Christianity Works Only in Its Most Radical Form

By Dudley Hall Published on September 17, 2018

After 30 excruciating minutes of expressing deep frustration with his personal life, Peter confessed, “I gave up on Christianity during college days. It just didn’t work.” He went on to describe how hard he tried to stay inside the moral boundaries as outlined in the teaching of the Christian church he attended, but never could. In an effort to be authentic, he decided to abandon the standards and live like most of his friends.

Peter is an example of the thousands of former churchgoers who now identify on religious surveys as “nones.” The now have no affiliation with a church. Some wear that identity as a badge of freedom from religion.

A Broken Form of Christianity

It is now coming to light that the form of Christianity that has been promoted for several generations is not the form that Jesus taught and lived. From the Roman Catholic’s sex abuse scandal to the slowly dying Protestant congregations, to the garish consumer-driven spectacle affecting Evangelicalism, the evidence seems to suggest that something isn’t working.

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Disciples like those who brought transformation to cultures in the early days of the church are few today — and rarely noticed by the church culture. The model disciple today seems more interested in gaining and maintaining relevance to the culture, rather than offering an alternative to the steady march toward meaninglessness.

The agenda of secular society is gaining momentum while we Christians try not to be perceived as contrarians. We must not offend. We must not confront. We must lose or ignore our convictions. We must change our core beliefs. All the while, millions are fraught with life-destroying addictions, dysfunctional relationships, and twisted identities.

Only Full Abandonment Satisfies

When the popular brand of Christianity eliminated the power of transformation from its core, multitudes were doomed to live in their spiritually defective condition with nothing stronger than willpower to confront their afflictions. It is no wonder we have normalized behavior that is prohibited by both Scripture and common sense. If we can’t change, we must adapt. We now call that progress.

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Early Christianity offered radically changed lives, as evidenced by the apostle Paul’s comments:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

— 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

The early church was not a gathering of good people trying to be better. They were captivated by the One who was raised from the dead. They had been transformed by him.

But radical Christianity is not just for the extreme outcast of society. Even regular church attendees are often beset by disappointment with their level of spirituality. They are discovering that a partial buy-in cheats the seeker. Any hold-back denies the bounty of grace. Only full abandonment to God’s love satisfies the yearning of the human soul, which was designed to be loved fully.

Living By the Spirit

Jesus describes a life far beyond external standards and man’s ability to achieve them. He spoke of forgiving your enemies. Turning your cheek to insults. Eliminating hatred, anger, lust, greed and vengeance. He described disciples as lights in the darkness, salt in society, and houses built on a foundation that no storm can topple.

He commanded people to do things they couldn’t so he could do those things for them and through them. “Stretch forth your hand,” he commanded a man with a withered hand. “Lazarus come forth,” he said to a dead man. Later, his apostles followed suit, giving instructions that can only be obeyed by those born of the same Spirit that raised Jesus from death. “Love without hypocrisy,” “outdo one another in showing honor,” “bless those who persecute you,” “live in harmony with one another.” The implication is that when a Christian does these things, it is coming out of his new life — the one he shares with Jesus by means of the indwelling Spirit.

Those who are born of the Spirit are infused with a radical love that demonstrates a radical alternative kingdom.

These displays of love have death-defying power in them. This kind of love cannot be defeated. It annihilates hate. It exterminates fear. It will not stop at the edge of human hardness. It will still be reigning when all the ideologies of history lie bankrupt in the pit of shame.

It Took a Radical Act of God to Redeem Us

The form of Christianity that settles for theological propositions, transcendent principles, altruistic projects, and moralistic practices doesn’t work!

It took a radical act of God to redeem us. It required a costly death, a miraculous resurrection, and a glorious ascension. Nothing short of that would have solved our problem. The radical act of grace demands a radical response of faith. God’s grace toward us does not produce a half-hearted moralist who is trying to get better. Those who are born of the Spirit are infused with a radical love that demonstrates a radical alternative kingdom.

Our world desperately needs the hope that comes from the One who offers his life now and forever. Those who abandon themselves to that hope find that it works.

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  • Robb Sadler

    This post has links injected in the bottom of the article. You may want to edit those out…

  • Ray

    I think it’s time to do church radically different. When the church first started, they didn’t go to a large meeting once a week, hear a long sermon and then all go home. I can’t believe that was church life for them.

