Shouldn’t Christianity Make a Bigger Difference?

“There are two ways,  one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between these two ways.”

So begins my favorite non-canonical writing from the early church, The Didache, (pronounced Dee-Dah-Kay). If you have never read it, find some time to.  It is well worth it.  You can find The Didache here.

This opening phrase has been occupying my mind of late.  Like an Ipod stuck on repeat,  playing the same song over and over again.  I wake up in the middle of the night to find it still echoing in my mind. The part that grabs me is the ending phrase, “…and there is a great difference between these two ways.”

Is there really?

One could argue that the entire history of God’s people in both the OT and the NT illustrate the truth that there are two basic categories of how to navigate life:  a life with God and a life without Him.  Jesus described this life in two ways, using the metaphor of a wide gate or a small gate, a broad road and a narrow one.  Each of which led to a different destination: life or destruction. I believe this.  You may believe it too.  In fact, most of the Christian church believes it.  Therein lies the disconnect for me.

This Sunday, my pastor said that over 25% of the worlds churches reside in North America.  You would think that would make a significant impact on our way of life.  But it doesn’t seem to.

If we believe that there are two ways, that there is a great difference between these two ways, why does the Christianity lived out in the US seem to be similar to the non-Christian life? In other words, why don’t we see a sharp, clearly distinguishable difference between the two?  There seems to be a disconnect between what we mentally assent to and how we actually live.  Does that bother anyone else?

I know it bothers those who we would identify as being on the way that leads to death.  They often look at us, and can see the blatant double standards we live by.  They call it hypocrisy, which I think is the wrong word to use. But we get the point.  A hypocrite knows that they are saying one thing and doing another.  It is an intentional fake out.   I think many inside the Church “believe” something and are unaware that what they claim to believe has little impact on how they live.  It’s not intentional.

I am convinced of this one thing:  Those who do not know Christ, should be able to look at Christianity and see a huge difference between Christianity and non-Christianity.  It should be extremely noticeable, because “there is a great difference between the two.”  Is it?

The next line of the Didache defines what the way of life is.   It is all about how we live:

“Now this is the way of life:  First, you shall love God, who made you.  Second, you shall love your neighbor as yourself; but whatever you do not wish to happen to you, do not do to another.”  This way of life is comprised of loving God, and living in a loving way towards those around us.

It may be that those on the outside of the church hear us talk a lot about loving God, but see very little of us acting in a loving way towards everyone else.  I submit this for your consideration:  It is not the worlds fault if they can’t see the difference between how they live and how we live.  It is our fault.

No. Let’s bring this closer to home. It is my fault.  If the people who I live near, work with, hang out with or otherwise share a little of my life with, can not see the difference, that’s on me.  Would you be willing to say that about yourself?  Perhaps if Christ followers began to take Christ’s call to follow Him more seriously, the churches weak testimony to the world would change.

Perhaps that is why this has stuck with me.  Maybe that is the reason I can’t shake it.  Christianity makes a huge difference in the lives of those who authentically embrace it.  Maybe more of us need to do that.  I know I need to.

Thanks for stopping in and listening to me.  Now it is your turn.

Do you think we should see a great difference between the Christian life and the non-christian life?

Do you think people around you see the difference.

Why is this a problem?  What can we do about it?

For More on this topic Read our article “What Does God Want from the Human Race?

About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on May 9, 2012, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, The Christian Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m struggling to recall if it was Piper or Platt, but one stated these words. “There is something wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.” I’m pretty confident that much of my life makes sense to the unbelievers I’m surrounded by daily. You are very right to suggest something is wrong. A good friend and brother of mine is known for saying, “so goes the church… so goes the world.” I think the simplicity of that statement escapes us much too often. When we are who we are called to be, the world is radically impacted. When we are not, we are instead influenced by the world. I think the evidence shows what direction we’re going. Thanks for always keeping us challenged by the truth, good friend.


    • Hi Mike,

      I like the way you state that. I think that would also apply to the models we use for corporate church gatherings. Unbelievers should be able to walk into our gatherings and see and hear that Christianity is totally different than the life path they are on. All too many times, I fear, they expereince just the opposite. At least in trivial things. “Christians like good coffee, and I like good coffee. They like rock music, and I like rock music. Christians like to learn how to live a better life, and I do to. Christians don’t want to spend too much of their Sunday here, and either do I. All in all, we are basically the same.”

      I have to admit, it is much easier to point this stuff out than to live it out!


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