The documentary by filmmaker Kevin Miller called J.E.S.U.S.A. looks at significant causes of the problem of toxic Christianity in America. Above is the trailer. The documentary is available paid per view through Vimeo. Kevin Miller’s film gives us a historical look at how the movement for nonviolence started by Jesus has become entangled with political power.
What is toxic Christianity? Have you become a Toxic Christian? Fair Question.
Our faith becomes toxic, destructive not only to the culture at large but to Christian’s themselves when we start combining/correlating God’s will with American interests. Jesus inaugurated a New Kingdom, one whose citizens would reject violence, practice a new way of living together that welcomed the least, the last, and the most vulnerable into their community. Christianity begins to decline into sin and become toxic to others when it abandons its mission to be a visible sign of this new kingdom during the old.
Earthly kingdoms like the Roman Empire (and America?) embrace violence and reward ruthlessly crushing one’s enemies. Jesus was completely aware that being a citizen of Rome meant that you supported and benefited from the brutal successes of Roman. This was in no way remotely the same thing as being a citizen of God’s Kingdom!
Many people today are beyond the boiling point, seething, furious, terrified, and shocked. Many people even Christians are becoming more and more radicalized by the day. The Bible has been wrapped in the American Flag and Christ has become its spokesman.
You must be aware there is an exceptionally fine line between righteous indignation and unrighteous anger and a fine line between holy grief and unholy bitterness. It has become painfully clear that many in the American Church today desire to combine (“earthly blessings”) with (“God’s will for us”) as individuals and as a nation. No serious student of God’s Word can accept an unbiblical point of view like that! God’s will for us is not about rewards on earth. St Paul made a point of this when he said, “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
You see the reality is “to gain Christ” will require that we be able to look beyond the immediate circumstances or tragedy of our times and see God at work in the tragedy. A fundamental part of our faith is the understanding where there is suffering, there is our God.
Also toxic to our lives and faith is "identity politics." Politics is no longer about aligning with a specific political party. In our culture today people's political views are combined with their religion, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and social or economic status. As we can see in social media and on the street’s identity politics can bring out the worst in people.
The American church is at a crossroads between faith and politics.
The hypocrisy of the Church and Evangelicals is so bad evangelicals today are often identified with Donald Trump. This is not what Christ world want of our witness.
As Christians who identify with Christ, we know we will not trust everyone, agree with everyone, or work with everyone. Our Lord requires us to remember that they, too, are flesh and blood, people with sin natures, beating hearts, people with family and friends, people with goals and aspirations. Most of them are not Hitler, or evil, so we should not treat them as if they were.
"Show proper respect to everyone" (1 Pet. 2:17). There is nothing wrong with discussing another person's political views if you don't turn into a disrespectful critic. Avoid getting defensive and cutting the other person off and arguing. Your ultimate objective is not to prove the other person wrong but to improve the relationship. If you or them cannot have an objective discussion, then defer.
Use “Common Sense of Facts”. Fact checking is essential in our culture of fake news. There is so much false information everywhere that as Christian’s we can’t afford to believe just anything people tell us. Many of the claims about voter fraud cannot be fact checked. So they are off the table. And sadly many people, many Christian’s have chosen to believe outright lies presented as facts, conspiracy theories with no objective basis in fact. Cults like Qanon and many more have blinded and brainwashed people into evil and lawlessness. Don’t be one of them.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, make sure politics does not overshadow the gospel and doctrinal truths. In so doing, you will keep the main thing the main thing and find more important areas of agreement. you will want to be clear and logical when presenting your positions; while, at the same time, remaining teachable (Phil. 4:5; Js. 3:7).
We as Christians must model admitting mistakes, saying we are sorry, listening to the ones we’ve hurt so we can do better next time. When we do any of these things, we make Christianity less toxic to others and to itself. This is how we will restore the distinction between earthly kingdoms and God’s kingdom and restore Christianity’s reason for be.