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7 Obstacles To Genuine Christianity

Why do we have very few genuine Christians? Why do we have countries which are populated mostly by Christians and yet their crime rate and human rights abuses are also one of the highest in the world?

This is because there are so many obstacles to the making of genuine Christians. I mention 7 in this article.

When people are on the process of spiritual awakening they can see more clearly these obstacles to genuine Christianity. When they are spiritually awakened, they try to get rid of these obstacles. This is because they have that uneasiness and spiritual hunger for genuine spirituality. As we experience these signs of a spiritual awakening we wake up spiritually and face these obstacles with courage and summon the strength to get rid of them.

The first obstacle is something that was done a long time ago but whose effect has gone down through the centuries reaching us and we do not know for how long this obstacle will still oppose genuine Christianity. This obstacle is the decree of the Roman emperor Theodosius promulgated on February 27, 380 making Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire, thus outlawing all other religions.

Because of this decree thousands upon hundreds of thousands of people became Christians without really knowing what Christianity was. In other words the Church was infiltrated, nay inundated, by nominal Christians. This situation persists today.

The second obstacle was the abandonment of the catechumenate, the process lasting for 3 years whereby adults were educated in the Christian faith before baptism. This was compounded by the baptism of infants. There would have been no problem even with infant baptism if the catechumenate was faithfully followed. But it was not so. People were baptized who did not know what they were going into and infants grew up without being educated in the Christian faith. The result has been the increase in the number of nominal Christians.

Today there is a program of catechumenate for adults and some kind of post-baptismal catechumenate but the genuine catechumenate producing genuine Christians is no longer implemented.

The third obstacle is the idea being floated around that to be a Christian all you need to do is to be a good person in your respective church. If you believe in the teaching of your church and you follow its ordinances and rituals, then you are a Christian. Crusades upon crusades have been conducted to disabuse people of this idea, but this idea persists among the members of the churches and even among non-members of Christian churches.

The fourth obstacle is the idea also being floated around that all you need to be a Christian is to be baptized. This is especially common among Catholics. They think that by having their babies baptized they have been turned into Christians. This is a misunderstanding of the ex opere operato (literally "from the work having been worked") doctrine of the Catholic Church. This doctrine states that if a sacrament is validly administered then it effects what it is supposed to effect, even if the one who administers the sacrament is a great sinner. When we apply this to baptism, it means that if the baptism is validly administered, then the effect of the sacrament is there, the grace of God is given. But it does not mean that by the mere fact of baptism the one baptized is a genuine Christian. It only means that the grace of baptism is given to the one baptized.

The fifth obstacle to genuine Christianity is related to the one mentioned above. It is the preoccupation of Christian leaders with the externals like church building, church attendance, paintings, sculptures, shrines, etc. The time devoted to these things takes them away from the time to be devoted to the essentials of Christianity: living the life of Christ, preaching what he has done, teaching his character and attitudes, etc.

The sixth obstacle is the neglect of the spiritual life. This is partly due to the fact that most people still think that the human being is composed of body and soul only. They do not think of the spirit as an essential component of the human person. They think that the soul and the spirit are the same. When you do not think that the human person has also a spirit you will not care about the spirit, since you think it is non-existing or is the same as the soul.

The seventh obstacle to genuine Christianity is the imposition of one’s interpretation of Scripture on others. Teachers of the Bible forget that the Scripture is rich in meanings and cannot be exhausted. So, different churches are built on different interpretations of the Scriptures. This is an obstacle to genuine Christianity because it gives the impression that Christians cannot agree or cannot be tolerant on certain points of the Scripture. Christianity then becomes a following of this or that interpretation of Scripture rather than of living the life Christ, which is what genuine Christianity is.

These obstacles continue to oppose genuine Christianity. Until when? We do not know. But until these obstacles are gotten rid of we will continue to have very few genuine Christians.

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