The way the world sees Christian stereotypes is perpetuated by pop culture, old traditions and even social media. If I mention Ned Flanders, you know what I mean.
From the world’s perspective, Christians are often seen as the out of touch neighbors who never sin but love to judge those who do. Now, to be fair, sometimes these stereotypes contain a kernel of truth, but I would argue that most of the truth is present only in small pockets of Christianity and not in the majority of believers practicing their faith.
These popular stereotypes are teased out in The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, a new faith-based rom-com from producer Dallas Jenkins that releases this week in theaters. In it, Gavin Stone, played by actor Brett Dalton, is a washed up childhood celebrity who’s forced to return home and do community service. Not happy cleaning toilets, Stone decides to try out for the part of Jesus in the church’s passion play. He also falls for the play’s director, Kelly Richardson, played by Anjelah Johnson (you might remember her as Bon Qui Qui from Mad TV). With little church experience, Stone plays out what he believes to be the role of a “good” Christian and finds himself in some hilarious situations.
In the end, Stone discovers his paper-thin version of Christianity isn’t accurate, but he also finds out he has much more in common with church-goers than he ever expected. It’s a beautiful picture of grace with a lot of laughs in between—not to mention heart.
Once Stone gets past the cliched stereotypes of Christianity, the heart of the gospel becomes authentic. In many ways, this is what we all need to do. That being said, here are 10 popular stereotypes about Christians we should all agree are wrong, and it’s only when we get past these that we find an authentic faith in the church today.
10 Christian Stereotypes the World Believes
1. To be a good Christian, you have to dress the part
Ever pretended to be a Christian so you can get out of community service and impress a pastor’s daughter? Gavin has. Here’s his advice on church etiquette:
Posted by The Resurrection of Gavin Stone on Friday, January 13, 2017
Let’s be clear, there is NO dress code for Christians. Now there are many places in Scripture that call for modesty, but nothing about rationing out khakis and button-down shirts (for men) or denim jumpers and long doily shawls (for women). Following Christ is much more about what’s on the inside than out.
2. Christians are all Bible-thumpers
When you walk into a church, it’s likely that no one will accost you with prophetic Scripture or yell at you to repent on the spot. Most Christians are normal people who love Jesus and are trying to live out his command to love others. There are some Bible-thumpers out there who just want to shout you down, but those are few and far between. Most Christians are normal, rational people.
3. Christians just want to convert you
To be honest, every true Christian has a desire to see more people come to faith in Jesus, but that’s not the only driver for inviting new people to church. Real Christians actually care about you as a person. And they’re not that different from you at all. In most cases, Christians want to learn more about you, to be friends and to point you in the direction of Jesus in a casual way. But mostly, they just want to be a good friend.
4. Christians are all Republicans
We just had an election, and by the looks of social media, one could make the conclusion that ALL Christians are forced to be Republicans. However, being a Christian isn’t about following an earthly political party, but a heavenly one. All Christians are FOR King Jesus, but when it comes to national politics, there’s a lot of freedom.
5. Christian stereotypes say they think they are perfect
This could be the most dangerous one. Christians are no different than any other human being, aside from their faith in Christ. Christians still blow it, hide their sin at times and manipulate others. Someone once said being a Christian doesn’t make you perfect, just forgiven. And it’s true.