I often find myself chuckling hysterically when evangelical pastors stand in the pulpit and say, “It is not a sin to drink beer, just lite beer.” I love the brutal honesty and i have to admit… i get a little frustrated when people get so bent out of shape about something that God created. In moderation, it is absolutely fine and can be part of enjoying life. Now i will admit, i have tried beer before… i do not like it. Some people just aren’t beer drinkers. From what i hear, light beer just doesn’t taste as good. In my mind it is like diet dr. pepper. I love dr. pepper! It is the greatest thing to ever happen to soft drinks. Diet Dr. Pepper is not and never will be as good as the original. It is just not going to happen. The commercials try to tell you that Diet Dr. Pepper belongs on the dessert aisle. They are liars! Diet Dr. Pepper is nothing like the original
We are living in a time, especially in our culture, that says “I want it and I want it now”. So we have to do what comes easily. We can often find ourselves taking short cuts on tasks and they are not as good as they could be. This reminds me of when my three roommates and I moved into our house. My roommate acquired an entertainment center to put in our living room. He neglected to tell us how huge it was for one thing… and another one of the sides was in pieces. So what did my roommate do? He glued it together. He didn’t screw it so that no matter what it would hold… He glued it. We like to joke about that around the house but the reality is he didn’t equip the entertainment center to last.
Many authors in the Christian realm call this Christianity-lite. When we take the gospel and make it easier than it was originally intended to be. I mean, do you think Jesus was kidding when he said, “Unless you hate your whole family and even your own life you cannot be my disciple.” He also said, “I didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword.” The problem with us is we do not like to think of Jesus in these terms. They are uncomfortable! It makes us reconsider what we have learned about Jesus in Sunday School. We like to think of Jesus that loves all, saves all, heals all, and would never let anyone go to hell.
Christianity was never meant to be simple. It was never meant to fit in our box that we have formed. The question that it boils down to for me is, “Is what i believe transformative?” Am I different because of what i believe? This teaching against Christianity Lite is not a new thing. It has been a reoccurring them sense the time of Paul to Augustine to Luther to Bonhoeffer and all the way to John MacArthur. I think i prefer Bonhoeffers terminology over Christianity-lite. Bonhoeffer described this kind of untransformative faith as “cheap grace”. We take the happy-go-lucky parts of Christ and leave out the hard sayings.
When it comes down to it, what kind of faith do you want? Do you want a cheap faith or a joyful faith. The outcome will be the type of grace you have chosen. If you choose cheap grace then you are doomed to live a life of superficiality. However, if you choose not to ignore the hard sayings of Christ and walk in obedience… it will cost you your life. But…”he who loses his life shall find it”. Glory to Christ in the church!