Extreme Christianity

Extreme Christianity

No I am not talking about the 90’s in general when everything was ‘extreme’.  I really want to know if Christianity is meant to be extreme.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

— 1 John 3:16-18

This could be taken to an extreme obviously and some people have taken vows of poverty though out history but exactly how much is this supposed to apply?

After coming out of a church that talked, in my opinion, very wrongly about money and after God opened my eyes to the truth on the tithe, I have had to pray, read, and study very carefully about the issues of money because it isn’t as simple just throwing a designated amount in the plate every week and calling it good.  I must listed to God and hear exactly what he wants me to do.

We don’t have to “hear a word from the LORD” to obey the plain words of scripture do we?  And John tells us that if we have world’s goods and see a brother in need and close our hearts the love of God is not abiding in us.  So, does that mean it is a sin to have a savings account?  Probably not.

In John’s time they didn’t know about everyone in the world like we do.  I mean we knew about a tsunami on the other side of the world within minutes.  There simply isn’t a way to be sheltered from the needs of the brethren but maybe that is the point.  We have become a land flooded with consumerism, and is especially rampant in the church.  There are entire schools of theology that basically make the point of Christ a get rich quick scheme.  Even though we are warned over and over in the Bible about that type of thinking, it continues to permeate our culture.  Money is to be a tool for the spreading of God’s kingdom for assisting the poor.

But Paul tells us that:

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

And the proverbs tell us:

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.

It is so easy to take a single aspect to an extreme and money is such and easy place for us to be mislead by our own selfish desires, or by bad teaching.  Remember how Jesus said it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom?  I think it is because money makes it so easy to be secure in yourself and not completely reliant on the LORD.

Of course I am not thinking of these things as being required for salvation, to be clear that is strictly from Christ and his sacrifice alone, but it seems that John is saying this should be the proper reflection of one who has experienced the Love of God.

Any thoughts?

One response to “Extreme Christianity”

  1. While the Bible teaches that God helps the helpless, I don’t take this to mean we must live in poverty to please God and fall in his favour. To me, the teachings of the Bible have never been meant to be taken extremely literal (we are reading transaltions of translations of translations – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_translations – can you imagine how much as been lost and mistated throughout antiquity), rather as lesson we must learn and teach to advise and illustrate the danger in all extremes.

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