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Almost Christian

"Almost Christian" -- for the faithful believer, being called an "almost Christian" should be troubling. But that's the term created by Kenda Creasy Dean, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, to describe the understanding of Christianity many of today's youth are learning in our churches. She notes that they hold to the tenets that "God loves you and wants you to be happy." They believe, "Be nice to other people and pray if you get into trouble." She calls the religion they ascribe to a "cult of niceness."

The problem, according to Dean, is that while these youth believe in God, they don't believe in Christian doctrine. Dean says, "The problem is that it's an incredibly selfish way to look at faith. It means that God is out there to make me happy." Absent of an understanding of Christian doctrine and the scriptures, these youth learn to view God as a deity to enhance their own personal happiness. Absent of being schooled in doctrine and church history, they have no comprehension of the parallel dynamic of being happy, and that is being engaged in Christian service.

- From The Immediate Word sermon resource for September 12, 2010