“Atheism is too simple. And I will tell you another view that is also too simple. It is the view I call Christianity-and-water, the view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all right — leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption. Both these are boys ‘ philosophies.” – C. S. Lewis (Mere Christianity book2 chapter2)
It’s Friday so in thinking about what I’m going to say stop first and remember what our Lord said ‘Take up thy cross daily and follow me’
Modern Christianity in all its various forms is largely of the watered down type. I believe that one of the reasons for the decline in Christianity is that it no longer in this diluted form possesses the ability to give life meaning. Real life is hard has pain, loss, suffering. We must restore the authentic mature Christianity and proclaim it, because it is authentic and has power to save.
The diluted religion has two distinct flavors as I see it, they are often mixed together in different proportions.
1. Nice Jesus- this is Jesus who is gentle, kind and weak he is domestic. He is incapable of being a just judge or telling the truth if it might offend. He embraces all and does not expect them to make difficult changes to follow him. This is an effeminate Jesus. This is largely the Jesus of liberal Christianity.
2. Heaven now- this can be summed up as ‘Jesus suffered so I don’t haft to’ . This is more of a conservative protestant Jesus, though he is not limited to that context. An oversimplified substitutiary atonement reflects this view. As well as an attitude which says ‘Jesus would want you to be happy’.
We see these distorted images of our Lord mixed and matched in a wide variety of problematic forms of Christianity; The prosperity gospel, eternal security Calvinism, entertainment driven megachurchism, liberal/progressive Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, most of the Episcopal Church USA etc.
Real Christianity is hard it involves following someone who is going to a torturous death. But it also is grown up and able to deal with the fact that this life is not always easy. Our sufferings have meaning because he suffered.