Introduction

 

This is the first in a series of articles entitled “Religious Myths Exposed” that will address the myths that are propagated through the church that lead people into a life of religious pressure, shame, and guilt.

 

When my oldest son Daniel was about three years old, we were at a birthday party for the daughter of an evangelist friend of mine at a hotel in LaGrange GA. Daniel was in the shallow end of the pool with a ring float and my wife Dianne was sitting on the side of the pool watching the children play and talking to the wife of my friend the evangelist. She had turned away for a moment and when she looked back she saw the float in the pool but Daniel was not in it. Her quick, gut reaction of course was to jump in the pool, fully dressed, and pull Daniel out of the water to safety.

 

This is a picture of you and me along with all of mankind without Jesus. We sink hopelessly towards death without the ability to save ourselves from the inevitable. We don’t have the means to save ourselves, we are left to the fate of every human since Adam and Eve first sinned. Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians about Jesus and His abandonment of heaven:

“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:6-8 KJV.

 

Jesus was and is our only hope of rescue, and He, without thought for Himself or His own well being, saw us in a hopeless situation, abandoned the comfort of heaven to come to where we are to rescue us! What a courageous thing He did when He left heaven, came to live as a man, and gave all that He could possibly give to rescue us from certain death! The writer of Romans describes this unselfish act of love this way:

 

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8 KJV.

 

Most Christians believe that they were rescued from eternal separation from God. They believe that their past sins are forgiven. But after this is where things start to get confusing. Most of us are not sure how we should live life after we become Christians and what we should do with the ongoing battle to live up to what we perceive as God’s expectation of us as Christians.

 

From the time we are born there is a plan in place to keep us from ever knowing God and to keep us separated from Him if we ever get to know Him. This is a plan that is propagated by our adversary, Satan, who works through the people and events that influence our mental and emotional development in life with one goal in mind, keep us separated from our Father. In other words, if there is a way to deceive you to keep you from receiving the best that God has for you, Satan will use it.

 

In this series of articles I want to expose some of these lies and deep rooted beliefs that most of us have that are not grounded in truth and have nothing to do with the character of Jesus and how we are perceived by God. However, these myths are widely accepted among church and non church people and are passed down from parents, teachers, churches, and the media as the gospel of Jesus. Some of these are very subtle, rest deep in our psyche, and go undetected, yet they cause us great pain and frustration in life. I want to help you turn on the light and see in the dark recesses of your mind these myths for what they really are so you can experience true happiness and freedom.

 

The Plague of Performance Based Christianity in the 21st Century Church

 

First I want to say that I have the utmost respect for the Body of Christ, the Church, in all of its forms in the world today, and all leaders and authorities that God has put in place. I will not teach against anything but the mindsets that are prevalent in the church that I believe are there because of the necessity of the organization and structure of the 21st Century Church.

 

I believe that leaders of the church, for the most part, are doing what they believe they are called to do and from their hearts they are forwarding the kingdom of God in the Earth. And God is still working great works through the Body of Christ as He always has!

 

Having said that, there are inherent issues that leaders have to deal with due to the organized structures they find themselves in the 21st Century Church setting. These issues cause the leaders, in many cases, to use the word of God in a ways they were taught, but I believe was not the intent of the Holy Spirit when He inspired the writing of those scriptures.

 

The way the word of God is used (or misused) along with doctrines that are passed down from generation to generation, and the pressures that leaders find themselves under in organized churches has led to the propagation of doctrines that create an atmosphere of religious pressure, stress, guilt, shame, and performance based Christianity in most church settings.

 

The Force Behind the Myths – Why Churches Don’t Tell You the Whole Truth

 

Jesus’ greatest opponents were not the sinners, they were religious people. The Pharisees were the opposing force of the early church and Jesus, not the government, and certainly not the people.

 

Jesus was not just a little controversial; He eventually offended most everyone He came in contact with! Although He did offend His disciples at times, they were not His enemies. The ones who wanted Him dead were the Religious elite, led by a sect of Judaism called the Pharisees.

 

But even deeper than the hatred of the Pharisees was a spiritual force, religious spirits, completely bent on silencing the voice of freedom and keeping the masses under religious pressure, shame, and guilt!

 

This spirit is alive and well today and the agenda is the same, it is more cunning and subtle today than it was in the days of Jesus. This is not an indictment against the Church, for the most part Christians today are serving God and trying to be good people and the Church is doing what it’s always done, advancing the kingdom of God in the earth!

 

The Body of Christ is alive and doing fine, yet there are subtle myths in the church that I believe keeps the people from experiencing true joy and freedom. It’s almost like a low grade fever, you know something is not right, but you can’t quit put your finger on it and it keeps you from functioning at 100% of your potential. Here are a few topics we will be discussing in this series:

 

The Sin Cycle and How to Break it By Dealing With Shame

The 21st Century Plague of Christian Myths

The Law of Moses – The Great Frustrator

Religious Myth – You Have to Be Poor to Be Spiritual

Religious Myth – It’s Hard to Be a Christian

Religious Myth – Your Not Okay With God

Religious Myth – You Have To Go To Church To Be a Good Christian

Religious Myth – You Have To Like Churchy People and Churchy Things

Religious Myth – You Have To Work For God’s Favor and Blessing

Religious Myth – Your Financial Blessing or Failure is Directly Tied to Your Tithing

And Much More…

 

My prayer is that you would experience true freedom from performance based Christianity.

 

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