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13 Contrasts Between American and Biblical Christianity?

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#1
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So… What do you think? Agree with these or disagree?

God bless,

GE
 

13 Contrasts Between American and Biblical Christianity?
(click link for discussion of these points)

1. American Christianity focuses on individual destiny. The Bible focuses on corporate vision and destiny.

2. American Christianity focuses on individual prosperity. The Bible focuses on stewardship.

3. American Christianity focuses on self-fulfillment and happiness. The Bible focuses on glorifying God and serving humanity.

4. American Christianity appeals to using faith to attain stability and comfort. The Bible encourages believers to risk life and limb to advance the Kingdom.

5. American Christianity usually focuses on individual salvation. The Bible deals with individual and systemic redemption.

6. The American apologetic focuses on human reason. The Bible's apologetic focuses on the power of God and experience.

7. American believers have a consumerist mentality regarding a home church. The biblical emphasis is being equipped for the ministry.

8. American Christianity promotes a culture of entertainment. The Bible promotes the pursuit of God.

9. American Christianity depends upon services within a building. The biblical model promotes a lifestyle of worship, community and Christ following.

10. American Christianity is about efficiency. The biblical model is about effectiveness.

11. In American Christianity the pastor is elected. In the biblical model God calls the pastor.

12. In American Christianity the individual interprets the Bible. In the New Testament the hermeneutical community interprets the Bible.

13. American Christianity trains its leaders in Bible colleges. Biblical Christianity nurtures leaders through personal mentoring.


http://www.charisman...howall=&start=4

 


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#2
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#3
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I agree with more than I disagree with.  I do question what they mean by number 7.  I completely disagree with number 12.  That is how you get stuck in false doctrine that never gets corrected.  You have churches built on the faulty foundation of the person that started the denomination.  They will claim to follow proper hermeneutics, which to me is often times a bunch of nonsense.  Everything the person says he claims to be the proper interpretation based on hermeneutics, and they discredit anyone that disagrees with them, as though there is some magic formula to always get it right.  The Bible tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, so I believe every individual had better interpret scripture for themselves, not as the community helps them along, but as the Holy Spirit teaches them the truth from the Holy Bible.  I can't tell you how many errors I have seen people teach that I know to be errors because I took the time to learn the Bible for myself.  Even the church founders don't agree on how to interpret scripture, or you would have a single unified Christian church, rather than all the denominations we have that trace their roots back to men like Luther, Calvin and Wesley.  Most of the things in your list are good, but I don't agree with number 12 as being Biblical Christianity.  Biblical Christianity when it comes to number 12 is to allow the Holy Ghost to lead us into all truth, not a congregation. 


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Well, I think 2, 3 and 4 are true statements, but American Christianity is wrong about these things, especially #3. We are supposed to be Holy, not necessarily happy. Which is not to say God is against us being happy. But Holiness comes first. I think if we love God the way we should, then being Holy would bring us happiness.  I have to give the others more thought.
 


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Cletus

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I didnt know there was a thing called american christianity, but do clearly see christianity in america has many self serving, false teachings, feel good message, etc., type of aproaches. I have heard stories of people in africa listening to some american missionaries and the people where confused and said, where do you get this garbage?

Here is one of my pet peves... God bless america OR america bless God. I choose the latter because just because we are in america dont mean God should bless us. In the bible blessings follow obedience.

I cant figure out what is being said in number 7.   Most of them I do agree with. A couple I am unsure on but can see what the implication is.
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#6
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Hi GE,

 

I am not American – so I don’t really have the background to comment of what constitutes “American Christianity”. Prior to this I don’t ever recall hearing the term. Yet I would suggest that most of the characteristics on this list (both good and bad) could be found in most Christian churches around the world. It seems to me like someone has set out to criticise what they consider to be “American Christianity” by making massive, self-righteous generalisations about a highly varied group of people and their doctrines. Whilst there are fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, there is no rule in Christianity that we all have to agree on every doctrine.

 

Romans 14:4

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

 

Philippians 1:18

18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

 

 


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#7
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Sure paints a somewhat dismal picture of America's churches. I live in America and my church is a lot more like the Number Two's than the One's.


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#8
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So… What do you think? Agree with these or disagree?

