One of the comments I get most often from those who consider themselves Christians is that they “follow Christ”, not “the Bible”. The focus is to “love thy neighbor” as primary, if not their singular, stated, but not always practiced, life goal. This desire does not require much in the way of church attendance, nor does it need to include the reading of God’s Word. It does not have to reconcile Scriptural discrepancies and, perhaps most convenient, it allows the “Christian” to ignore all passages which might conflict with their ability to meld with changing social norms. This includes pesky issues like pro-life, gay lifestyles, multiple paths to Heaven, Biblical inerrancy, etc. Further, one can choose when to call themselves a Christian when “fellowshipping” with other “believers”. But, can keep silent when it is more practical to hide that religious designation in the interest of “loving the lost”. Their theology still encompasses all the positive aspects of their faith, such as going to Heaven, God’s love is the source of their love for others, and that the Holy Spirit is their guide to life’s challenges.
It all sounds so perfect. No conflicts, either internal with themselves or external with most others they are “ministering” to. Having “come to Christ” at an early age, “convenient Christians” are confident in their relationship with God. Encouraged by exhibiting “lifestyle evangelism”, i.e. caring for others, they are “showing God’s love”, even if “God” is never mentioned in the encounters. Further, they are able to enjoy a “peace that transcends all understanding” walking through life, perhaps going to church to fellowship with others, or not, perhaps praying at various times, but rarely if ever in public, perhaps reading a Bible passage or two, now and again. And then, at the end of a life well lived, eternity in Heaven awaits.
The God of the Bible is not in alignment with the systematic theology offered above. This is why many “convenient Christians” either have to reject, ignore, or reinterpret those selected Biblical passages that conflict with societies’ views (sometimes referred to as “deconstruction”). Otherwise, cognitive dissonance sets in, which is both disconcerting and unacceptable.
With literally hundreds of passages to make the point, below are a few Biblical realities:
Reality #1 – Who is God?
God is the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Creator of the universe and everything in it. He is the author of the Bible, penned by man, which is perfect in all that it offers, even if we don’t understand (or agree) with every passage. He is the Potter and we are the clay (Romans 9:20-21). Who are we ”to answer back to God”.
Reality #2 – What does God want from us?
He wants us to exhibit the Greatest Commandment (Luke 10:9), to love Him first and then love our neighbor. To love Him we need to know Him and the best way to do that is to read His love letter to us, the Bible, and to gather with other Biblical Christian believers, where we can fellowship with those of a similar worldview and be held accountable. From that foundation, we then need to love our neighbors, both lost and saved. The greatest expression of neighborly love is sharing the eternal Good News (Matt. 28:19) of the gospel message to all who will listen.
Reality #3 – What does God offer us?
By the substitutionary death of His Son, Jesus Christ, He offers us eternal life in Heaven if we are willing to come to Him in humility, accepting that we are sinners, saved by faith in Christ AND a willingness to follow Him as Lord of our lives (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9).
Reality #4 – What happens if we choose to create our own version of Christianity or follow another religion?
We will not experience the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in this life, and we will be separated from God for eternity (Matt. 7:21-23).
Three Other Offerings On The Subject
Please forgive the sanctimonious cynicism regarding “convenient Christianity”. However, to that end, if you want an expanded description, consider reading an earlier article I wrote. Or, if you would prefer a softer version, clarifying easy believism from Biblical Christianity, this is an article you might find more palatable. Finally, a more encouraging and brief approach to the subject can be found here.