Misconceptions About Christianity


Today’s guest blog comes from Tony Liston, pastor of Adventure Christian Community, in Davenport Iowa. For a midwest guy, he’s actually pretty cool.

In answer to the questions, “What are the top ten misconceptions about Christianity?” and, “What is our response to those things?” Tony writes…

1. That hate is part of Christianity.

2. That elitism is a part of Christianity.

3. That arrogance is part of Christianity.

4. That superstition is a part of Christianity.

5. That whining is a part of Christianity.

6. That specific secular political affiliations are a part of Christianity.

7. That hypocrisy is a part of Christianity.

8. That irrelevance is a part of Christianity.

9. That dress codes and old music are a part of Christianity.

10. That Christianity is about church on Sunday morning.

“I’m sorry we’ve given you those impressions.”

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10 Responses to Misconceptions About Christianity

  1. joannmski says:

    So it’s “Tony’s Christian Adventure”? Already I love the place.

    I guess I’d add unforgiveness.

  2. Perry says:

    Not to be the cynic, but I would argue that these traits are a part of Christianity. We recognize stereotypes because we see the truth in them.

    We’d like to separate “Christianity” from its adherents, but it is difficult to do so in most people’s perceptions.

    To avoid most of these negative stereotypes, Christians can start by realizing they know a lot less than they think they do. This may lead to humility, and a falling of the dominoes (negative traits) that follow.

    Many of us are far too cocksure of our theology and our grasp of the truth. I feel safe in saying we are all a lot more ignorant than we think we are.

  3. Perry says:

    Oh, and on number 9, I wish we HAD more “old music” in Christianity.

    I say “PFFFFFTTT!” on the new tradition, Christian Pop in church masquerading as “worship.” Indeed!

    “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. Christians must realize that in order to distinguish ourselves from mind-controlling cults, we cannot follow their example. That is, we are responsible for our own learning and continual questioning of our beliefs and assumptions. We can’t simply believe things because we’ve been taught to believe them our whole lives. We need to keep renewing our minds, Berean style, and follow the truth wherever it leads.

  4. Charley says:

    This post has been removed by the author.

  5. Charley says:

    Oh, and on number 9, I wish we HAD more “old music” in Christianity.

    Not to be MORE of a cynic, but…

    it’s not about the age of the music. It’s about whether a song has something worth saying and is well written.

    As someone who has spent over 4 decades involved in all kinds of church music, I can say authoritatively that for every meaningless “new” worship song (and there are plenty), there’s at least one (and probably more) meaningless “old” song. As long as there are people who don’t grasp the concept of worship writing worship music, there will be music that in church that makes us scratch our heads and say, “Are we actually singing this crap?”

    The point of Tony’s comment about “old music” isn’t really about the music itself. It has to do with the attitude of Christians who arrive at their favorite era in Christian worship, and think that’s all there ever should be. As though somehow the 70’s or 50’s or 40’s, or a particular century, represents the ultimate in worship style. That’s nonsense. (I realize that’s not what you’re saying, but it’s my blog and I’ll rant if I want to!)

    Again, I hate songs and worship styles that are shallow. But shallow worship isn’t a new development; it’s been around since Old Testament times… “These people come near to me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” (Is. 29:13)

    Relevance to culture isn’t optional – it’s absolutely necessary. God came to us, and spoke in a way we could understand. The church should do no less. Music is a tool, and it does strike at an emotional level. What we do with it can either hurt or help.

    So…. PFFFFTTT back at ya!!!

  6. Perry says:

    I see your point. Church can be relevant to culture in certain areas, but whose culture? That is, with the myriad of ethnicities and tastes out there, no one culture is ever truly represented or catered to.

    I agree that there is likely meaningless worship music throughtout the ages. But, I would say that to treat “worship” as a separate event in church (“First we’ll worship, then have the message”) marginalizes worship and forces us to a “style” that ultimately we either love, tolerate, or loathe. The idea of “worship” has to extend far, far beyond the musical portion of the service into our every moment.

    I guess I am saying that the whole church “model” is overdue for renewal, and a rethinking of why we do things the way we do.

  7. Anonymous says:

    As much as “the world” criticizes Christians for the behaviors listed, isn’t it interesting the implied high standards we’re expected to live up to? Jesus may not be for you, but by gosh, if you’re going to follow Him, be prepared to be practically perfect. Is it just the Holy Spirit confirming in them that indeed Jesus is in fact superior, so to identify with His name there is a higher demand to “keep in line” ?? Deep down, I think “the world” (meaning non-Christians) really wants us to “do our job” (especially the unconditional loving part!) because then maybe all we say about Jesus is really true. Of-course when we get involved in politics or causes, suddenly they want to see our “Christ in action” cease! Like it or not, more is expected from us, certainly because of Whose we are,but because of all the little eyeballs watching our every move. As much as there are those just waiting to see us Christians mess up, I think there are those just as desperate to see us get it right, so that there’s hope for them,too. I like this list of misconceptions. I would gently offer that as far as “hypocrisy”,”elitism”,”arrogance”hate” and “whining” go, these negative traits are not exclusively found in Christianity, but in all other faiths, too. Its just that Christians seem to be the only ones accused! 🙂
    XOXOXO
    Cindy 🙂

  8. Charley says:

    Whose culture?

    Great question. The days are gone when we can use a “one size fits all” mentality.

    The time is gone when there’s an average South Bay person, or a typical Orange County person, etc. This is why I believe in picking a segment of the population and aiming my attention with them. If others relate and want to be part of it, great. If not, there are many great churches doing things differently.

    It’s a fine line, because Worship is never about us; it’s supposed to be about the one we’re worshiping. So the concept of having a favorite “worship style” seems flawed from the outset.

    However… if I want to lead a group in an experience where they spend time worshiping God – not just the music part, but an entire service for that purpose – it only seems right that I find a way to lead them in a way that makes sense to them. Then, the choice is up to them but at least I’ve presented it to them in an understandable, relatable way.

    BUT (and this is a big “but”)…. songs that use filler sections like “na na na na na na etc.” should be banned.

  9. Charley says:

    Oh yeah, by the way… I got so busy making other comments that I forgot to mention how much I agree with your statement…

    “We like to separate Christianity from its adherents, but it is difficult to do in most people’s perceptions.” (and this was my favorite part of what you said).

    That’s very insightful. How many times have we heard (or said), “Don’t follow me; follow Christ,” or words to that effect?

    The problem is, if I’m considering becoming a Muslim, while I should spend time poring over the Quran, my REAL influences will come from those who practice the religion. I’ll have to sort out the extremists from those who say “Islam is a peaceful religion.” And it will be hard to believe that, because the actions and statements of the extremists outweigh those who “Islam is a peaceful religion.”

    My point – people who don’t have faith in Christ MAY in some cases objectively study the tenets of the faith for themselves and try to make objective conclusions, but their conclusions will often be influenced, positively or negatively, by the behaviors of those already claiming to be in the faith.–>

  10. uccoalition says:

    I think that we all forget that power for anything doesn’t lie in us but in Christ, in God himself. We are sinners, and while we were sinners Christ died for us. It is sorrowful how we as christians fight amoungst ourselves. The truth is I am nobody and niether are any of you… And who are we to say or judge what God would accept as Worship music. I would have to agree it is the message that really counts. The reason that list even exists is because many of us act like those things, why? Because even though I don’t want to do this yet still I do the things I don’t want to do. Seek ye all first the kingdom of God and his rightousness…. Hey Visit me I would love to hear what you have to say about some of my recent posts. LORD BLESS

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