God bless,

GE

 

 

What I think is all that kind of comparison is just another mistake in 'generalizations' that people with limited scope and understanding dream up to somehow make their own status and shortcomings more comfortable to deal with. Christ's Faithful can be found in all nations, including in America, which is why such generalizations don't work, and are a waste of time.


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#9
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I agree with more than I disagree with.  I do question what they mean by number 7.  I completely disagree with number 12.  That is how you get stuck in false doctrine that never gets corrected.  You have churches built on the faulty foundation of the person that started the denomination.  They will claim to follow proper hermeneutics, which to me is often times a bunch of nonsense.  Everything the person says he claims to be the proper interpretation based on hermeneutics, and they discredit anyone that disagrees with them, as though there is some magic formula to always get it right.  The Bible tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, so I believe every individual had better interpret scripture for themselves, not as the community helps them along, but as the Holy Spirit teaches them the truth from the Holy Bible.  I can't tell you how many errors I have seen people teach that I know to be errors because I took the time to learn the Bible for myself.  Even the church founders don't agree on how to interpret scripture, or you would have a single unified Christian church, rather than all the denominations we have that trace their roots back to men like Luther, Calvin and Wesley.  Most of the things in your list are good, but I don't agree with number 12 as being Biblical Christianity.  Biblical Christianity when it comes to number 12 is to allow the Holy Ghost to lead us into all truth, not a congregation. 

Yes #7 seemed a bit vague to me too. #7 from the article for further discussion:
 

 

7. American believers have a consumerist mentality regarding a home church. The biblical emphasis is being equipped for the ministry.
 

Americans shop for a church today based on what meets their personal and family needs the best. It is almost like a supermarket mentality of one-stop shopping. While it is good if churches attempt to meet the practical needs of families and communities, the focus should be upon equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-12). God may lead a family to a new church plant instead of a megachurch even if the megachurch has more programs to offer. Biblically, it is all about assignment and equipping. If a person is doing the will of God, they will be fed by God anyway (John 4:34).

 


#12 from the article.

 

12. In American Christianity the individual interprets the Bible. In the New Testament the hermeneutical community interprets the Bible.
 

In the New Testament, when they were grappling with Scripture, they called a council and had dialogue to discern what the Spirit was saying (Acts 15). Paul went to the Jerusalem elders (Peter, James and John) to make sure what he was preaching was of God (Galatians 1 and 2).

 

Often, American preachers get unique interpretations of a passage and come up with a different angle on Scripture based on their own subjective paradigm and/or spiritual experience. Most of the time this turns out OK, but sometimes (as in the case of some like Bishop Carlton Pearson, who preaches a form of universalism and ultimate reconciliation of all) this can have heretical effects.

 

 

Perhaps #12 is also a reference to 2 Peter 1:20:

knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. (ESV)
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (KJV)

 

What do you think brother?

God bless,
GE


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#10
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Well, I think 2, 3 and 4 are true statements, but American Christianity is wrong about these things, especially #3. We are supposed to be Holy, not necessarily happy. Which is not to say God is against us being happy. But Holiness comes first. I think if we love God the way we should, then being Holy would bring us happiness.  I have to give the others more thought.
 

 

3. American Christianity focuses on self-fulfillment and happiness. The Bible focuses on glorifying God and serving humanity.

The Great Commandments are to love God and love our neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40). It seems to me that much of the focus from the American pulpit has to do with individual fulfillment and satisfaction.


Yes, it does seem that we focus in America on self-fulfillment and happiness instead of God's glory and serving others. God desires for us to be holy and joyful, not necessarily happy 100% of the time.

 

What do you think of the others?

 

God bless,

GE


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#11
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I didnt know there was a thing called american christianity, but do clearly see christianity in america has many self serving, false teachings, feel good message, etc., type of aproaches. I have heard stories of people in africa listening to some american missionaries and the people where confused and said, where do you get this garbage?

Here is one of my pet peves... God bless america OR america bless God. I choose the latter because just because we are in america dont mean God should bless us. In the bible blessings follow obedience.

I cant figure out what is being said in number 7.   Most of them I do agree with. A couple I am unsure on but can see what the implication is.


I find it interesting when churches have a "God bless America" day.

#7 from the article... Perhaps it was a bit vague?

7. American believers have a consumerist mentality regarding a home church. The biblical emphasis is being equipped for the ministry.
 

