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Churchianity and 10 Commonly Accepted Distortions of the Gospel

This past Sunday I preached about the difference between “Christianity” and “churchianity.”  I had so many people come up to me afterward who were intrigued and wanted to hear more that I decided to put a few of my thoughts on paper.

First, here’s a chart that explains more of what I mean.  This is not all-inclusive, and it doesn’t mean that everything in the left column is unimportant.  It just means that we tend to overemphasize certain aspects of our faith under “churchianity” that distort the Gospel and following Jesus.


Church activities


Sit and listen

Go to heaven

Right doctrine


What I get out of it



What we're against













Personal relationship with Jesus

Every day

Be equipped and go

Bring heaven to earth

Right living


What I give to it



What we're for

In churchianity, we make the Christian faith more about a religion than a relationship.  It’s more about rules, rituals, and regulations than living out our faith from day to day.  Now, I’m not one who wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and I believe we do need rituals that point us to Jesus, rules that help guide our steps, and regulations that guard our hearts.  The problem comes when we place more of an emphasis on the scaffolding rather than the structure.  Rituals are scaffolding; relationship with Jesus is the structure. 

As I have observed many Christians within my stream of Christianity (conservative Evangelical), I’ve noticed that we can be disparaging of tradition and anything that smacks of ritualistic faith.  Many do so under the guise of being more “spiritual” and authentic because they don’t get caught up in all the trappings of religion.  What tends to happen, however, is that some believers fail to apply the aspects of the right column in the above chart.  They don’t want rules and rituals, but they’re not willing to be equipped and go, either. 

Following Jesus is not a Sunday-morning experience only.  But in saying that, we need to make sure we’re honestly pursuing Jesus every day of the week.  You might agree that as followers of Jesus, our emphasis should be more on doing than just knowing, but then what are you really doing?  If you agree that Christians should not be consumers, then what are you contributing?  If it’s not just about observing, then in what are you participating?

I give you a call to action. It’s time to learn more in order to serve more.  It’s time to make Sundays a worship and training ground for what happens in your life through the rest of the week.  When you sit, listen and observe, you do so in order to get ready to get up, share and participate.  It’s time to put faith into action, words into obedience, and knowing into doing.

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (James 2:22).

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with