Mainstream Christianity is an oxymoron

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I always know I’ve struck a chord when comments come in from all sides — email, Facebook, website, Twitter. One brother said his friends are being discipled more by Fox News than by the Holy Bible. Another said he’s displeasing his friends on both sides of the political spectrum (that’s usually a sign that you are on the right track). Most are just tired of Christianity being more about politics than the truth — proof, as we talked about yesterday, that power is dictating “truth” instead of the other way around.

It’s all about power isn’t it? Somewhere along the way, we opted more for political power than the power of the Holy Spirit. Political power is enticing. Certain hot-button issues like abortion and homosexuality get people riled up and banded together and we think we can actually make a dent in the social fabric of our communities when the difference we’re creating is nothing you can measure in changed lives or more followers of Jesus.

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somewhere in the past 30 years, we started using the phrase “mainstream Christianity.” Just when did Christianity become mainstream? When we started to represent a political agenda, and when we started to guarantee lots of votes for candidates and legislation on the perceived correct side of the “big” issues.

But mainstream Christianity is an oxymoron. If it’s mainstream, it’s most likely not Christian. In all of Scripture — both Old and New Testaments — God’s people have never been in the mainstream of society. Shouldn’t that tell us something? If politicians are aggressively seeking evangelical Christians because of the large bloc of votes we bring to the table, shouldn’t we wonder about that? Not that it wouldn’t be nice to have all these millions of people following Jesus, but we know too much of history to think that they all are. Is this truth speaking to power or the other way around?

Jesus said the way that leads to life is narrow and there are only a few that are on it, and the way that leads to destruction is broad and crowded. Which one sounds like mainstream?

It’s a narrow way, this one lane road to life

It’s not a superhighway, but they say that the traffic’s light

Well I never did like crowds anyway, and the company sure is nice

Walkin’ with you on a one lane road to life

                   – from the song, “One Lane Road” by John Fischer

We’re not mainstreaming the gospel; we are mainstreaming an agenda that has power in numbers, but little evidence of the Holy Spirit. Imagine if all these millions of Christians were mainstreaming the love and compassion of Jesus to everyone around them. This country would not be in the shape it’s in now.

Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord

 

Causes and marching and war are the vents of your anger

What are you fighting for when it’s my war?

 

Will you legislate love in the heart of a nation?

All you are thinking of is your own kind

 

He visits His wrath on sin to the fourth generation

Yet shows His mercy and love for a thousand

 

Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord

                        – from the song “By My Spirit” by John Fischer

Get off the bandwagon. Step out of the mainstream. Get in on the gospel of Jesus Christ — that messy, truthful, total acceptance of the lowly sinner because once you see how low you’ve gone, you can only look up from there.

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6 Responses to Mainstream Christianity is an oxymoron

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Wanted to thank-u Pastor John for hitting enter every once in while after a few sentences and splitting this Catch up a bit…

    PS may please suggest getting rid of the mouse in your pocket & consider talking about yourself, not to include everyone else as i: “It’s all about power isn’t it? Somewhere along the way, “we” opted more for political power than the power of the Holy Spirit. Political power is enticing. Certain hot-button issues like abortion and homosexuality get people riled up and banded together and “we” think we can actually make a dent in the social fabric of our communities when the difference “we’re” creating is nothing you can measure in changed lives or more followers of Jesus.

    I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somewhere in the past 30 years, “we” started using the phrase “mainstream Christianity.” Just when did Christianity become mainstream? When “we” started to represent a political agenda, and when “we” started to guarantee lots of votes for candidates and legislation on the perceived correct side of the “big” issues.”

    Please seriously consider getting rid of the “we’s” and speak for yourself, not everyone else…

    • jwfisch says:

      Good observation. I’ll watch this. However, when talking about people who claim to be Christians in a grouping of people in society, I would have to include myself in that group.

      • Mark D Seguin says:

        So would I, yet as I learned in my English 101 College class how to phase things, so I’m only speaking for myself b/c that’s all anyone can rightly do…. But thanks for replying, appreciate it & you…

        PS Also, thanks 4 the comment “Good observation”

  2. John A Fagliano says:

    Don’t return a curse with a curse, but return a curse with a blessing. Can you imagine someone doing that during a political debate? Rejoice when you are persecuted and falsely accused. Can you imagine a Politian doing that instead of complaining that the biased media is against them? Following Jesus is just not how political games are played. Unless that changes, anyone who thinks their side of the fence is “morally correct” or that God is on their side will always be wrong.

    “Imagine if all these millions of Christians were mainstreaming the love and compassion of Jesus to everyone around them.” The good news is there ARE millions of Christians who try to live their lives that way. They just don’t make the headlines. Our problem is that we look up to well known people: Athletes, actors, musicians, AND politicians are being wrongfully idolized. We are willing to tear into other people who don’t follow who we follow. That is America’s biggest sin. Instead we should try to look for God in others and in ourselves. That’s where we find Him, Not on a man made pedestal.

  3. TOM F. says:

    For the last several months I have been remembering my own history with these issues. I was greatly affected by what was left of the Jesus Movement in the late 70’s. I was attending a Christian College where students were studying to be Pastors and Teachers. I think the faculty got worried when students, like myself, who had been going through the system were attending concerts on campus and walking up at the alter calls. During those years Jesus Music turned into Christian Contemporary. Getting saved became cool. Some celebrity artists became converts and we all cheered. It was cool to be a Christian. There came a shift. I got a letter from Jerry Fallwels ministry urging the Idea of putting Jesus First. I got a lapel pin that said it . Later I got another letter. This time the lapel pin was an American Flag. Being the self centered addict that I am- Religion became my drug of choice. Often I would do my will in God’s name. After a return to drugs. Hitting Bottom and decades of 12 Step Recovery ( a movement that also seems to be going mainstream). I have traded religion for relationship. Embracing my brokenness I receive GRACE and am able only by the Power of the Holy Spirit to have it flow Outward..

  4. Elizabeth says:

    When did Christianity become mainstream and have pretentions to power? My vote is for around the time of Emperor Constantine, back when the Roman Empire was still a thing. You are absolutely right that it’s a problem, but it is not a new problem.

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