Evangelical Christianity teaches that the true followers of Jesus® are to be IN the world but not OF the world. The writer of the book of 1 John wrote:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)
Notice what is being taught here:
- Christians are not to love the world
- Christians are not to love the things of the world
- If any professing Christian loves the world the love of God the Father is not in them (they are not a Christian)
- All that is in world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, does not come from God the Father but is from the world
- The world and its lusts will someday pass away, but those (Christians) who do the will of God (not loving the world or the things of the world) will abide (live with God) for ever.
Many Evangelical Christians I know live in constant turmoil concerning the world. They know the Bible commands them to not love the world or the things that are in the world, but dammit they just so happen to LIVE in the world they are not to love.
What’s an Evangelical to do? They don’t want to be Amish or withdraw into a cult like Jonestown or Waco so they try to make peace with the world by practicing what I call the replacement doctrine.
The Christian church has practiced the replacement doctrine for at least 1,700 years. The Roman Catholic Church appropriated heathen holidays and replaced them with a Christian version; Christmas and Easter, both pagan in origin, were replaced by a Christian version of Christmas and Easter. Throughout history, Christians have been quite willing to take what the world has to offer, repackage it, and call it their own.
In the 21st century, Evangelicals are quite adept at practicing the replacement doctrine. There is a Christian version of everything;
- Halloween becomes Trunk or Treat or JesusWeen (article on Jesus Ween)
- Christian TV (National Religious Broadcasters)
- Christian movies (Christian Cinema)
- Christian radio (National Religious Broadcasters)
- Christian bands (old comparison chart, if you like this secular band you’ll like this Christian band)
- Christian dating sites (Christian Mingle, Christian Crush, Christian Cafe)
- Christian sex toys (Covenant Spice, Married Dance)
- Christian colleges (list of Evangelical colleges)
- Christian daycare, preschool, elementary and high schools
- Christian internet, web filters, web design (Clean Internet, Covenant Eyes)
- Christian home schoolers
- Christian legal services (Christian Legal Services, Christian Law Association, Home School Legal Defense Association)
- Christian medical and dental care (Christian Medical & Dental Associations)
- Christian clothing (see World Renowned Clothing Designer Zsuzsanna Anderson Brings to Market King James Virgin Bathing Suit)
Anything the world has Christians have a replacement for it. The only problem is this, most of the Christian replacements suck. Anyone want to argue that Christian music, TV, radio, or movies are of better quality than what the world puts out? I know I sure don’t. Is Fireproof better quality than A Thief in the Night? Sure, but both movies are little more than evangelistic tools meant to win the lost and encourage the faithful. As their Redbox account or Netflix queue delightfully shows, Evangelicals love the world’s movies. They may watch Courageous, God’s Not Dead, or Facing the Giants, but they secretly and guiltily love Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, and Nurse Jackie.
Instead of being counter-cultural and realizing that being NOT of the world means NOT indulging in the things of the world, Christians are heaven-bent on having their cake and eating it too. If a person is going to be a Bible-believing, Jesus-worshiping Evangelical Christian, then it means doing without what the world has to offer. If they are unwilling to practice what the Bible preaches, then perhaps it is time for them to stop saying “I am a Christian.” Remember, the Christian road is a straight and narrow way and few be there that find it.
Let’s face it, the world is fun. The things the world has to offer are far beyond anything the Christian church can offer and Evangelicals need to realize their attempt to replace the world with Christianized versions is embarrassing and silly. Nothing worse than watching Christians try to act hip and cool all the while saying they love Jesus. Get in or get out…
As a card-carrying atheist, I love the world and the things that are in the world. Yes, the world is dangerous and its allurements can hurt and destroy. World-walkers must be vigilant and tread carefully. That said, I have no desire to go back to the cheap illusions of Evangelical Christianity. Why would I ever want to go back to the cheap imitations that Christians use to replace the things of the world? No thanks.
I realize this puts me at odds with Jesus, and whoever the person is who wrote the gospel of John and the Epistle of 1 John Jesus was wrong about the world. The world in and of itself is not the problem. Yes, the world is a wild, wooly place. I get it, play with fire and you might get burnt. However, avoidance and replacement is not the answer.
Discernment and maturity are well suited and necessary for the world-walker. Instead of a book that plots out the way a person must walk, giving them a long list of thou shalt not’s, the world-walker must investigate and judge every thing and experience encountered while on the path of life. Rational, careful, reasoned thinking is required every step of the way.
It is far easier to be an Evangelical Christian; the Bible is clear, do this and thou shalt live. No need for judgment and discernment, the Bible covers everything and everyone in the world. Isn’t that great? No need to think, just do what Jesus the pastor/evangelist/elder/bishop/more mature Christian than you says and all will be well.
Many Evangelicals, because of the teaching of the Bible, attempt to avoid the common bond they have with every other human. We are ALL world-walkers, people of the dust. Instead of trying to avoid the world or replace the world with cheap imitations, the Evangelical church would be better served if they truly and completely embraced the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. Instead of a US vs.THEM way of thinking, how much better would the world be if we were all one, a oneness that would make a universalist shout?
Come on in Christian friend. The worldly end of the pool is warm and the company is grand. (though you might be bothered a bit by the skimpy bathing suits) Once you try the deep of the pool you will never want to go back to the kiddie end of the pool. Really, who wants to listen to Christian rock when you can listen to the real thing? What would Jesus Do? How about what YOU want to do?
I am aware some “Christian” companies are actually owned by secular corporations who are savvy marketers targeting Evangelicals, an easy mark for anything labeled Christian.