10 Types of Toxic Church Members

toxic christians

6. The “culture is evil and scary” Christian. 

“Culture is evil and scary” toxic Christians find insanely creative ways to escape the world. It’s evil and scary, after all.

These Christians act more like the Old Testament Israelites than the New Testament apostles. They are the chosen people. And, like the Israelites, engaging in the world’s affairs is a slippery slope. Engagement might start harmlessly. But before you know it, you are worshipping their gods and stuff. So these Christians stay off the slope altogether.

This would be a great idea if not for…Jesus. You see, when Jesus showed up, [H]e changed what it meant to be holy and righteous. Disengaging was no longer the way God showed himself to the world. Engagement became the new way.

“Culture is evil and scary” Christians believe the goal for their Christian life is to play defense, hoping to arrive on their death bed with no scratches, scrapes, or wounds. But the opposite is actually true. The goal is to engage the culture, praying that God’s love, joy, and peace will seep through your words and actions onto those around you. In the process, you might get wounded.

But remember this. Jesus was wounded. And [H]is wounds gave you life.

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7. The “I love Jesus but not the church” Christian. 

These toxic Christians believe faith is best worked out in isolation. It’s disengagement of a different kind. A more dangerous kind. Isolation is Satan’s secret weapon.

You see, Jesus spent most of his ministry around people. These people weren’t perfect. They struggled to “get it.” They fought over worldly stuff like having the highest place in Jesus’s kingdom. And eventually, all of Jesus’s friends left him. Abandoned him. But Jesus knew his friends would hurt him and he invested in them anyway.

Look, I get it. Some of you have been hurt by the church. I have been hurt [by] the church. There is nothing easy about plugging into a community of believers. They will hurt you and disappoint you. But nothing worth having comes easy. You are selfish. I am selfish. And community releases us from the drug of self-addiction.

“I love Jesus, but not the church” Christians will only become a fraction of the person God created them to be. And they will only show the world a fraction of who God is.

8. The “God doesn’t work that way” Christian.

Cut and dry. In or out. Up or down. Black or white. All of these describe “God doesn’t work that way” Christians. Their view of God is limited to their perspective, their experiences, and their understanding of the Bible. These Christians claim to have faith in God, but they won’t believe anything they haven’t seen with their own eyes.

These toxic Christians believe God is all-powerful. But if something isn’t logical, they are skeptical.

The mystery of God and how you become a [Christian] are compressed into five easy steps.

Intimacy and love can’t be manufactured. They can only be experienced. And here’s why this is a problem based on personal experience as “God doesn’t work that way” Christian. You can follow the right steps, figure out all the formulas, and still be a long ways from God. Light years, in fact. Intimacy and love aren’t formulas. They can’t be manufactured. They can only be experienced.

While these Christians conjure up formulas for God, I believe [H]e is saying, “Look up. Look around. Get out of the box. Experience my greatness. Stand in awe of my unending power and unfailing love. Fall in love with me and stop falling in love with some churchy formulas.”

9. The “loves to pick a fight” Christian.

These toxic Christians show up anytime someone mocks God or challenges their theology. Social media. The local coffee shop. Wherever. I promise, sometimes I think, “Were you hiding behind my bookshelf during that conversation? How did you even know I said that?”

These Christianity believe they are the morality police. They use their knowledge of the Bible as a weapon to beat down all the theologically misinformed Christians. They are aggressive. They are obnoxious, and they usually have a temper shorter than your average Oompa-Loompa.

These Christians are toxic because they believe winning an argument and pointing someone to God are the same thing. But it’s interesting. Jesus wasn’t interested in winning arguments during his ministry. He was [OK] with people not understanding [H]is purpose or [H]is relationship with God.

Winning arguments might give you satisfaction. But it doesn’t bring God glory. Jesus was more concerned with love. Winning arguments might give you satisfaction. But it doesn’t bring God glory.

Frank Powell
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Devoted follower of Christ, college/young adult minister, husband to @tiffanipowell, dad to Noah and Micah, avid blogger/writer, sports fan. You can follow him on twitter and read more of his blogs here!