Leaving the Orbit of Planet Christian

I’ve made a list.

It was going to be 25 Random Things I No Longer Believe, but 25 wasn’t enough. Now it is 50 Not-So-Random Things I No Longer Believe In The Same Way That You Might Believe In Them.*

  1. Apostolic Networks
  2. Biblical Womanhood
  3. Boycotts
  4. Building Campaigns
  5. Christian Bumper stickers
  6. Christian Music
  7. Christian Nation
  8. Christian T-shirts
  9. Christian Television
  10. Christian Worldview
  11. Church Discipline
  12. Church Government
  13. Church Membership
  14. Contemporary Worship
  15. Covering
  16. Culture War
  17. Daily Devotions
  18. Elders’ Meetings
  19. End-time Prophecy
  20. End-time Move of God
  21. Eternal Torment
  22. Five-fold Offices
  23. Gender Roles
  24. Hell
  25. Inerrancy
  26. Jezebel Spirit
  27. Joel’s Army
  28. Joshua Generation
  29. Judgment
  30. Leadership Conferences
  31. Marketplace Ministry
  32. Mega-church
  33. Moral Majority
  34. Quiet Time
  35. Rapture
  36. Religious Right
  37. Revival
  38. Secular?
  39. Seeker-friendly
  40. Sola Anything
  41. Spiritual Gifts Tests
  42. The Antichrist
  43. The Elect
  44. The Mark of the Beast
  45. The Next Level
  46. The Prayer of Jabez
  47. Tithing
  48. Total Depravity
  49. Women’s Ministry
  50. Wrath of God

So there!  :)

When I look at this list, it seems very normal and rational not to believe these things.  However, I must remind myself that denial of almost anything on this list will get me labeled a heretic in most Christian circles.

  • Disclaimer: For some of the items on the list, I may believe in a variation of the concept, but I don’t believe in the term in the way it is typically used in religious circles. In other words, most likely when you use that term, I inwardly flinch.

Questions, additions, comments?

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37 thoughts on “Leaving the Orbit of Planet Christian

  1. Most Christian circles???

    Not sure which circles you move in, but mine don’t go for many of these at all. I don’t even know what 1, 20, 22, 26-28, 31, 45 could possibly even mean. And I don’t think I’m alone.

    Is it because I’m not from the USA?

  2. One of my favorite “Christian” t-shirts I wear to church simply says, “Another Christian t-shirt.” I like the Zen-like irony.

    And yes, I don’t believe in most of the above either, either at all or at least not in the way the others in my church do. So you’re not alone.

  3. Intrigued, I went through your list and thought about it. What do I honestly think? I came up with six categories.

    The first category is “Huh?? Wha??” I don’t know aht these things are:
    Apostolic Networks
    End-time Move of God
    Five-fold Offices
    Jezebel Spirit
    Joel’s Army
    Joshua Generation
    The Next Level

    The second category is “harmless, let them have their fun”
    Christian Bumper stickers
    Christian T-shirts
    Christian Television

    The third category is “yes, I believe this as strongly as I ever did”
    Inerrancy

    The fourth category is “Christian? This human behavior across the board”
    Boycotts (yuck)
    Culture War (a crying shame; endemic across the planet)
    Leadership Conferences (personally I think leaders need a lot of training — CEOs, politicians of every variety, managers, etcetera)
    Moral Majority (can’t escape this one. Every culture has this)
    Religious Right (ditto. Think Taliban)
    Seeker-friendly (advertizing. MTV.)
    Women’s Ministry — (Suffrage, I believe in that. Every disenfranchised subgroup within a society longs for this)

    The fifth category is “I believe in these things, but not in the way they are typically understood”
    Christian Music
    Christian Worldview
    Contemporary Worship
    Daily Devotions
    Elders’ Meetings
    End-time Prophecy
    Hell
    Judgment
    Marketplace Ministry
    Quiet Time
    Rapture
    Revival
    Sola Anything
    The Antichrist
    The Elect
    The Mark of the Beast
    Total Depravity
    Wrath of God

    The fifth category is “Yeah, I’m not down with these anymore; what I think is too different than what is taught”
    Biblical Womanhood
    Building Campaigns
    Christian Nation
    Church Discipline
    Church Government
    Church Membership
    Covering
    Gender Roles
    Mega-church
    Secular?
    Spiritual Gifts Tests
    The Prayer of Jabez
    Tithing

    An interesting exercize, thanks Grace!

  4. Paul,
    While some of these are probably American expressions, the ones you listed are charismatic phrases and would likely be common in charismatic circles in the UK, Australia, etc. also.

    jim,
    So you wear “witness wear” to church? :)

    joanne,
    Interesting categories. I think there are a few main categories here, charismatic, conservative fundamentalism, christian culture, and church organization stuff. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Barb,

    Yes, I do, but I am witnessing to the converted. :o) For ex., another t-shirt I wear reads, “Jesus loves you – but then again, He loves everyone.” I also wear the Naked Pastor’s “Narrow Way” shirt.

