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Modern Christianity: A Deadly Epidemic.
Phew! That’s quite a title. I won’t be surprised if it comes off as controversial. This is going to be lengthy though but I’ll try to make it as comprehensive as possible. Anyway. I’ve been meaning to write on this for a while but kept postponing it till now.
A few weeks ago, I read a post about a lady saying she had tried Christianity and it seemed so many questions went unanswered so she left Christianity and found it safer to be an atheist. Well, that’s the summary.
At the comment section, were a few comments. I read through them and one particularly caught my attention. It was a lady stating how she had tried them all. Pentecostal, Anglican, Catholic, Quakers and how there was no term to describe her but all she knew was that she was a believer in Spirit.
That hit me. I instantly resonated with them. I didn’t judge them. I could understand why.
Why is there so much confusion? Why are there so many different versions of Christianity and yet all of them point to the same one Jesus?
These are just a few of the numerous questions that are being asked on a daily basis.
So here’s what I’ll do, I’ll attempt to answer these questions using examples that we are all familiar with after which I’ll share a some experiences and address the topic.
Before I proceed, let me point something out. There’s a big difference between knowing someone and knowing about someone.
When you know someone, you know them on a deeper level. You have spent time with them to able to give details about them to some extent. You can tell what they like and what they don’t. You know them.
On the other hand, when you know about someone, you only know them based on hearsay. You don’t know these people personally. That’s the difference.
However, you can know about someone and get to know them personally eventually. It is only by this, that you’ll know for sure if the stories you’ve been told are indeed true.
Because falsehood can only be identified when there is knowledge of the truth. You cannot tell if something is fake when you have never seen the original. Now, let’s get into the topic.
Modern day Christianity offers so many versions of Jesus that makes one question who he really is.
Someone will say Jesus told him to start a ministry and if he doesn’t, his relatives will die. Another person will say Jesus told him to sleep with a lady in order for her to be delivered. Yet another person will say God told him that anyone who sows a seed into his life (by seed, he means money or material things) the Lord will surprise them. These are very few examples compared to the endless list.
If you know Jesus, you’ll know that he has never and will never command any of these. He cannot contradict his word.
Every denomination has its doctrine different from another yet they claim that this one Jesus is the one they follow. Any normal thinking person will know for sure that something is wrong somewhere. It’s either these people are lying or this Jesus is really confused.
But again, one can only discern when they know the truth. There is power in the Word — the Bible. You can only have this power when you know it.
You see, Christianity is like an app. It has its terms and conditions (written in the Bible). The problem which most people have is that they don’t take time to read.
Just as many of us are quick to check the agreement box without reading the terms and conditions, that’s the same way many people accept Christianity without knowing what it is truly about apart from what they have been told.
As a result, such people are forced to heavily rely on the words of these people especially the so called “pastors” who behave like they are custodians of the Holy Spirit.
The idolatry in Christianity is very alarming. The way people hold on to the words of their papa and mama in the Lord above the words of Jesus himself is various shades of disturbing.
Such people can defend their so called pastors even when it is clear that they are in the wrong. Others who have been bold enough to point out the wrong are tagged rebels or demon possessed. How dare they? Who are they to question the authority of the ministers of God?
My question is who are they not to have their authority questioned? Are they God? If they claim to be of God, why can’t believers verify? But with attacks like that, fear tactics and even death threats, people are forced to be silenced.
The truth is they are silenced because they do not know their rights. Let me tell you now, every believer has the right to question any man and the power behind that man as long as he says he is of God. This is what the Bible means when it says in 1 John 4:1:
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
How can you test if you don’t question? How can you question if you don’t know what to question? Let me share some experiences with you.
A few years back, while still in school, I happened to come across someone who said he was an Apostle and he owned a denomination.
Now, I knew a few facts about him and matching him to the standard of a leader or an overseer according to 1 Timothy chapter 3, I realized that he didn’t qualify. He wasn’t even close. He was the exact opposite of the qualities listed in that chapter.
I shared it with someone very close to him that I believed he’d listen to. Note, that the person in question saw the sense in what I had said. I didn’t make it up. That’s what the Bible says.
The following day, I was summoned. And he acknowledged he had gotten the message and scolded me — telling me not to let God be angry with me otherwise I’d run mad. That many people who had questioned him were mad. This is an example of fear tactics that some of them use especially when they know you’re confronting them with the truth.
I became scared and started crying. I didn’t want to run mad. I went to cry to God to forgive me. I never mentioned that again. But that was the ignorant baby Christian. The young girl who only read chapters of the Bible randomly. There was so much I didn’t know.
At that point in my life, I did know a few things but I didn’t really understand them. I accepted doctrines without questioning them and as long as I was showed where they were in Bible I was satisfied.
Let me tell you why working with that is very erroneous. It is wrong because some scriptures can be taken out of context. It is only when you’ve read through that you’ll be able to balance the scriptures. Allow me to digress a little.
A commonly abused scripture is this : Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
I’ve heard many people interpret it to mean that this grace means that we never have to work to enter the kingdom of God. And that means that grace is a guarantee for eternal security. I beg to differ. This is not the interpretation to this scripture.
What that scripture is saying is that we were saved by grace. We didn’t work for it. We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t seek God, God sought us first. Therefore we have a relationship with God by grace but this grace does not guarantee entrance to heaven — your righteousness and obedience is what grants you access.
Let me explain further. Imagine someone who is poor and is being offered a scholarship without applying for one just because someone or an organization decided to help.
