Dear Antiestablishment Christian,
I have to preface this by stating my love for you as a brother in Christ. I have no doubts as to your salvation. I can tell you’ve built your beliefs on the solid foundation of Christ crucified. I’m overjoyed that you’re in the fellowship of His church, and will praise Him with me in Heaven for all eternity.
You are intelligent, well spoken, and grounded. I know your ideas are well researched and thought out; you’ve definitely done your homework. You speak passionately and intensely. You eloquently share your thoughts and people hear you.
But, I think you’re hurting yourself more than you’re helping…
You can come across as hateful at times. I don’t think it’s on purpose either, just happens incidentally. The issues you speak on are so close to your heart that you’re moved to challenge them. This is a wonderful thing.
I understand your concerns about what the Church has become. 2,000 years of sinful people will dilute and contort any idea, especially one so bold, yet so nuanced as Christianity. I more than understand your contentions with ignorant branch of psuedo-Christianity, the shallow sect that goes to church, but is not the Church.
They turn Jesus into a political mascot riding a donkey or an elephant with an American flag in His hand. Their Jesus either passes guns out to toddlers or gifts Priuses and kale juice. They’ll come on Sunday mornings, maybe even sing a little and stay awake during the sermon, and then live out the week no different from the world around them. They politicize church affairs, picking sides and fights. They create God in their image, not recognizing that it’s the other way around.
I get that. That infuriates me too. They hurt the Gospel. Others perceive these people as the entire Church and generalize and assume that we’re all like that.
But you tend be known more for what you’re against, rather than what you’re for. This is partially due to how different your ideas are from mainstream, more fundamental Christians. I recognize that anything new will be faced with opposition, and I commend your persistence in your sharing of these controversial ideas.
The beauty of salvation is the grace that’s allowed for flexibility on some nitpicky issues. This has allowed the Gospel to be applicable in many cultures and communities throughout history. Your right to express your opinion is God given and should never be smothered.
But the way express your opinion is causing others to stumble. Not in the self examining, reflective way either. I, myself have stumbled. You’ve ticked me off. I can’t show love for the saints if I’m mad at one of them. This is my fault. Not yours.
Oftentimes your inflammatory, pointed statements and statuses alienate those who believe differently than you. That’s not how it should be. You bounce back and forth between praising an apparent abuse of grace and browbeating those who sin differently than you do. I’m sure you have patience and understanding for other Christians, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.
You can come across as sassy and pious, which evokes an equal response from others. And then you tend to take the high ground, saying that you were “not mad, just having a conversation.” That’s not how it should be, brother.
Please understand I don’t want this to be hateful or judgmental, I want to encourage! This is not an open letter bashing your beliefs, just critiquing your presentation of them. I actually agree with a few of your ideas, but you’re not sharing them effectively. You have the purest intentions, but they are often polluted by your demeanor.
You’d be more effective if you’d build up the Church sometimes, rather than trying to gut it and remodel the whole thing.
There’s room for disagreements in theology of course, but it becomes an issue when it separates the church.
We will be know by our love for the saints. So let’s unite under the cross to go out and bring the lost home. Evangelism is more important than our disagreements.
Blessings and Love,