  6. Let’s see … according to Michael Patton’s comparrison charts for fundamentalists, evangelicals, emerging and emergents; you are exploded out of the fundamentalist, blown past the evangelical, and touched down somewhere in the emerging chart. The emergants are so far out there they barely have an anchor to hold them to any type of orthodoxy.

    I think you’re in a pretty good place :)

  7. Thought provoking list…

    But you must appreciate the Christian T-shirt bumper sticker category especially those that are very tounge-in-cheek anti-mushy, sarcastic versions of the more common saccherine sweet types you choose to avoid…

    I know there are many good versions out there. And most can be found on anti-religious websites. I want to get a few for my kids & my car just to rattle the conservative Christian conscience they will come in contact with…

    Yup. My sense of humor ’emerged’ along with my theological perspectives. Must be a direct correlation doncha think? :0

  8. Great list, Grace! I still believe in hell and the wrath of God (but like you said, not necessarily in the way it’s usually talked about).

    I’ve been thinking what else could be added from my own journey:

    51. The four spiritual laws
    52. The Jesus video, the Passion of the Christ and other “evangelistic” gimmicks
    53. Binding territorial spirits
    54. Bible study booklets
    55. Jesus Marches
    56. Signature drives and protest letters to “”rescue” Christian values and legislation
    57. Heresy hunters
    58. The next big thing
    59. Leadership principles that will guarantee success
    60. Church growth

    I’m sure we could easily end up with a hundred or more, the longer I think about it.

  9. Good additions Josh. I thought about including territorial warfare. I’m pretty sure we could come up with at least 10 that start as The Next…..

  10. I’ve heard most of the terms, but don’t really know what a third to half of them really are. Perhaps in a subsequent post you could give us a short definition of each.

    Question – Did you ever believe some of this stuff? Which ones?

    It might be interesting for each of us to come up with a list of things commonly accepted by at least some churches that we never believed, and that we no longer believe – such as all Christians vote Republican – I never believed that one, but it does bring back memories of a dear saintly great aunt who many years ago stood in front of a political sign in the window of a local business, placed there by the “Christian” owner of the business.

    The sign advertised some Republican candidate and included a note to the effect of “The Christian Choice”. My aunt said “If I could afford to pay for the window, I’d put a brick through it”. My dad, standing nearby, asked her if she was afraid of going to jail for doing such a thing. She replied “I’d consider it an honor.”

  11. How ’bout most of the words in my Christian Buzzword Bingo? (Web page version here: http://dullroar.com/CBB/ChristianBuzzwordBingo.html, and for those of you who like iGoogle as a home page, getcher Google Gadget version here: http://www.google.com/ig/adde?synd=open&source=ggyp&moduleurl=hosting.gmodules.com/ig/gadgets/file/111734773851131888432/christian-buzzword-bingo.xml). Here is the current list of Christian buzzwords used to generate the bingo pages:

