'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' (John 8: 31-32)
1. A cross is not visible anywhere.
2. There is no mention of personal sin or repentance.
3. There is an atmosphere of personal therapy, with frequent mention of spirituality, tolerance, justice and love, defined by each person according to his/her unique needs.
4. The Bible is consulted only if a verse is needed to prove to those who actually believe it, how wrong they are. The Bible is not God’s revelation to us, but the views of earlier, quite inferior humans, so it can’t be worth much, except for a few useful verses.
5. Christ is not God incarnate, nor is He our Savior, nor the only way to salvation. Christ is a good teacher and role model, always approving of a person’s own instincts, ideas and behavior.
6. Other beliefs -- Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age beliefs, witchcraft, Islam--are possible paths to salvation as well, even if their core tenets directly contradict Christian precepts. There is nothing all that special, as it turns out, about Christ.
7. There is no real truth. Any discussion of “truth” is presumptuous and, well, tacky.
8. It’s way too patriarchal to quote from Bible verses that call God “Father,” Christ “Son,” or people collectively as “brothers” or “men.” Recent broad Bible translations are the only ones permitted, those with “gender neutral” language, even if the meaning is radically altered. .
9. The primary message is what is termed social justice-- redistribution of money, guilt over the poor, guilt over racial issues (even if you’re African -American), “gay” rights, feminism, environmentalism, the evil of the religious “right.” But actually, there is no real “evil,” not even Saddam Hussein nor Al-Queda, which is all a big misunderstanding that could be remedied with “dialogue.”
10. What is not covered: Christ’s atonement and sacrifice, the significance of the Resurrection, Bible prophecy, the Fall of man in the Garden, Moses and the law, the realm of angels/demons/Satan, the great Flood, forgiveness, sexual virtue, or how to witness to others about Christ.
11. Offerings are taken for new church renovations, buildings, or the downtown soup kitchen. Never are funds raised to send missionaries to Kenya , for a campus mission group, or for the local pro-life pregnancy center.
12. Youth groups learn a lot about sharing and doing good deeds. They also go on hay rides, go bowling, go to a nice camp and hear talks by same sex couples about the need for “equality.” They have virtually no Bible study, they pray to whatever concept of deity is in their heads, and never learn from Scripture who Christ is, why repentance is necessary for salvation, and how to be born again by the Holy Spirit.
13. Women study groups are likely to be prayer circles, where personal problems, particularly with husbands or families, are the focus. They sometimes encourage women to imagine and pray to their own personal version of “God,” including a goddess-substitute. Christ as Savior is an irrelevant non-subject.
14. A typical men’s meeting will be a self-help forum about becoming more submissive to the women in their lives; gaining more confidence/self-esteem on the job, and fulfilling the church’s need for them to repair/transport/set up/tear down/ give money/submit to women. They are not encouraged to know their Savior, who could truly and nobly empower their lives.
15. Most Sundays will pass without the name of Jesus ever being mentioned.
16. Small groups will explore trendy subjects like “The Da Vinci Code, “A Course in Miracles” or dream interpretation, further confusing any genuine understanding of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. They will not study Genesis, Job, Ephesians, Romans, the minor Prophets, or Paul’s missionary journeys, since they don’t believe any of this really happened.
17. There will be no fear of engaging in meditation or channeling, consulting a medium, conducting a ritual ( a spell), or many other practices specifically and emphatically forbidden in Scripture.
18. Those who believe in the authenticity of Scripture are called divisive bigots. There is no attempt at humble reconsideration of this viewpoint.
19. People don’t believe in Christ, but do believe in themselves.
20. Everyone does what is right in his /her own eyes. (Judges 21:25)
"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8)