Ep.1284: Is Following Christ the Same as Following Christianity? (Part II)
Jesus’ teachings and today’s Christianity compared and contrasted
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Theme Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4:16-17
It seems like it would be a no brainer to say that following Christ and following Christianity today are synonymous. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Imperfect human beings have always been very adept at creating alternative interpretations and approaches to most everything. Christianity is no exception. In Part I of our 2-part series, we began looking at some specific teachings of Jesus. We began holding Christianity up to the light of Jesus’ words and asked how we were doing with this. We continue the process in Part II. Even though we are asking about Christianity, the resounding question that begs for an answer is this: Am I personally choosing to follow Christ and his original teaching, or am I personally settling for some form of watered-down Christianity instead?
There are countless denominations and groups that all claim the label of "Christian." These vary by country of origin, the passing down of traditions and theological perspective. The variety here can be overwhelming. If you are wondering which churches might be the “best,” try this exercise: Pick a few for the purpose of comparison. Set your sole objective to be finding the best possible representation of Jesus. We are not looking for the best brand of Christianity; we are looking to find Jesus.
In Part II of our series on Christ and Christianity, we looked at four aspects of Jesus’ own teachings to help in this comparison. The first was his simple command in John 14:23: If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. Jesus is telling us that our love for him will be made obvious by our keeping and obeying his words.
Cost vs. Blessings
This simple aspect of Christian behavior is easily and regularly overlooked or watered down. Jesus didn’t mean for us to follow only his words that inspire us or make us feel good emotionally or promise us glory in the future. Many times, when Jesus told us things like this, he also told us the rest of the story. He reminded us of the cost of discipleship, of carrying our own cross, of suffering for his sake and of the necessary sacrifice of our own will. When we review some of the many brands of Christianity that surround us, do we see the whole picture of Jesus’ words? Do they feature and explain the costs of true Christianity alongside the blessings of true Christianity?
To tithe or not to tithe
Check out our June 5, 2023 podcast, “Is Following Christ the Same as Following Christianity? (Part II)." We discuss the breadth of Jesus’ spoken words and actions. We also look into what he taught respecting appropriate financial support for Christianity. We examine how we are instructed to interact with and support the brotherhood as well as Jesus’ explanations of God’s kingdom. Join us for this revealing look at Jesus and what he taught us to stand for. It may significantly alter your view of Christianity!