Having been involved in Christian ministry for almost ten years, I have talked with many people who had questions about Christianity and Christian beliefs. For one reason or another, they could no longer accept what they had always been told were the “correct” Christian beliefs. They didn’t want to reject Christianity; they just felt that what they had been told about Christianity didn’t make sense.
These people had nowhere to turn. If they asked their questions at their church, whether in a Sunday School class, a Bible study, or personally to their pastor, they were made to feel like they were somehow wrong for even having the questions. If they went outside their church, to Christian authors, speakers, and televangelists, they didn’t get their questions answered. They heard the same old thing, just in different words and packaged a different way.
And of course, they would always run into the type of Christian we are all familiar with—the person who believes they understand it all, the person who believes they have all the answers and that all their answers are right.
And so their questions remained unanswered. Sometimes, these people would continue going to church, continue going just to go, but their questions still gnawed inside them. That was sad. They would continue struggling with their questions, no longer able to believe what they had been told and torn up inside because they didn’t know what to believe.
Sometimes these people would simply drop out of Christianity. It’s not that they rejected God; it’s that they didn’t find God in the versions of Christianity they had been exposed to. They didn’t know where else to look, so they just dropped out. But their questions remained, and the gnawing inside them, that was looking for answers, remained.
I think there are many people in churches who don’t really believe the beliefs that are promoted at that church. They have questions and are struggling with those questions. They continue to go to that church for one reason or another, but they don’t really believe the beliefs that church promotes. They’re looking for something they haven’t found there. But they continue to go.
Or, maybe they start going from one church to another. I’ve known a lot of people like that, people who constantly rotate to whatever church is the trendy church at the moment, the church that everyone’s talking about.
And then there are the people who just drop out.
For all these people, church is not helping them in their lives as Christians. They’re not getting their questions answered. They’re not finding the understanding they need. They’re not finding God.
Church and organized Christianity have failed people. I include in that what people call “traditional” church and also what people call “contemporary” church. After all, contemporary churches are, at heart, nothing more than just traditional churches that have changed their outer appearance in an effort to attract people. They have the soft rock music, the light shows, and the hip pastors, but underneath it all is the same tired old version of Christianity.
And that’s the problem—the same tired old version of Christianity. That’s what people are really rejecting. That’s what people are really finding cannot help them in their search for answers, in their search for God.
I like to tell people, “Rejecting the same tired old version of Christianity, rejecting what you’ve been told about Christianity, does not mean you are rejecting Christianity.”
The same tired old version of Christianity, no matter how it’s packaged, is not Christianity. It’s just one version of Christianity. There are others.
It is possible to start at the beginning and come up with something much different, a completely different way of looking at Christianity.