    Instead, didn’t they all pray together? Didn’t they hear each other’s prayers? Didn’t they take care of one another? Didn’t they know each other’s needs? Were they not smaller groups? Didn’t they meet together often during the week? Maybe they met every day for all I know. Didn’t somebody speak in tongues and interpret, and didn’t they hear this by more than one person, even up to three people doing this? I’m assuming someone ran the meeting, but that there was also invitation to participate in prayers, if someone had a song to sing, a testimony to give, a word, a doctrine, something the Lord was showing them, or helping them through. I’m assuming they walked through things together, and also went out into the community, and that new people came to the meetings to learn about Christ, and all this wasn’t about hearing a long sermon and sitting quietly in pews, but it wasn’t a free for all either. I’m assuming there was leadership, and that there was order, and that there was liberty in the Spirit of God.

    • Yes, try going the actual Catholic Church if you want to see how the Faith is meant to be as God created it. One cannot expect to find much in a heresy created by the German government to control the masses by delusion of self-worship by way of government worship.

      • Mell

        Or better yet attend a Bible-teaching, Christ-centered, protestant church where there is less focus on ceremony/ritual and more focus on the spiritual needs of it’s members and the lost souls in the mission field – outside the church walls.

        • you mean attend a pagan self-worshipping ritual in an industrial, commercial, or municipal building? Where you assume your ego is equitable to God and that the Bible can be used to self-justify everything?

          No

  • Ken Abbott

    If “most radical” means “true,” fine.

    We should reject the pragmatic test as a proof of Christianity. That has things backwards.

    • pragmatism was a German philosophical sect that promoted the idea of only accepting reality as it benefited you, and then twisting the rest to benefit you.

  • Trilemma

    Sounds like a radical Christian baker would have no problem baking a wedding cake for a same sex couple.

    • Radical as in a Christian who takes things seriously, not “radical” in the sense satanic subversives like alinsky use it.

      Also, how could they be Christian and openly support satanic rituals?

      • Trilemma

        Dudley Hall said, “The form of Christianity that settles for theological propositions, transcendent principles, altruistic projects, and moralistic practices doesn’t work!”

        Your form of Christianity doesn’t work.

        • Because some heretic that I never heard of and certianly the Church has never heard of said so, therefore the Church is wrong?

          • Trilemma

            Seriously? You’ve never heard of Dudley Hall?

          • No. Is he concerned with “world revolution” like yourself?

          • Trilemma

            I don’t know if Dudley Hall is concerned with “world revolution” but he holds a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has written books and articles. Perhaps you would be interested in reading something he’s written.

          • Oh, no, I don’t deal with revolutionaries or heretics, especially when they come recommended by satanists.

          • Kathy

            Keep on helping your church to dig it’s grave. That you would so harshly belittle a man with Christ-like character is reprehensible. Take a lesson from him, you need it desperately.

          • An outright and avowed satanist and marxist subversive has “Christ-like character?

            Or is it the tielhard clone that the avowed satanist and marxist subversive is advocating for that you are speaking of here?

            trilemma’s quote of this one says that Theology, the Transcendent, Charity, and Morals don’t work. What is left after that rejection? Clearly he hates any thinking and anything that points you outside of your ego-drama.

            Reminds me of this by Venerable Fulton Sheen:

            “The modern world, which denies personal guilt and admits only social crimes, which has no place for personal repentance but only public reforms, has divorced Christ from His Cross; the Bridegroom and Bride have been pulled apart. What God hath joined together, men have torn asunder. As a result, to the left is the Cross; to the right is Christ. Each has awaited new partners who will pick them up in a kind of second and adulterous union. Communism comes along and picks up the meaningless Cross; Western post-Christian civilization chooses the unscarred Christ.

            Communism has chosen the Cross in the sense that it has brought back to an egotistic world a sense of discipline, self-abnegation, surrender, hard work, study, and dedication to supra-individual goals. But the Cross without Christ is sacrifice without love. Hence, Communism has produced a society that is authoritarian, cruel, oppressive of human freedom, filled with concentration camps, firing squads, and brain-washings.

            The Western post-Christian civilization has picked up the Christ without His Cross. But a Christ without a sacrifice that reconciles the world to God is a cheap, feminized, colourless, itinerant preacher who deserves to be popular for His great Sermon on the Mount, but also merits unpopularity for what He said about His Divinity on the one hand, and divorce, judgment, and hell on the other. This sentimental Christ is patched together with a thousand commonplaces, sustained sometimes by academic etymologists who cannot see the Word for the letters, or distorted beyond personal recognition by a dogmatic principle that anything which is Divine must necessarily be a myth. Without His Cross, He becomes nothing more than a sultry precursor of democracy or a humanitarian who taught brotherhood without tears.”