Americans shop for a church today based on what meets their personal and family needs the best. It is almost like a supermarket mentality of one-stop shopping. While it is good if churches attempt to meet the practical needs of families and communities, the focus should be upon equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-12). God may lead a family to a new church plant instead of a megachurch even if the megachurch has more programs to offer. Biblically, it is all about assignment and equipping. If a person is doing the will of God, they will be fed by God anyway (John 4:34).

 

 

What do you think?

God bless,

GE


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#12
GoldenEagle

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Hi GE,

 

I am not American – so I don’t really have the background to comment of what constitutes “American Christianity”. Prior to this I don’t ever recall hearing the term. Yet I would suggest that most of the characteristics on this list (both good and bad) could be found in most Christian churches around the world. It seems to me like someone has set out to criticise what they consider to be “American Christianity” by making massive, self-righteous generalisations about a highly varied group of people and their doctrines. Whilst there are fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, there is no rule in Christianity that we all have to agree on every doctrine.

 

Romans 14:4

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

 

Philippians 1:18

18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

Christianity (primarily Evangelical protestantism)  is cultural in many ways here in America. People don't always believe in Jesus but because they go to church (or they go on Christmas) they believe themselves to be Christians.

Much like in Italy, Spain, Latin America, etc. Roman Catholicism is cultural.

The article does make some generalizations. And not every point will apply to every situation or local church in America. It is good food for thought though.

As to judging... I think you misinterpret the intent of the article. We are to make sure we have sound doctrine right? Are we to accumulate for ourselves teachers to suit our own passions given to wander off into myths?

Titus 2:1
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

2 Tim. 4:2-4
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.



Some distort the truth for personal gain... Are we not supposed to be equipped for every good work?

 

1 Tim. 6:3-5
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

2 Tim. 3:16-17

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of Godmay be complete, equipped for every good work.

What do you think?

God bless,

GE


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#13
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Sure paints a somewhat dismal picture of America's churches. I live in America and my church is a lot more like the Number Two's than the One's.

May not be every church. I'm sure at least 1 item on a list is a struggle in any church in America. But it is a call for introspection and self-evaluation of our doctrine. Do you see sister?

God bless,

GE


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#14
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So… What do you think? Agree with these or disagree?

God bless,

GE

 

 

What I think is all that kind of comparison is just another mistake in 'generalizations' that people with limited scope and understanding dream up to somehow make their own status and shortcomings more comfortable to deal with. Christ's Faithful can be found in all nations, including in America, which is why such generalizations don't work, and are a waste of time.

 

 

I seriously doubt that at least 1 of the 13 of the points don't apply every church in America (or anywhere else in the world for that matter ). To me, this article is a call for us to be Bareans, search the Scriptures, re-evaluate our priorities and doctrines, and challenge others to do the same. At least that's what I took from it.

Simply dismissing it due to limited scope and understanding is like looking in the mirror and saying the image isn't there IMO. But to each his or her own I guess. ;)

God bless,

GE


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#15
Salty

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So… What do you think? Agree with these or disagree?

God bless,

GE

 

 

What I think is all that kind of comparison is just another mistake in 'generalizations' that people with limited scope and understanding dream up to somehow make their own status and shortcomings more comfortable to deal with. Christ's Faithful can be found in all nations, including in America, which is why such generalizations don't work, and are a waste of time.

 

 

I seriously doubt that at least 1 of the 13 of the points don't apply every church in America (or anywhere else in the world for that matter ). To me, this article is a call for us to be Bareans, search the Scriptures, re-evaluate our priorities and doctrines, and challenge others to do the same. At least that's what I took from it.

Simply dismissing it due to limited scope and understanding is like looking in the mirror and saying the image isn't there IMO. But to each his or her own I guess. ;)

God bless,

GE

 

 

Well then, if you want to be accurate with that kind of idea, then you have to align with Christ's seven Messages to the seven Churches in Rev.2 & 3. Only two Churches there He had no problem with, which represent His elect that will not be deceived. Same pattern applies for today's Churches also, in all lands, because it's not really about a certain Church building, denomination, city, or nation, it's about Christ's Faithful that have been sealed.


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I see most of these statements as a matter of personal maturity. As we mature we grow into more bibical christianity and the character of the church changes to reflect a maturing congregation. That sometimes means changing to a different church or denomination as we change but most do not, or as the church body reverts to less bibical practices..

