I’ve been battling with Christianity for a while especially the fact that Jesus didn’t found the “religion” called Christianity in the first place. From my limited understanding of scripture, I see that Jesus came to help us forge a direct relationship with God which supersedes the Law of the Old Testament. He came to help us build lives dedicated to love, good works & social impact. I’ve observed that anytime people try to mix the dictates of religion or legalism with the Jesus-life, it results in a disproportionate focus on morality, condemnation, fear and third party regulation. Essentially, we go back to the Law. It was Apostle Paul who revealed that anyone who insists on living according to the Law is under a CURSE (Galatians 3).
This commingling of religion, traditions of men and the Jesus-life has resulted in what I term the Black or African form of Christianity. This type of Christianity is a cursed legalistic thing. It produces fear, fetishism and bitterness. The African form of Christianity can be vengeful, condemnatory and excessively showy. In some cases, it is also mediocre and unintelligent. It focuses on “miracles” for self instead of hardwork and selflessness. Communities practicing the African style of Christianity have adherents who are more concerned with personally “hammering” than helping others.
Nations and communities that practice this form of Christianity also tend to be backward and poor. Their adherents are neither salt, leaven nor light in the societies in which they live. Unlike the scriptural dictum in Ephesians 1: 23 (MSG), these communities are peripheral to the world and play no significant part in culture or affairs of state. It was not always so. Christianity used to be a force for much good and transformation. What went wrong?
According to a friend, the US General Social Survey states that Charismatic Christians are among the most wretched population groups by religion. Their divorce rates are high, health poor and education limited. Atheists, Catholics and Jews perform exponentially better. What the data tells me is that Christians who insist on operating religious traditions & works instead of GRACE have either not accessed the realities of the New Testament or are not practicing the Jesus-life. Jesus is neither wretched, unintelligent, selfish nor overly focused on money.
Many first world nations seem closer to practicing the tenets of love and The New Testament as enshrined in Matthew 25 from verse 31. They practice its principles without knowing it. When I see viral pictures of people (many times Caucasians) rescuing “witch” children in Africa, I say to myself, “that’s the Gospel in action.”
To be fair, many Africans love Jesus and are strongly devoted to good works and acts of kindness. But somehow this is no longer popular culture and the charlatans are now center stage. This must change.