Roman empire.

Unfortunately many today want to classify this struggle for Christ’s church in empire terms by deeming it conservative vs. progressive (some use the tainted word liberal). The only thing this accomplishes is to link following Jesus to today’s empires and in my mind that is a very detrimental thing.

There are those who think that Christianity is a “something for nothing” proposition. That is all you have to do is to take an altar call and publicly profess Jesus as your savior. After that profession nothing else is required except to say you believe in a long list of man-made beliefs  about God. These believers treat Christianity as a fire insurance to insure that they will go to heaven. When Martin Luther found that single verse in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he solidified this way of looking at Christianity for many in our current age.

Fortunately there are also those who think that Christianity is about doing what Jesus says. They treat the Sermon on the Mount as a foundation of how they live in this world. They take Christianity to be an active way of life, many say a life changer, not a passive do nothing but believe system. I am proudly a member of this later group.

Some say Constantine when he kidnapped Christianity to try to save his dwindling empire he brought it out of the shadows and into the mainstream. Robin Meyers book shows us examples why that is just not the case.  He instead started it down a path that would pull many away from the words of its founder Jesus Christ.

3 responses to Beliefs vs. Practices….

  1. 

    Love your post. We have to practice what we preach instead of waiting around to be saved. Constantine’s contribution to history was not so much in kidnapping Christianity, as the Reformation somewhat corrected that, but in turning it into a pagan religion. As a result, the teachings of Jesus have never been the primary focus of the Christian church and are almost never discussed in the Catholic church.

    • 

      Welcome chicagoja and thanks for your comments. Yes, the reformation did change the structure of the overall church at least for a few centuries but that was not lasting. Now we have multiple hierarchies that dictate what we are to believe. But as you say almost none of them focus on Jesus’ words. I find that strange indeed. What we believe about Jesus is now more important than the messages/lessons he gave us. I have hopes that the current emergent movement will eventually rectify that.

    • 

      As you say, strange indeed. Here’s a little insight into their thinking. The objective is to create a collective of God-fearing people who will be obedient to authority figures (by demanding compliance with church dogma) and who will not be active participants in life but wait around to be saved. Obviously, there’s much more to this story but if you have an inquiring mind, Im sure you can find the answers.

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