2. The “back row” Christian.
In college, I sat in the back row of every class. I didn’t want the teacher to call on me. I wanted to spend my time browsing the internet or adjusting my fantasy football roster. I wasn’t interested in the material. To be honest, I only showed up for the class because I thought it would help me at the end of the semester.
Such is the case with “back row” Christians. They are mildly interested in God, at best. Being a “back row” Christian isn’t about where you sit in a pew or chair during worship. Some “back row” Christians are “front row” worshippers. This is about where God sits in proximity to your life.
Most “back row” toxic Christians keep God at arm’s length. They are driven by money, titles, and achievements. And they don’t want God interfering with their pursuits. Unless, of course, God wants to help them reach their goals.
“Back row” Christians are toxic because they wear the tag “Christian,” but their lives aren’t informed by God. And because the church is a body, these Christians force the church to carry their weight. What fat is to the body, these Christians are to the church. And the more “fat” that churches [carry] around, the less effective they become in moving towards a broken world and impacting an ever-changing culture.
3. The “world is caving in” Christian.
It’s not ironic that most of these toxic Christians’ favorite channel ends in “news.” Fox News. CNN News. ABC News. They are paralyzed by fear. ISIS is taking over the world. Global warming will eventually wipe out humanity. The zombie apocalypse is imminent. And every major story, especially the tragic ones, are conspiracy theories.
Never mind that the God these Christians serve claims to be sovereign over all the apparent threats to humanity. Never mind that the phrase “do not fear” appears hundreds of times in the Bible.
These Christians allow fear to dominate their [lives], and this drowns out any opportunity for the world to see God. When fear is present, God is absent. Fear is self-reliance. It is a declaration that God isn’t enough. He’s not big enough, strong enough, or knowledgeable enough.
This is why fear has no place in the church. It’s the opposite of faith and therefore the antithesis of God.
4. The “follow the rules” Christian.
“Follow the rules” Christians believe their actions make them cool with God. They condemn other Christians for their lack of morality. And secretly they are okay with Christians falling on their face because it makes “follow the rules” Christians feel better about themselves.
Eventually, the weight of earning God’s love will crush your joy. There’s no room for authenticity or transparency. There’s no room for gray areas. And eventually, the weight of trying to earn a relationship with God crushes their joy and destroys their intimacy with God.
Let’s face it. When someone is only happy with you when you follow the rules, it’s impossible to grow in intimacy with that person. When that person is God, the only thing that will please him is perfection. And you screwed that up this morning before you got out of bed.
The message of the cross is “You can’t earn it!” God knows you suck at life. Maybe that’s too harsh. God knows you suck at perfection. But Jesus is awesome at perfection, and because of Jesus, God is cool with you. What the world needs to see is your weakness, not your perfection. It is in your weakness God will show the world his perfection.
It is in our weakness God shows the world his perfection.
5. The “political” Christian.
Every church has a few of these toxic Christians. They equate the decisions of our government with the direction of the church. They believe how you vote determines whether you love God. And their conversations usually include a rant about the President [and] the most recent government decision.
It’s really quite fascinating how these Christians work politics into every conversation. Just think if “political” Christians channeled their creative energy and passion about politics towards Jesus?
Can you say, “Revival”?