.1. A person must have a personal salvation before he can become a part of the body of Christ. But the gifts and ministries are directed to a body or group of Christians with only the gift of tongues being for an individual. Other gifts are to be judged by the body as a whole. The destiny of the individual is to always be with the Lord. The destiny of the body is to be His dwelling place, with individuals fitted into and working together with each other to function as a whole with Christ as the Head.

2. It is true that the prosperity gospel is a false gospel. It is American greed and covetousness that tempts people to this.. The Bible is all about giving--The Father gave His Son. So we give ourselves and resources back to Him; we give to bless and help each other whether by time, labor of love or money.

3.American culture is all about self and happiness. As we mature in our walk with Christ we become focused on glorifying God and as His love grows in us we also desire to serve others and bring others to Christ.

4. After finding stability, security, comfort and healing in Christ we are motivated to move out of comfort zones to share with others what we have found. We find personal peace dispite of our circumstances.

5. I have no idea what systemic redemption is. However faith should affect every area of our lives, including praying about how to vote. Salvation is entirely the work of the work of the Holy Spirt, whether it be the salvation of 1 or many.

6. Apologetics is based on scripture, not man's reason or experience. It is about the Holy Spirit shedding light on Scriture. It is when men use reason, philosophy or experience as a basis for doctrine that error creeps into the church.
Now days we have men in universities creating cults and calling them christian, as if their degrees in theology qualify them to create a religion.

7. Many people choose a church with good sunday schools, youth programs and young adult programs. The latter 2 are the ages where most of our young people are lost. Without the fellowship of people their own age to encourage each other, many are lost during this time of growing independance. I grieve when the needs of people this age are not met by their churches.

8. I agree with this 100%. Churches with self help groups and hobby groups are not bringing people to the person of Jesus Christ. They may be good for Christian fellowship if they are christians to begin with. Focusing on self is error. Focus on God is the answer.

9. We have come to think of the building as the temple of the Holy Spirit where God dwells. Not So. I consider no physical building as sacred. WE are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, He is in our midst. This can mean a coffee shop, a public park, a home, or a civic center. Our church has held services in all of those places, as well as a school and a shopping center.

10. Our services are not timed, but there are some limits due to the contraints of fitting 2 services into the morning. We often also leave young children in adjacent facilities being kept late. So it is difficult to not go beyond 30 minutes over an expected time. But we do expect the Holy Spirit to minister, and sometimes people are dismissed if they must leave and an alter call is given for personal prayer and ministry. Other times it occurs within the service. Often people are leading others beside them through sinners prayer while in the pews.
We never know what to expect when God is in charge.

11. All genuine pastors are called by God. I many churches should they be invited to become a pastor of a church they may decline if they feel they are not called by God to that particular congregation. In other churches they were called to a region to plant a church and remain there untill God calls them elsewhere.
Graduating from a seminary does not qualify any to be a pastor.

12. Most pastors are subject to a board of elders he has appointed. Others have church overseers in the denomination as well that they answer to in the case of herecy or impropriety. In other cases the congregation can vote him out.

13. Many train in a bible school and then are mentored or vice versa.
When seminaries are taught by unbelievers it is likely the pastors that come from it will not be saved. It is even possible that some who went in as believers we come out doubting their faith in the very Christ who died for them.
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#17
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Well then, if you want to be accurate with that kind of idea, then you have to align with Christ's seven Messages to the seven Churches in Rev.2 & 3. Only two Churches there He had no problem with, which represent His elect that will not be deceived. Same pattern applies for today's Churches also, in all lands, because it's not really about a certain Church building, denomination, city, or nation, it's about Christ's Faithful that have been sealed.

I'm not talking about a complete falling away. However, no single church, denomination, or individual Christian gets all Biblical doctrine 100% right. We are still human after all. But God's grace, mercy, and love is sufficient to the Church at large. :thumbsup:

Again, this thread is more to be self-evaluative and discuss how the above OP applies to our local churches. Then the next thing to consider is how we will allow the Holy Spirit to help re-direct us. Do you see?

As to Revelation the book has 3 genres: epistolary, apocalyptic, and prophetic. Revelation is filled with imagery and visions. A good topic for another discussion.

God bless,

GE


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