“I’m not called to judge”
This is personally one of the most frustrating things I often hear from Christians. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Bible explicitly says that it’s the duty of the Christian to judge other Christians, not non-Christians though (1 Cor. 5:12). If my brother or sister in Christ does something wrong, then I need to lovingly let them know that they are doing something wrong and help them to do what is right (Eph. 1:15). Matthew 7:1 (“Do not judge”) means to not judge self-righteously or hypocritically. It doesn’t mean to never judge. This is clear by actually reading the entire section (Matt. 7:1-6), but we’re lazy so we don’t read further.
“Tattoos, drinking alcohol, or listening to secular music is unbiblical”
These are all common things that people have said, but they’re all untrue. Addressing these untrue statements should need more than what I will quickly write here, but, nonetheless, here we go:
The Old Testament says (Let. 19:28) to not have markings on your skin (i.e. tattoos). This seems pretty straightforward. However, God issued this command to distinguish the Israelites from the surrounding pagans. Pagans were doing detestable things like sacrificing their children and they also had tattoos that were prominent. God never wanted anyone to mistake an Israelite for a pagan, so He didn’t even want them to look similar. This is why God didn’t want the Israelites to have tattoos.
Fast forward to today, the issue is different. In the OT, God’s focus was Israel. God even called Israel His “treasured possession” (Duet. 7:6). To be clear, God did intend the Israelites to be a light to the Gentiles (Isa. 49:6) so that some of the Gentiles would come to know Yahweh, but God definitely focused in on Israel as part of His salvation plan for the world. With Jesus coming on the scene, God’s focus expanded to the Jew and the Gentile (John 3:16). No longer is God heavily concerned with people knowing who is a Jew and who is a Gentiles. The moral laws in the OT Law still remain, but not the dietary or appearance laws. Lastly, nowhere in the NT does it say that tattoos are to be avoided.
Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11), Paul tells Timothy to drink alcohol (1 Timothy 5:23), and Jesus and His disciples were drinking alcohol at the Last Supper (Luke 22:7-23). These are just a few examples to disprove this weak argument. To be clear, the Bible says to not be “drunk with wine” (Eph. 5:18). The purpose of this is clear, since have you ever seen someone drunk? They look ridiculous and act stupid. The Christian can’t like that since we’re Christ representatives here on earth (2 Cor. 5:20). We need to honor Christ by representing Him well.
Listening to secular music:
There is no universal answer to this issue. You might feel that listening to secular music isn’t good for you, while someone else might decide that it’s ok for them. Why? Listening to secular music isn’t a sin. I can’t back that up with a Bible verse because the Bible doesn’t address the issue at all. It’s been said, “Be silent when the Bible is silent”. This is good to remember. Don’t try to use Bible verses out of context to say something that the text doesn’t say. To be clear, Christians shouldn’t listen to songs about raping and degrading women and other things like that. However, not all secular music is that repulsive.
“What Would Jesus Do?”
This is one of the most popular sayings in all of Christianity. Why do I have a problem with this? Aren’t Christians called to be more Christ-like? Plain and simple, Jesus’ mission is different than our mission. Jesus was sent into the world to testify to the Father (John 18:37), atone for our sins (Matthew 2:21), and be resurrected (Mark 8:31). What the Father would have Jesus do would be different than what Jesus would have us to do. Instead of asking what Jesus would do, ask what would Jesus have me do.
There were times when Jesus was confronted by people and He spoke to them as the Son of God. We won’t ever be able to do that. What Jesus would do is different than what we should do. This are similar, since loving others like Jesus and things of that sort is what Jesus did and what we should do, but asking this question on specific instances wouldn’t be the best thing to do. We’re followers of Jesus, not Jesus.
“Speaking in tongues means you’re more in tuned with the Holy Spirit”
I’ve been told this in various ways from good-hearted Christians. People who say this aren’t only unbiblical, but they’re also annoying beyond belief. Speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12), not the greatest spiritual gift. Don’t get it confused. This is short, but it had to be in this list.
“I hate all things secular”
If you constantly bad mouth secular music and secular movies and if you only live within your Christian bubble, then how do you expect to communicate to anybody who aren’t Christians? The Apostle Paul wasn’t scared to quote from the pagan poets (1 Cor. 15:33). Jesus stepped outside His Christian bubble and went places and did things other believers, at that time, wouldn’t do (Mark 2:13-17). I’m not saying to enrich yourself in the “things of the world”, but listening to Justin Beiber or watching “Modern Family” won’t ruin your faith and could be used to start a conversation with a non-believer. Stop living in your church and expecting non-believers to come strolling in on sunday. Step outside your little bubble and go to the people. Jesus didn’t wait in buildings for others to come to Him, instead Jesus went to them. Get outside your Christian bubble.
“If you’re a Christian, you can’t believe in abortion or support gay marriage”
Before you start throwing stones at me, let me explain this one. To be clear, abortion and gay marriage are both unbiblical. I’m personally against both and feel all Christians should be. However, to be a Christian isn’t about having all your beliefs be the right ones. You can have false beliefs (i.e. speaking in tongues means you’re more in tuned with the Holy Spirit, having tattoos and listening to secular music is un-biblical, etc.) and still be a Christian. This is not to say that it’s ever okay to have these incorrect beliefs. You should have a spiritual mentor in your life to help correct these beliefs. I’ve had incorrect beliefs before and I’m not prideful enough to think that I have completely perfect beliefs now. However, I’m still a Christian.
To be a Christian is about having faith in Jesus, not about having perfect beliefs about secondary issues. There are core tenets of Christianity that you have to believe to be a Christian (i.e. Jesus is God, God exists within a Trinity, you don’t earn your salvation, the Bible is the Word of God, etc.). However, believing that abortion and gay marriage are wrong isn’t a core tenet of Christianity. We, as imperfect people, won’t have perfect beliefs on this earth.
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