Popular Christian Dichotomies
A dichotomy is defined as (from Wiktionary)
- Division into two; especially, the division of a class into two subclasses opposed to each other by contradiction, as the division of the term man into white and not white.
- conditions perceived as polar extremes or opposites
- an either-or perspective
These are some that I’ve been thinking through:
- (as mentioned) Full-time ministry versus secular work
- Gospel preaching versus social action
- Cultivating the ‘soul’ versus caring for our bodies
- Involvement at church versus involvement in the world
- Church government versus political government
- Supernatural gifts versus ‘natural’ gifts
- Individual salvation versus corporate involvement (what I mean by this is that for a lot of Christians, it’s hard to overcome the idea that salvation is just about ‘me’ and that church is a bit of a secondary thing – i.e. I go to church to help me grow).
- Building the church versus building the Kingdom (probably most Christians would struggle to even get the difference between the two since very few have thought about the relationship between ‘church’ and ‘kingdom’)
- Jesus as Saviour versus Jesus as Lord
- My salvation versus concern for the salvation of others (for many, the only reason I ought to be concerned for the salvation of others is because I don’t want them to go to hell and therefore not to be concerned would be selfish. There doesn’t seem to be an inner logic between me being saved and wanting others to be saved.)
- Church programs versus community programs
- Evangelism versus building friendships (or pre-evangelism)
- Bible teaching versus application
- Heavenly pleasure versus worldly pleasure (and related to this, the place of the arts and music in our Christian worldview)
I’d like your help in identifying others that exist and would love to hear your comments below.
Just to do a bit of cross-promotion, I’ll be addressing these issues and more at a few camps that I’ll be speaking on this year. CCC’s5pm houseparty (June 5-8), CCCBrisbane’s Youth Fellowship Camp (July 10-13), the M5 Anglican churches combined houseparty (Nov 27-29). Get along to one of them and hopefully we can see how the Bible’s perspective on Hope overcomes many (if not all) of these dichotomies.