Seven Letters Seven Dangers: Christ-less Christianity

What is Christianity if not Christ?

A Christ-less Christianity is not Christianity. It is a form of humanitarianism. Now, loving our neighbor is a wonderful thing. However, when all of Christianity is reduced to loving our neighbor, then we have a Christ-less Christianity. Sadly, this is the very Christianity espoused by many in churches today.

Dear Theophilus,

I find that the greatest danger facing the church today is Christ-less Christianity. I realize that this expression will raise your eyebrows and well it should for what is Christianity if not Christ?  But if I leave it undefined you will ask what it means in your next letter!  So, let me describe the condition for you.

First, Christ-less Christianity reduces Christ to a self-help guru.  In this sort of Christianity, Christ functions like a Gandhi or Buddha figure.  However, our visually oriented culture has supplanted our word based faith and so consequently Jesus has representative Buddhas who stand in for him.  For example, Joel Osteen will stand up and lead his people through a familiar mantra which includes these words, “This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I can do what it says I can do. Today, I will be taught the Word of God.” He will then proceed to tell them things that are so obviously read into the word and not out of it!  Through Osteen, Jesus is reduced to a life coach rather than Savior of the world.  The gospel becomes a message of material prosperity rather than a life changing and saving message. That is Christ-less Christianity.

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