    Acculturation, Acolyte, Acts 29 Church, Altar, Altar Call, Amen, Anabaptist, Apologetics, Apostle, Apostle’s Creed, Apostolic, Apostolic Succession, Arminian, Assimilation, Atonement, Attractional Church, Authentic, Authentic Church, Believer’s Baptism, Bishop, Blessings, Brethren, By Faith Alone, By Grace Alone, By Scripture Alone, Called, Calling, Catechism, Catholic, CCM, Charismatic, Christ-Follower, Christian Growth, Christian Lifestyle, Christological, Church, Church Fathers, Church Growth, Church Health, Church Multiplication, Church Planting, Clergy, Clerical, Close Communion, Community, Complementarianism, Confessional Church, Confirmands, Confirmation, Congregants, Conservative, Consubstantiation, Contemplative Prayer, Contemporary, Context, Contextualization, Conversion, Convicted, Creation, Credal Church, Creed, Curate, Damnation, Damned, Denomination, Deacon, Devil, Devotion, Devotional, Die to Our Old Selves, Disciple, Discipling, Divine Office, Doctrine, Doxology, Ecclesia, Ecclesiology, Ecumenism, Eikon, Elder, Emergent, Emerging, Eschatology, Eucharist, Evangelical, Evangelism, Evil, Exalted, Exegesis, Fallen, Fellowship, Free Will, Full Immersion, Fully Devoted Follower of Christ, Gifting, God’s People, God’s Temple, Gospel, Grace, Great Commandment, Great Commission, Heaven, Heavenly, Hell, Heresy, Heterodoxy, Hierarchal, High Church, Homiletics, Homily, House Church, Hypostatic Union, Iconography, Idol, Idolatry, Immaculate Conception, Incarnational, Infant Baptism, Intentional Living, Intercession, Intercessionary Prayer, Jesus-Follower, John 3:16, Judgment, Justification, Kingdom of God, Laity, Lay Person, Leadership, Lectionary, Legalism, Liberal, Liberation Theology, Liturgical Church, Liturgy, Lost Souls, Low Church, Mediation, Mega-church, Metanarrative, Minister, Ministry, Missiological, Mission, Missional, Missional Church, Mission Statement, Modern, Monastic, Narrative, Narthex, Natural Church Development, Neo-orthodoxy, New Testament Church, Nicene Creed, ‘Normal’ Christian, Ordained, Ordination, Orthodoxy, ‘Outer Courts’ Christian, Outreach, Pastor, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Counseling, Penal Substitution, Pentacost, Pentacostal, Pharisee, Postapostolic, Postapostolic Christians, Post-modern, Praise Team, Praxis, Prayer, Prayer Warrior, Prayerful, Preacher, Presbyter, Predestination, Pretribulation Dispensationalism, Priesthood of All Believers, Proof-Texting, Prophecy, Prophet, Prosperity Gospel, Psalm 23, Psalmody, Purpose Driven, Purpose Statement, Quiverful, ‘Real’ Christian, ‘Red Letter’ Christian, Redemption, Reformed, Relevance, Righteousness, Sacerdotal, Sacramental, Sacred, Sacred Space, Sacrifice, Sacrilegious, Sacristy, Sacrosanct, Saint, Sainthood, Salvation, Sanctification, Satan, Scripture interprets Scripture, Seeker-Sensitive, Self-Interpreting, Sermon, Servant Heart, Shun, Simple Church, Sin, Small Church, Social Gospel, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura, Soteriology, Spiritual Maturity, Spiritual Warfare, Strayed, Substitutionary Atonement, Sustainable, Syncretism, Synoptic Gospels, Systematic Theology, Tetragrammaton, Theologian, Theology, Theophany, ‘The’ Church, The Fall, Tithe, Traditional, Transubstantiation, Triune, Uncatechized, Unchurched, Universalism, Unscriptural, VBS, Verger, Vestments, Vestry, Virgin Birth, Visioning, Vocation, What does that look like to you?, Witnessing, Works, Worship Leader, Worship Team, Your Body is a Temple, Youth Minister, Youth Program

  12. Paul,
    While some of these are probably American expressions, the ones you listed are charismatic phrases and would likely be common in charismatic circles in the UK, Australia, etc. also.

    Thanks for that… I suppose I really thought that was the case, but I reacted to the ‘most Christian circles’ phrase. There are Christian circles that don’t go in for half the stuff you mentioned.

  13. Grace,
    I have been reading your blogpage for awhile now and really love it. What you share really resonates with my heart. I have a question that is running through my mind and heart as of late. I am single and do not know if I will be married during my life here on Earth. I truly want to be, but just…well…haven’t met my spouse.

    Having left the institution, and God restructuring my paradigm and beliefs, I am re-thinking whether there will be marriage or married couples in Heaven.

    My heart fully wishes/hopes there will be.

    I have had Scripture quoted to me of Jesus saying there will not be.

    What are your thoughts? If you could, would you mind doing a blogpost about this topic?

    -Anonymous

  14. Okay, I was wrong about 10 things starting with The Next… :)

    Great story Sam.
    Interesting point too. There are some on the list that I never believed in, some that I was always unsure of, and others that I believed in fully.

    Anon,
    I’m not sure that I know enough to post about such a thing, but off the top of my head, my initial thought is that there will be a fullness of communion and intimacy with both God and one another that will surpass the understanding of relationships as we currently experience them.

    paul,
    I should have been more specific to say the Christians in my life. You’re right that there are plenty of christians who don’t buy into all of this.

    The title was a bit tongue in cheek alluding to the fact that sometimes in conversations with my christian friends, it feels like I’m living on another planet.

    While we could each make our lists of differences, the bottom line is that we find unity through our fellowship in Christ.

  15. downloads from the spirit
    moves of god
    jesus is my homeboy
    essential truth
    personal relationships with (you fill in the blank)
    peace beyond understanding
    optional discipleship

    I’m forgetting one more, I know it…

  16. While we could each make our lists of differences, the bottom line is that we find unity through our fellowship in Christ.

    I fully agree. I was in a fundamentalist church for the first few years after I became a Christian, and when I exited 20+ years ago I certainly felt like I was on a different planet. Still do!