          • Trilemma

            How did I misrepresent the author?

          • Try reading my post.

          • Trilemma

            I read your post several times. How did I misrepresent the author?

          • you tried to misrepresent his call for good works to mean doing “radical” (aka communist) works, in this case supporting satanic rituals. Utterly demonic.

          • Trilemma

            You seem to be stuck in your theological propositions and moralistic practices. That’s why your form of Christianity doesn’t work and will drive people away to become nones.

          • Now what does that mean? That theology and morals turn people into communists?

            No, what turns weak people into communists is the lack of transcendent language. People no longer understand personal guilt and then fixate on social issues that are dictated to them by the lust for power.

          • Kathy

            Right, I didn’t make that clear….it was Dudley I was referring to, However, Tri has often been much more civil than many others on this site, sometimes including myself.

          • By “civil,” do you mean something else?

          • Kathy

            I often don’t agree with Trilemma, even concerning the cake baking referenced in this thread, but don’t recall him/her ever viciously insulting others in order to get his/her point across.

            Did you happen to read Dudley’s last article “Watch that Vending Machine”? May clear up another misconception you have about us.

          • The subversive always puts on an air of civility to cover evil. Seems you fall for any snake you see.

          • Kathy

            No, I don’t “fall for any snake I see”. I said I often disagree with Tri, but that person is made in God’s image like the rest of us, so intentionally insulting them is essentially blaspheming God. His/her thoughts and opinions do not change my beliefs. However, if you or I say you can never agree or understand someone else because of our conflicting beliefs, we are just close-minded and bigoted. I can actually agree with you occasionally. haha Done with this thread.

          • you do as long as they are against the Church, as your posts show.

          • Qnon

            You are wrong. People like you is why the Catholic church is failing and why you are more satanic because you place heavy burdens on the people.

          • I am wrong because I stand up for the truth and reason?

          • Qnon

            You only think you do.

          • Do you have an argument?

          • Kathy

            Thank you for defending Dudley, one of the most insightful and thoughtful writers on this site. Always enjoy and learn from his articles.

        • Kevin Carr

          So, are Christians to support things that God approves of or not?

          • Trilemma

            Christians are free to support things God approves of.

          • But you spend your days pushing for sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance.

    • Sumerian King

      Trilemma: How do you support your logic of a “radical” Christian baker doing something that is opposed to his or her faith, and God’s word? Realistically, it should be the opposite.

      • Trilemma

        Opposed to God’s word? Where in the Bible does it say a baker can’t make a cake for a same sex wedding?

        Mr. Hall is talking about Christians doing acts of love that annihilate hate. If a Christian baker refuses to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple and sends them away empty handed, does that couple feel loved or hated? If the couple sues then it gets in the news and everyone involved gets death threats. Is hate being annihilated? No, hate is growing and thriving.

        What if instead the baker said to the same sex couple, “I believe what you’re doing is wrong and I believe making a wedding cake for a same sex wedding is wrong. But I’m going to make for you the very best cake that I can because I don’t want you to leave this bakery thinking I don’t love you.” Now hate is annihilated.

        • Sumerian King

          “Where in the Bible does it say a baker can’t make a cake for a same sex wedding?”

          Well, nowhere, of course, firstly because of the infinite derivations of circumstances related to one constant, in this case, a gay marriage (e.g., a baker making a cake, a wedding planner orchestrating a wedding, a caterer providing dinner, etc.). Secondly, and more importantly, however, it is not explicitly condemned because such a union is not validated in the first place, at least in terms of Scripture. I think this is the main issue at hand: validation of the union of a gay “marriage”, not God’s love for the same sex couple. We have a business owner being coerced into violating his conscience to affirm this non-biblical marriage under threat of lawsuit (or worse) by an increasingly radical and intolerant LGBT lobby. I can understand where you’re coming from in terms of love versus hate, however on that same note we should also take into account the same sex couple bringing the baker to court over the issue instead of letting it go and taking their business to a bakery that has no qualm with their lifestyle.