Did this student ask for it or even know about it prior to this moment? No. This is exactly what grace is.
Now does this scholarship automatically translate to a certificate? Absolutely not! This student has gained admission and must keep the school rules and regulations, must attend classes, read, write tests and exams and pass all the stages until they eventually graduate. If he doesn’t do all these, will he graduate? No!
That’s exactly how grace works. Grace qualifies you for salvation — righteousness and obedience to God takes you into heaven.
If it was grace alone then all the commandments of Jesus are not necessary. The scripture that says work out your salvation with fear and trembling (see Philippians 2:12) would not be useful. This is why you need to study the Bible yourself.
Anyway, back to the story. Fast forward 2 or 3 years later. I got fed up. I was tired of hearing what other people had to say about this Jesus. I wanted to find out myself so I discarded all books, devotionals and commentaries and focused on the Bible.
Dear readers, there were many moments through the course of reading when I was shocked!
I stood up many times to express myself. There were lots of what?! So is this how it is? What had I believed? There were tears in between. I can tell you for a fact that there’s something about discovering the truth for yourself. It is empowering. You can defend it because you know it.
Anyway not long after I had read the scripture (the whole Bible in the space of four months because I was really determined) for myself, on this fateful day I while I was in my mum’s shop, a young man walked in and saw me reading my Bible (I didn’t stop— I started reading it again) and decided to strike up a conversation with me. He must have been in his mid thirties if not late thirties.
I hadn’t known him so he introduced himself as a pastor of a particular denomination owned by an apostle. I was aware of that denomination and I knew what their doctrines were.
He then started talking and giving testimonies and examples of what God did and all what not. Note that this new me had a better understanding of the scripture and as he spoke I listened. I said a little prayer in my heart that the Lord grant me understanding, the spirit of discernment and wisdom to reply.
Let me tell you, none of the things he mentioned were scripture based. When he finished, I began to address each point with the scriptures. He argued and went off point, called me a rebel and told me that I do not have a teachable spirit. Asked me who my mentor was and I told him the Holy Spirit. He said that was rubbish — that I needed a teacher. It was a long session of being put down. I didn’t mind what he called me, I knew what I knew and I held on to it.
He said all sorts but I still maintained my ground. At the end of the day, he looked at me and the words that came out of his mouth still shock me to this day. He said to me : “You know the Word of God.”
Didn’t this guy call me a rebel earlier? Didn’t he say I had an unteachable spirit? What changed? You might say he was only testing me — nope! That was plain manipulation.
This was a clear case of, ” Damn! You’ve realized that I’m a wolf in sheep clothing. How smart! Lucky you. I could have eaten you up” type of situation.
I only got out of it because of prayer and the knowledge of the word. You need to know it. When you know it you can apply it, you can test every spirit. No one will be able to toss you up and down.
There’s a particular scripture I love so much which is Matthew 16:13 -16. It reads:
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
The only reason Peter answered correctly was because he knew Jesus. Others knew about him (based on assumption), Peter knew him (personally).
Now, someone may ask me why do I even believe in God. That’s quite simple. I believe in God because I understand there is a powerful being behind creation. I look at the sky, the mountains, the trees, plants, insects, birds— every creature and marvel.
There is no way this was an accident. There is no way man just evolved into existence — this took an extraordinary being to create a masterpiece. I believe that he is and he exists.
You may want to ask why I believe in the Bible. I’ll tell you. It is the only book that is the same yet fresh understanding comes daily as one opens his heart to the Holy Spirit for understanding. It is the only book that not only talks about the past but also the present and the future. And as time unfolds, we see these things play out.
I’ll tell you though, if you pick the Bible and read it like a newspaper, you won’t get anything from it. But if you read it with an open mind and sincerely desiring understanding, it will make sense to you.
Now, you cannot understand everything at once which is why no one has the right to monopolize the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide you to all truth. As you read, he grants understanding. It’s okay some things are confusing at some points in time — he knows how to take care of them. You just rely on him.
You see, the modern day Christianity is a disease — an epidemic. False prophets are everywhere greedy for gain, concerned about their stomach. With all manner of prophecies, fake miracles, stealing and covetousness in the name of God, rape and so on, one has to be on his/her guard. Your knowledge of the word of God is the vaccine you need against this disease.
The thing is the Bible told us all these would happen long before they did. Jesus didn’t lie to us— the problem is we don’t read. Everything is there.
In case you’re thinking about starting to read the Bible for yourself, I suggest, you start from the book of Matthew through Revelation (I’d advice you let it flow— Matthew, Mark e.t.c) first before going to the Old testament.
Reason being that the New Testament is a reflection of the new covenant and focuses on Christ and the disciples which is what you need to know first since you are a believer. Also it will give you a better understanding of the Old testament and you will get to truly appreciate the grace we have in Christ.
I need to say that for as long as you keep running helter skelter for a prophecy or a revelation or miracle, you’ll end up in great pain and confusion. Because you’ll be tossed up and down simply because you do not know your right in Christ.
Every prophecy, revelation, teaching must align with the scriptures. You are free to question. You are free to test every spirit. It is your right. Let no man, no prophet, no preacher or apostle intimidate you or silence you.
Be like the Berean Christians in Acts 17:11 who were checking the scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was true. The only way to know is to read. Stop waiting on people to interpret the scriptures to you. Ask the Holy Spirit. Look on to Jesus not any man. Let him be your standard. There’s so much to say but I’ll end here:
Everyone has a version of who Jesus is, but YOU who do you say he is? Do you know him based on assumption or do you really know him?