By Michael Youssef
In recent years, a number of famous pastors and authors have loudly and proudly voiced their departure from orthodox, biblical Christianity.
They believe that by downplaying or eliminating certain Bible passages, doctrines, books of the Bible, and even the entire Old Testament, they can make Christianity more palatable to the twenty-first-century world.
By disemboweling Christianity, they claim to be “saving” it. But does Christianity need saving? Can orthodox, biblical Christianity remain viable in a post-Christian world?
One author suggests that to “save” Christianity, we must toss out everything that makes Christianity Christian. The doctrine of Christ’s divinity must go because it is “contributing to the decline of Christianity.”
We must shed the doctrinal baggage of the Virgin Birth, the concept of “Jesus dying for our sins” (which is “offensive to so many potential Christians”), and the bodily resurrection of Jesus (which this author compares to “the Emperor’s invisible clothes”).
Another popular author blogged, “What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.”
But if we change the substance of Christianity in order to make “converts,” is it still Christianity? If our “Christianity” no longer proclaims salvation by faith in Christ, what are we converting people to?
In their misguided zeal to “save” Christianity, these leaders have left us with a Jesus who was born out of wedlock, had delusions of grandeur (claiming to be the Son of God), died for no reason, and is still dead and buried to this day.
As the apostle Paul warned in 2 Timothy 3:5, such teachers have “a form of godliness” while “denying its power.” Paul adds, “Have nothing to do with such people.”
God did not call us to revise the gospel to make it more palatable to the world. Rather, He calls us to believe it and proclaim it faithfully.It’s not our job as Christians to “save” Christianity. God did not call us to revise the gospel to make it more palatable to the world. Rather, He calls us to believe it and proclaim it faithfully.
Christianity is here to stay. We have the Lord’s Word on it. He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). We know that Christ founded His church on a solid rock—and the gates of hell can never prevail against it.
But the Lord also sounded a note of warning: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
This is a sobering reminder that we need to continually take stock of our faith, to make sure that when the Lord returns, He will find us faithfully proclaiming His uncompromised truth.
Let me suggest five ways we can know that Christianity is here to stay in our hearts, in our churches, in our culture, and in our world. We find these insights in the epistle of Jude.
1. Contend for biblical, orthodox Christian faith.
Jude 1:3 tells us to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” We don’t need a new and improved Christian faith.
We don’t need a revised and updated Christian faith. We need the message of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus.
2. Insulate yourself against the corrupting influences of the world.
Jude writes, “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, ‘In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires’” (Jude 1:17-18).
One of Billy Graham’s friends during his early ministry was newspaperman Charles Templeton. When Templeton turned his back on the Christian faith and became an apostle for atheism, he argued with Graham and tried to turn the young evangelist away from Christ.
Graham finally had to state irrevocably, “Thus saith the Lord,” and put an end to doubting.
Beware of those who have fallen away from Christianity and want to drag you down with them.
3. Be wary and skeptical of false doctrines that divide the church.
Jude went on to say, “These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit” (Jude 1:19).
Bathe your mind in the Word of God and test every teaching against Scripture.
Guard yourself against those who offer some “new” twist on Christianity. Don’t accept any new gospel as a substitute for the true gospel.
4. Dive deeply into your relationship with God.
How? Jude wrote, “By building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.” (Jude 1:20).
Spend time alone with God in prayer and the Word. Never let anything take the place of an intimate relationship with God.
5. Insulate yourself from falsehood by boldly, aggressively sharing the truth with others.
Be a witness to those outside the church and an encourager to those inside the church.
Jude tells us, “Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23).
Is your heart moved by the countless lost souls in this world? Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to tell them, “God loves you and sent his Son to die for you.”
The more you share God’s love with others, the less likely you’ll be to fall away from the truth.
By practicing these five principles from Jude, we can ensure that Christianity is here to stay in our hearts—and in our world.
MICHAEL YOUSSEF (@MichaelAYoussef), is the founder and president of Leading The Way and the founding pastor of The Church of The Apostles in Atlanta. His latest book is Saving Christianity?: The Danger in Undermining Our Faith—and What You Can Do about It.