  17. So, what do you believe now?

    :-)

    Number 26 always, sadly, makes me laugh a little. Such a quick charge, to end an argument with some feeling of superiority.

    What’s weird is that there’s no male version of it, even though male leaders were by far the most destructive and unfaithful in Scripture. But, charging someone with an Ahab or Saul spirit might prompt a poor mention of you in a #18.

    Oh, and I don’t believe in singles groups, special tax status, Christian cruises, bibles with red words, dressing up for church, singing five spiritual songs then breaking the mood with a silly joke, and probably a whole lot of other stuff, that I’m not about to list because I did that a while back and people stopped talking to me.

    I do believe in inerrancy, but don’t believe in Inerrancy because I’ve never met someone who holds to Inerrancy who actually practices that they believe the whole Bible is inerrant. The difference is mostly that an Inerrantist just ignores the parts they don’t really believe, or they interpret those parts to mean what they want them to mean. Sort of ruins the point for me. I think the Bible is true as a whole document, but that too has gotten me into trouble by Inerrantists who don’t want to hear Bible verses quoted that they don’t agree with.

  18. jason,
    Great list. At our CLB it was downloads from the “apostle.” cringe

    Paul, some planets are good to leave. :)

    patrick,
    There’s always the Absalom spirit. As to bringing up the Ahab or Saul thing in an elders’ meeting, you’re right, especially if they’re the ones leading the meeting.

    Great additions in your next paragraph. Some things we have to either keep to ourselves or blog anonymously.

    Your final paragraph pretty much explains my thoughts about inerrancy. Those who use the term persistently and insistently do sort of ruin the point.

  19. I know this would be a huge undertaking, but what about a short post for each of the items on this list? Maybe no more than a paragraph (unless you want to write more.) Such descriptions might actually be very helpful to me, and probably others, too.

  20. I’m completely offended with this list. You must have completely gone secular on us, and obviously you are in rebellion against the apostolic covering and the five-fold ministry. How are we going to win the culture war, go to the next level, and enter into the end-time move of God with this kind of talk? What is happening in your quiet times, that you would create a list like this?

    I hope you encounter a personal revival, so that you can avoid missing the rapture, escaping eternal torment and the wrath of God.

    Sometimes I can’t help myself. Sorry. :)

    Like most, there are some on this list I relate to more than others. But I have one to add to “The Next…”

    “Taking the city”

  21. ryan,
    I’ll think about it. If I do it, they’ll be opinion pieces.
    (I guess all of my posts are opinion pieces)

    jeff,
    That was a brilliant use of the terminology! It is obvious you are well-versed in Christianese. :)

  22. …the next:

    generation
    revival
    100 years
    step
    manifestation
    big thing
    paradigm
    battle ground
    age
    vision
    controversy
    revolution
    word
    rebuke
    blessing
    uber-prophet/prophecy
    uber-apostle
    Lakeland
    Bentley
    fiasco
    debacle
    embarrassment
    joke, etc. :(

  23. I’m disappointed you took my Christian Buzzword Bingo list of words out of the comments. I thought there were some good candidates in there. Although this comment list is giving me some good ones to update that page with, too.

  24. Good job Joseph! My favorite, “the next uber-prophetic/apostolic Lakelandish Bentleyesque fiasco/debacle.”

    jim,
    I didn’t remove it. It just hit the spam filter because of the multiple links. I forgot about your buzzword list. That would have been really helpful in preparing this list. Assimilation? Ew.

  25. Oh! I just remembered my wee bit of satire I did a while back, that hits on the Christian t-shirt, music, bumperstickers thing.

    Evangelism for Shy People.

    And the one that hits on singleness in churches:

    Christian Escort ministries.

    This last one is fun because I got attacked on another blog for being entirely out of bounds with this: “Mr. Oden ought to be ashamed of himself, and I hope he is, if he’s even capable of feeling shame, which I doubt.” I learned why stuff like that has to be labeled satire. Would hate for the “Solomon spirit” of concubine support to be attached on me again.

  26. ken:

    Yeah, I was being a ‘bit’ facetious on the last ones. But I have heard of those others in the former prophetic circles & used to get dizzy in…

    Add to those the next; outpouring, revelation, realm, stratagem, dimension, domain…

    Or the next spirit-territory-area to conquer, take authority over, bind, render powerless…etc.

    All of it a funny preoccupation with ultra-spiritual concepts & concerns & how the movers/shakers can influence these unseen realms. It takes an over-inflated sense of empowerment to believe in it enough to particpate in their accepted forms of spiritual warfare, binding/loosing, territorial spirits, generational curses, etc. I wonder if this preoccupation with the unseen sfuff really the smartest form of counter-intelligence the devil has come with so far to render the participants truly impotent regarding earthly matters…

    Sheesh…

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