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    Saturday, November 29, 2008

    Cultural Christianity Vs. Authentic Christianity

    Cultural Christianity: a moralistic, behavioral set of ethics that are put upon "followers of Christ" to determine whether or not they are good people that are going to heaven. More emphasis on how you look, and act than anything else

    Authentic Christianity: a relational, heart-drawn call to God, His Son Jesus Christ and a willingness to be lead by the Holy Spirit. A competent understanding of your own sinfulness and a desire to change your heart above all else.

    For years I have struggled with these two types of Christianity. When I was growing up, most of the people in my churches were cultural Christians, worrying themselves about how they appeared to be following Christ, rather than actually working on their hearts before the Almighty God Himself. This then trained me to do the very same thing. Not only did I succeed at doing so but I was a champion at pointing out others short-comings when it came to their appearance of following Christ. Cultural Christianity is simply a play with good characters and bad characters. A Ruse to get people to think that they are following the right path. You end up believing certain lies like: You can only be Republican if you're a Christian; Christians never get mad; Christians never fail and if you fail, keep it quiet so no one finds out; and most importantly is make sure you are "on your best behavior" at church.
    When I got to college, my whole sphere of my beliefs came CRASHING down upon my head. I saw the utter flaws within my relationship to Christ, my own sin that I thought was ambition but was pride. I saw my black heart even though I thought it was as white as snow. I saw how often my finger was raised in accusation rather than admittance of my own wrong-doing. God used my college days to utterly transform how I perceived, loved and knew God. This is by no means a blog to say "how far I've come", yet a simple confession of my own personal past and present misconceptions of my Faith.
    What I began to grapple with, was that to really wrestle with God was not to see all the sin in the world, but all the sin within myself. It meant that I needed to go to the mattresses with the Lord, baring my sins open to Him and trying to feebly keep some sins I enjoyed for myself. God has since been calling my junk to the forefront and will continue to do so. This has humbled me when it came to my finger pointing...mind you, I still pridefully do this but I trust I am getting better. I realized that I am just as rotten and disgusting as everyone else, I simply have a Savior that decided to graciously cover my sins because I asked Him. Without the covering of Jesus I am no better than the worst sinner whoever lived. I have within me the capacity to sin with limitless sinfulness. This understanding and the understanding that Christ has graciously given Himself for me has been a HUGE transforming truth for me.
    This understanding is what I have called Authentic Christianity. No longer and I working on myself for a crowd, but giving myself over to the Lord for Him to point out the junk in me and asking Him to graciously help me pluck it out of my heart and life.
    I'll be the first to admit that I live a culturally Christian life more and less of an authentic Christian life than I should. Yet I believe that if we all would grab onto this heart-changing, rather than outside changing Christian Faith, allowing Christ to purge us from within...the World will soon stand and take notice. It has nothing to do with being "culturally relevant" and all to do with how the God wants a relationship with us!

    (For other post about this, check these out: Cleaning your Cups, Galatians Sermon, Authenticity)