(Click here to listen to the audio version of this blog post.)
In the late '60s, American culture was all abuzz with the rumor, "Paul is Dead." The supposed fatality of the beloved member of The Beatles became a cultural phenomenon, leading many young people to analyze the band's artwork and lyrics for clues. The "fake news" of the day was that Paul McCartney had died, and been replaced by a look-a-like. The gossip finally died down when Paul was interviewed by Life magazine in 1969, and he later poked fun at the rumor himself by titling his 1993 album, "Paul is Live." Thus the tall tale faded into urban legend.
Just like our world has its fables like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and a deceased Beatle, we Christians have our share of urban legends too. Here are 3 Christian urban legends that really need to die:
It can be daunting for Christians to share our faith in this politically correct 21st century world. The evangelistic nature and exclusivity of Christianity has never been more unpopular in America. With cultural mottos such as, "Live and let live," and "Live your truth," evangelism has become taboo. It's more difficult than ever to share the gospel with anyone.....let alone with Mormons, who share many doctrinal terms and values with Christians.
When I decided to take the intellectual aspect of my spiritual beliefs more seriously, it left some of my Christian friends scratching their heads.
My newly acquired love of learning landed me on the receiving end of comments like, "Don't let your head get in the way of your heart," and "I don't need to study because I have faith," and "Be careful not to study too much because 'knowledge puffs up' (1 Corinthians 8:1).”
The New Apostolic Reformation: Movement or Myth? With Dr. Doug Geivett, Holly Pivec, and Dr. Michael Brown — The Alisa Childers Podcast #19
[This op-ed was originally published at The Christian Post.]
I was that kid.
You know the one. The one who studied her Bible until it fell apart. The one who got up at the crack of dawn to do devotions and get to school an hour early to walk around her campus and pray for revival. The one who genuinely loved Jesus with all her heart and couldn't wait to tell everyone about him—even passing out gospel tracts to the drug dealers, goths, and drag queens on Hollywood Boulevard. The one who was "on fire for God."
We are coming up on a time of year when the resurrection of a virgin-born child whose followers called the "Good Shepherd" and "Messiah" is celebrated. He had twelve disciples, performed miracles, and sacrificed himself for the peace of the world. He was buried in a tomb only to rise from the dead three days later. His followers went on to celebrate his resurrection every year, and this celebration eventually became what we call "Easter."
Think I'm talking about Jesus?
Nope. I'm talking about Mithras.
Is Substitutionary Atonement Just a Type of "Cosmic Child Abuse" That Christians Came Up With in the Middle Ages?
Did you ever think you'd be living in a day when believing in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus' blood would be controversial among Christians? Welcome to 2018, when saying "Jesus died for my sins" is considered at best a pagan idea (1) and at worst "psychologically damaging" to children.
What did Jesus accomplish on the cross? This is possibly the most important question a Christian can ask. Did He go to the cross in order to take the punishment of our sins upon Himself? To bring us into an adoptive relationship with God the Father? To ransom us to God? To set a moral example for us to follow? To victoriously defeat sin and death?
Think about the phrase "New Age." What comes to mind? Old documentaries of hippies at Woodstock experimenting with LSD and yoga? Shirley MacLaine holding a cluster of crystals on the cover of Time Magazine back in the ‘80s? Deepak Chopra teaching Oprah how to move things with her mind in the ‘90s? As old or out of touch as these images may seem, New Age beliefs are hotter than ever and have permeated our culture—but with a slick new image. The psychic hotline of the ‘80s has been replaced by winsome hipster gurus who have traded robes for skinny jeans—often translating Eastern religious ideas into Christianese.
Many Christians aren't even aware of how New Age beliefs have infiltrated Christendom through the Progressive Church. I've written about Progressive Christianity here, and talked about it here, here, and here. It wasn't until I recently did a study of New Age Spirituality that I realized how much Progressive Christianity has in common with it.