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You Can’t Judge Christianity by the Product it Produces

love with actions not words

You can’t judge Christianity by the product it produces.

Or so I am told.

Even though we judge the veracity of virtually of everything by the product it produces, Christians think that Christianity should be exempt from such examination.

Raise the issue of the disconnect between the way Christians live and the truth they say they believe, and you’ll be told the only issue is the truth of the gospel.

“Christians are hypocrites”

So what? The gospel message is what matters.

“Christians live lives that are not any different from their non-Christian neighbors.”

So what? The gospel message is what matters.

Christians go around with bumper stickers that say “I’m not perfect, just forgiven,” expecting non-Christians to understand.

Unbelievers are told time and again that Jesus is the answer to what ails them.

Jesus will change their lives if they will trust him as their Lord and Savior.

Jesus fixes the broken, heals the hurting, and makes every follower of him a new creation.

Jesus forgives sin, wipes slates clean, and the Holy Spirit lives inside every believer to teach and guide each of them.

The Bible says Christians have the mind of Christ.

The Bible also says that Christians are to be perfect, even as their Father in Heaven is perfect.

Christians are even told in the book of James their lives must be sinless, and 1 John says anyone who sins is of the devil.

The Bible also says Christians are to be holy just like God is holy.

The same Bible that tells us the gospel message that we are told we must accept as TRUTH also presents a Christian lifestyle radically different from the way Christians live today.

A lifestyle, it seems, that despite having their sins forgiven, being made new creatures in Christ, and having the Holy Spirit living inside of them, Christians are unable to live it.

We live in a nation inundated with Christian churches, Christian books, and Christian TV and radio. Christianity is the professed religion of 65% of Americans (down from 85% in 1990). Almost one out of four Americans is Evangelical (depending on how you define the word). The United States is the most Christian nation on earth.

Yet, for the most part, those who profess they are Christian live lives no different from those of their non-Christian neighbors.

They preach Jesus is the answer, but non-Christians look at them and say “how’s that working out for you?

If Christians truly want to impress the world, if Christians want to give the world a reason to pause and consider the truth of the gospel, then live like it matters.

Stop preaching and start living.

In other words, put up or shut up.

While I believe the Bible to be an errant, fallible, non-inspired work of largely unknown men, if Christians truly lived their lives according to the words of Jesus, it might make me pause for a moment to consider the veracity of their claims.

But, I know I am safe. Christians love money, food, power, sex, pleasure, entertainment, material goods, etc. just like the rest of us. For all their talk of Heaven, Christians seem to want to stay alive right here on earth with the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world.

The product produced shows that the advertising is false.

Change the product and people might start believing the advertising.

I see nothing within Christianity that says to me “come home.”

I like my new residence.

And I can sleep in on Sunday.

Go Bengals. 🙂

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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13 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Lynn123

    I think for many, not all, that Christianity is basically an “add-on” to their comfortable American life. No one requires them to sacrifice or be drastically different. If some preacher told them they must do this, they’d find a different church and a different preacher. There are many to choose from.

    The most saintly woman I ever knew even once said something that caught my attention. She said that for many in that church, “that’s all they have.” I think she meant- They didn’t have money, family, transportation, status, the ability to go on vacation, etc. And many American Christians do have all those things PLUS the Jesus stuff. It’s an add-on that’s doesn’t seem real to me cause the rubber never has to meet the road.

    I think, for someone who notices and thinks about it, the American church experience where you’re hearing what Jesus requires vs. the actual life of those in the pews-there is such a disconnect that it causes conscious or unconscious confusion in the mind.

    Biggest thing for me in my last church was people going on cruises. This included the pastor. It seemed like a little clique. I thought, “this makes no sense to me.” I mean, people can go on all the cruises they want, but if they’re the super-Christians and pastors of the church, they should preach that-not the opposite of what they actually do!!!

    • Avatar
      Angiep

      When I was a Christian there was a lot of talk about making sacrifices, and we were actually expected to do so (e.g. tithing when you really couldn’t afford it). Materialism was not smiled upon. Of course that made it more likely that we would assimilate ourselves into the fellowship of other believers who also accepted church as “all they have.” In the past couple of decades I’ve noticed a switch to “prosperity doctrine.” As you say, Lynn123, religion is now an “add-on” that is promoted as something to make your life better. People are not interested in hearing about the hard requirements of their faith.

  2. Avatar
    Erin

    In the tension between “Jesus will change their life if they will trust him as their Lord and Savior” and
    “‘Christians live lives that are not any different from their non-Christian neighbors'” is where I lost my faith.

    And that’s all I have to say about that. 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Evan Baldwin

    Bruce I agree, I myself when I was more Evangelical than I am now was not seeing the improvements I hoped for in my behavior. Now as a moderate Christian with skepticism and not being a biblical literalist, I am actually a lot more actively trying to improve my flaws because I care about others and want to be a good person.

  4. Avatar
    BJW

    You know, I know some lovely Christians. But not many. And I haven’t met one locally that acted in such a way that they wanted to be my friend and help me in spite of me not attending their church. My one so so friend who thinks she’s a great Christian, is an example of a Trump loving hypocrite. So there’s no danger of me being swept off my feet again by these types.

  5. Avatar
    Dave

    I sure as hell judge evangelical Christians for their embrace of the most vile and repugnant president in our history. Shame on them

  6. Avatar
    Chikirin

    This is the main reason i stopped believing. Christians, unlike Jews or Muslims, claim God himself the holy spirit dwells in them. If someone claims God lives in them, but then they act messed up, it disproves that claim. If they didn’t claim the holy spirit lives in them, they might be able to get away with the idea that one cannot judge Christianity on its adherents’ behavior.

    They would respond by saying “The holy spirit is a gentleman and won’t make you do anything.” That allows them to make a claim of God living in them while also excusing them from having to demonstrate that it’s true.

  7. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    I applaud people wanting to be better, to work on their faults, especially if those faults harm others. I admire a handful of Christians who actually do work to help other humans instead of fighting the fabricated culture wars. The Christians I can’t abide are the ones who want to force a set of their rules into society at large and who literally demonize anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

Want to Respond to Bruce? Fire Away!

Bruce Gerencser