The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
CBN.com - Dumb.
Lacking in knowledge.
No common sense.
If my pastor said it than it must be true.
How many times have you come home from church on a Sunday morning pulling your hair out because a fellow Christian brother or sister has said something theologically incorrect? Furthermore, beyond the apparent lack of rational thought that went into the statement, several others have gone along with it, accepting it as truth. Perhaps it was a Sunday School teacher, the choir director, or a deacon. Worse still, maybe it was your pastor.
Based on the aforementioned paragraph, there is reason to believe that several people in your church are on a personal quest to not only destroy your personal walk of faith but to destroy the work of His Kingdom. Perhaps that person is you.
Mark Atteberry, a pastor in central Florida, believes there is an excellent chance that good Christian people like you and me are doing dumb things and making erroneous statements in the name of God without even realizing it. Such misgivings has compelled Atteberry to write a fun but spiritually convicting book entitled, “The 10 Dumbest Things Christians Do” (Thomas Nelson).
“I don’t think Christians are dumber than anybody else,” said Atteberry, in a recent interview with CBN.com. “I think unbelievers do dumb things too. But the problem is when Christians do dumb things in the context of their life and ministry, incredible damage is done. The purpose of this book is to figure out what we can do to become more effective as believers.”
So where does the dumbness all begin? Is it the pastor in the pulpit spewing his own opinion masquerading as “biblical truth” or could it be parishioners in the pew misinterpreting the “infallible” works of various Christian publications? In his book, Atteberry writes that Christians tend to do dumb things because they don’t realize that what they are saying is in error.
“I really believe that dumbness comes from the fact that these things are ingrained in the culture of the church and we just grow up with them,” Atteberry explained. “Our kids grow up observing these things and just thinking they are normal. So many of these dumb things involve religious activities and we just have the assumption that if it is a religious activity than it must be good. That is not necessarily true.”
At its core, the book suggests three basic reasons why Christians do dumb things. First, there is often no reference in the Bible that thwarts what they are saying. Second, what they are doing often involves some sort of religious activity that makes it easy to accept. And finally, Christians tend to say or do things that we have done for years within the four walls of the church without anyone demanding a special church meeting to discuss our sin.
Without spoiling the untold nuggets of truth found throughout the book’s 210 pages, Atteberry has agreed to share his thoughts on two of the 10 dumbest things Christians do.
#2 Winning People to the Church Rather Than to the Lord
This is my favorite chapter of the book. If you ever wondered why people drop out of church, there are many reasons. But I think one of the biggest is because people come into the church with glowing expectations. Their expectations are way too high. If you listen to the average Christian when he witnesses to his friends, he will say something like this: “We have a great pastor. You will love our pastor. Oh, our music is so fantastic. We have this great worship team. We have a small group that meets on Wednesday nights. We have all become so close. We play softball together on Friday nights. You will love our church. Won’t you come to our church?”
So, we get people all fired up about the church. They are excited about the church. The problem is if somewhere along in there we don’t tell them about Jesus they will get the idea that the church is going to be their source of happiness. The church is going to be the solution to their problems. The church is going to be the thing missing from their lives. The problem is the church is an imperfect, flawed group of people. So, what happens is new people come in with their hopes and dreams pinned on an imperfect, flawed group of people. Also, somewhere along the line they are going to get their feelings hurt. Unfortunately, we give people the impression that if they just come to church they are going to be happy. The reality is that it is just not true. Jesus saves, not the church. I don’t want people to talk less about the church. I want them to talk more about Jesus.
#4 Speaking Above the Level of Our Knowledge
The world as we know it is filled with misinformation. There are a lot of ideas that are floating around out there that just aren’t true. But because they have been spoken and repeated so many times we just assume that they are true. Christians have a tendency to want to sound spiritual. So, they will launch into some subject that they don’t really know what they are talking about. One of my favorite illustrations is the guy who has never read the book of Revelation but he has read all of the “Left Behind” novels. So, he now believes he is an expert on the Apocalypse. He will give everybody his opinions and tell everyone what is what. Sure, he has read Lahaye and Jenkins but he hasn’t read Jesus Christ. That is very typical of the kinds of things Christians do. The problem is that we as Christians are not in the Word as much as we should be. This is a big challenge for the church in that we do not place enough emphasis on the Word of God. We listen to what other people say and their opinions way too much. What happens is that we draw our conclusions from the stuff of man and not God. So, half the time when we are talking about religion and Christianity we are off the mark.
In II Corinthians 6:3, the apostle Paul said, “We try to live in such a way that no one will be hindered from finding the Lord by the way we act, and so no one can find fault with our ministry.”
This verse establishes the foundation for the entire book. Atteberry’s intention is not to make you angry but to help you understand that what we are doing is sometimes wrong and necessary corrections are needed.
"The Ten Dumbest Things Christians Do” will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It also might make you angry. But hopefully it will encourage you to sit up and discover we can become spiritually smart by becoming more spiritually aware.
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