Friday, July 15, 2011


NOTE: This is the first of ten articles in a new series I'm writing. We'll start with #10 and count down to the big one together. It'll be fun.

(But Probably Doesn't)
by Keith Giles

A few years ago I taught a workshop for High School students at an annual Summer Camp. We began by taking a simple "True/False" test together to determine our basic Bible Knowledge. Here's the test we took:

Test your Bible knowledge
Mark answers below “True” or “False”

1- Because Eve was tempted by Satan and ate the apple, sin entered the world.
2- According to Scripture, Samson was a super strong, physically muscular man that God used to judge the enemies of Israel.
3- Jonah the prophet was swallowed by a whale because he refused to go and preach to the people of Nineveh.
4- The city of Sodom was judged by God because of the sin of homosexuality.

It seems like a simple test that any elementary age child should be able to pass with flying colors. The sad thing was that every single kid in the room failed this test.

They all answered "True" to every question. Did you? Well, the answer for each is "False" and if you're not sure why then this series is for you.

My reason for having everyone take this little test was to illustrate how much we allow the popular Christian culture to influence what we think we know is true instead of studying things for ourselves.

Why don't we know what we believe? Why do we misunderstand even the most essential elements of our own faith? Have we allowed popular opinion or the Christian Subculture to blur the most crucial aspects of the Gospel?

Since most people fail my simple test, I'm tempted to guess that we have indeed allowed our faith to be compromised and polluted by the world around us.

So, let's start our series out with number 10:


We begin this series by looking at ourselves. The Christian Subculture has provided a safe haven for us to escape the world around us. We have created our own version of Heaven here on Earth so that we can safely enjoy quality, sanctified entertainment that is free from the secular world.

We have Christian television stations, radio stations, books, videos, films, breath mints, t-shirts, cartoons, socks, neckties, wristwatches, bumper stickers, jewelry, candy bars, coffee, and yes, even Christian underwear. I kid you not. (Google it at your own risk).

The real problem with this is that Jesus never intended His disciples to escape the world by creating a special, Holy version of the world that they preferred to live in while they await His return.

In fact, Jesus said something quite the opposite. When he was praying for those who would come after him he said, “I pray not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the Evil One”. (John 17:15)

The reason Jesus prayed this prayer was the he knew human nature and he knew that, in a few short years, his followers would want to remove themselves from the world around them.

We’re not comfortable hanging out with those sinners. More often than not, we treat those outside the Church, as if they have some sort of “Social Leprosy”. We’re afraid we’ll catch what they’ve got, so we avoid contact with them. We create Christian versions of the world so that we never have to interact with these “Social Lepers”.

Paul the Apostle echoed the prayer of Jesus when he instructed the Christians in Corinth about their interactions with non-believers. “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people; not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-10)

Have we removed ourselves from the world? If so, we’ve essentially decided to lay down and die. Of course, we've made sure to surround ourselves in a cocoon of safety, but that doesn't make us any less dead.

I've always wanted to host a "Burn Our Christian Crap" party to protest all the Christian Materialism we've bought into. There's something strangely beautiful about seeing swarms of Christian young people throwing their Carman Cd's and "Lord's Gymn" T-shirts into a giant bonfire behind the Church dumpster.

Whether or not we decide to box up our "Jesus Junk" and toss into the flames, the truth is that we still need to repent from taking ourselves out of the world we were intended to live in.

It’s time to awaken from our slumber and burst out of our Christian bubble. The world needs us to live out the transformational power of the Gospel right in front of their eyes.

We are not called to escape the World and its evil. We are supposed to be in the World, living open lives of faith before all Men so that they may see our good works and believe.

"Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." - (John 20:21)

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." - JESUS (Matthew 5:16)



Caleb DeVolld said...

Keith -
Thank you for your post. I can see the authenticity and movement of the Spirit working through this post. One thing I'm becoming more joyful in is fellowship/friendship with disciples who aren't afraid to open up. To discuss truths that apply to ourselves. It's all for growth and maturity. And your post on our isolation efforts as Christians is all too real in this world.
And it's sad.
Part of the reason that we continue in this can also result from the fact that disciples hanging out with sinners also want to feel uppity, better-than-thou, and they don't want any other Christians to "catch them in the act."
I want His kingdom to come and His will to be done. Which means that we all embrace and love each other, and we embrace and support another disciple as he eats with sinners, talks with them, and loves them.

Alan said...

Can we have the correct answers to the 'quiz', please just in case some of us (I blush at this point!) are not sure.....
Thanks for the post, every church should have a bonfire (bad books are not confined to Ephesus)..

Keith Giles said...

ALAN: Here's why each of those questions should be answered "False":

1- The Bible does not tell us taht Eve at an "apple" because it wasn't the fruit of an apple tree. It was the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

2- If you search the story of Jonah in the book of Judges you'll see that nowhere does it tell us that Samson was a large, muscular man. In fact, it's more consistent with the scriptures that he was a normal-size jewish man and this explains why the Philistines were pulling their hair out (ahem) to figure out the secret of his strength. Trust me, if Samson looked like Arnold Swarzennegger they wouldn't be asking what the secret of his strength was.

3- Again, our Christian mythology says Jonah was swallowed by a "Whale" but the scriptures actually tell us that "God prepared a great fish" to swallow Jonah. I believe that this was a special fish created by God for the express purpose of keeping Jonah alive for 3 days without digesting him. At any rate, it's not a whale, it's a "great fish".

4- According to Ezekiel, God tells us that the "Sin of Sodom" was that she was "arrogant, overfed and unconcerned for the poor around her" and so God "did away with them as you have seen." (Ezekiel 16:49)