One of the tragic occurrences in the evolution of contemporary religion is the presence of "Churchless Christianity". The assertion that the followers of this Christianity believe is that it is the Lord Jesus Christ who saves us, not the Church. They no longer want or need a Church. They stress that "all you need is Jesus. Few would dispute the fact that it is the Lord Jesus Christ who truly saves us. We who are joined to Him are joined to the Church.
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In striking research undertaken in the mid-eighties and published in , Herbert E. Hoefer found that the people of Madras City are far closer to historic Christianity than the populace of any cities in the western Christian world could ever claim to be. Yet these are not Christians, but rather Hindus and Muslims. In their midst is a significant number of true believers in Christ who openly confess to faith in fundamental Biblical doctrines, yet remain outside the institutional church.
The article expands this idea that one does not need to become a Christian or to change his religious practices; he just needs to add Jesus to his spiritual equation:. It will lead not to an indigenous Christianity but to a Christianized Hinduism. Perhaps more accurately we should say a Christ-ized Hinduism. I would suggest that really both are the same, and therefore we should not worry about it. We do not want to change the culture or the religious genius of India.
We simply want to bring Christ and His Gospel into the center of it. Hoefer admits that these non-baptized believers are not Christians, and usually they do not choose to call themselves that.
In many of his examples, these non-baptized believers continue practicing their religious rituals so as not to draw suspicion or ridicule from family and friends. Hoefer explains one story:. Outside I am a Hindu, but inside I am a Christian. Another family of the Nayar caste consisted of a wife, her husband and one son. Hoefer describes their situation:.
They both had studied in Christian schools and learned of Christ. The husband does not join his wife in coming to Church, but he occasionally joins her for the big public meetings. They do not have family devotions, but worship Jesus along with the Hindu gods in their home. Their approach to the Hindu festivals is to carry them out but to think of God, not Jesus specifically.
I am not here to judge whether these non-baptized believers are truly born again. That is for the Lord to decide. My concern lies with the way missions is changing and how the Gospel is being presented. And the apostle Paul, who ended up dying for his faith, exhorted believers to be willing to give up all for the sake of having Christ:.
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Philippians Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason ministries has done extensive research and analysis on the new missiology. Can a Christian now call himself a Muslim? The word Muslim is made up of two words, Islam and Mu.
Can a Muslim be called a Christian and walk with Allah? This seems to make no doctrinal or practical sense, unless they change the names and the meaning. This only brings confusion.
Why do this when you can introduce Yahweh as the true God without any baggage and shuffling around in names, nature or descriptions? The answer is that you may not see the same results. In a book by Oppenheimer and Sandy Simpson titled Idolatry in Their Hearts , they show how widespread this new missiology has become.
Listen to some of the comments made by a few new missiology proponents:. One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.
I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity…. I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can. Allah is not another God … we worship the same God…. The same God! Oppenheimer and Simpson present page after page of documentation showing this paradigm shift in Christian missions.
One cannot be in relationship with Jesus within the confines of a false religion. One must leave his or her religion to follow Jesus, not just add Him on…. What is concerning is that these same kinds of statements are also made by those who are New Agers that hold a universal view. With Rick Warren saying your religion should have no bearing on your spiritual life, Erwin McManus saying he would like to destroy Christianity, and missionary societies telling new converts they can have Jesus without Christianity or baptism , the results could be devastating and will very likely undo the tireless efforts of many dedicated missionaries around the world.
These Bible-believing missionaries have risked their lives and given up comforts and ease to travel around the world sharing the good news that becoming a Christian having Jesus Christ come into your heart and life is the way to eternal life. In fact, you can still live like you always have.
To the many who have suffered persecution and martyrdom over the centuries for being Christians and being courageous enough to call themselves that, we now must believe they suffered and died unnecessarily—after all, they did not need to confess Jesus as the only way. We also find that the following words of Jesus do not fit into this emerging church paradigm:. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew There is a powerful story in the Book of Acts, in which the apostle Paul had been arrested for preaching the Gospel. He was brought before King Agrippa and given the opportunity to share his testimony of how he became a Christian. He told Agrippa that the Lord had commissioned him to preach the Gospel and:.
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Acts I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. You can remain just as you are; keep all your rituals and practices, just say you like Jesus.
He would not have stood out, would not have preached boldly and without reservation, and he would not have called himself a Christian, which eventually became a death sentence for Paul and countless others.
Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality , op. Peter Kreeft, Ecumenical Jihad , op. Lighthouse Trails Publishing, Inc.
Do the churchless Christians have it right?
I want to give you reasons, however, why this is no reason to avoid going to church. In many ways, I agree with it. I want to offer a few snacks of caution to chew on, if I may. As always, please feel free to like , not like, comment , or question any of my posts. Your opinions are welcome. As you may know, I am fond of saying that being in church does not make you a Christian any more than being in a garage makes you a car.
“Churchless” Christianity – The New Way of Doing Missions
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