          • Trilemma

            The arguments you are presenting on why the baker should not bake a cake for a same sex wedding sound like they are based on theological propositions and moralistic practices. What about “bless those who persecute you,” “live in harmony with one another.”

            If the baker makes the cake, a relationship is formed. If he refuses to bake the cake, a relationship is lost. Even Jesus did what was considered immoral in order to do good.

            What good is accomplished by a baker refusing to bake a cake for a same sex wedding?

          • So it is based on Absolute Truth? Good. The Good is that they are not taking part in pure evil.

            So you are saying God Himself participated in satanic rituals attempting to desecrate His Sacraments and serve the devil?

            Did you know what brought about the deluge was the mock marrying of two men?

          • Trilemma

            What absolute truth are you talking about? Theological propositions and moralistic practices are not absolute truth. So, by not baking the cake, the baker is doing what he thinks is good only for himself. Sounds selfish.

            I’m saying that even Jesus did what was considered immoral in order to do good. I didn’t say anything about satanic rituals. I only know of one satanic ritual that Jesus personally participated in.

            Please provide your source for your claim that the flood was caused by two men getting married.

          • Theology and morals presented by the Church are absolute truth. Poor dudley, his nonsensical comment is being used by a devil-worshipping subversive to justify both sodomy and a satanic ritual.

            So you are saying that God Himself participated in witchcraft and participated in affronts to His own Sacraments? And that this is the excuse you are using that a baker standing up for himself against two sodomites pushing for “world revolution” must also participate in witchcraft and satanic affronts to the sacraments?

            you have no means of going to Confession or seeking Apostolic Pardon. Spending every single day supporting the second worst sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance and committing the third worst sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance is not an intelligent move.

        • Because it is a mortal sin and worse to take part in a satanic ritual involving two sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance (sodomy and blasphemy).

          So you want the baker to damn himself by pushing people further into their sin?

          Love is to will the good of the other as other. Pushing people further into sin and supporting satanism is the definition of hate: case in point, how you act is pure hatred for mankind.

          • Trilemma

            Baking a cake is not a satanic ritual. Baking a cake is not sodomy. Baking a cake is not blasphemy. A cake does not push people further into sin.

            Refusing to bake a cake will not prevent any same sex weddings but it will increase hate in the world and cause people to leave the church.

          • Partaking in the satanic insult against the Sacrament of marriage is a satanic ritual. It also support two sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance.

            It will cause people to leave the Church because someone didn’t take part in a satanic ritual? Who are these people?

  • Elizabeth

    I am a relatively new believer. I think and feel that my life has been completely changed, and that I now have a hope and God’s Word like a rock under me. I like the article, but I am confused. I think that Jesus does want me to be better and more like him. I think this does involve some trying, even though I can only do what he empowers me to do. What is wrong with “good people trying to be better” to honor him and turn away from sin, because it is the right thing to do? I know that I don’t earn my salvation. I don’t think I can ever have the faith and characteristics described in this article by trying, but unless I pray and he gives it to me. I feel like a failure, because I will never be like this sort of perfect believer. My sin will not be eliminated in this life, so I will never really be a fully abandoned follower of Jesus or have this radical love while I am in this world. Can anyone clear this up a little for me, because I am a new believer so I know that I don’t know very much about this.

  • Greg Dalton

    Dudley, I enjoyed your perspective. The most significant faith experiences I have had are in small settings where individuals can read the Word of God, share our questions, failures, praises and concerns and pray for one another. That is where faith becomes real. That is where I have seen God transform me and others. Corporate worship is great but cannot bring the intimacy of a small setting where people can experience life together.

  • Leon Rester

    This article isn’t about baking a cake but about being different without judging others. the article spoke about being salt,light or being different or standing up for your faith without condemning others. That standing is necessary in order to reveal the glory of God. If one goes with the flow then one becomes part of the flow. Jesus never called any person evil but was hated because He was different. Different is what we Christian’s are about and that brings hatred.

    • Trilemma

      The article is also about annihilating hate. How much hate is annihilated when a Christian baker refuses to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple?

      • Leon Rester

        Unsubcribe

      • Quite a bit, as hatred would be supporting their sin.

        • Trilemma

          Because nothing says, “I hate you,” like baking a cake for them? A same sex couple is going to get married whether a baker makes them a cake or not. If a Christian baker decides to make the cake, he has the opportunity to form a relationship with the couple. That’s how hate is annihilated.

          • Yes, because that is exactly what the devil wants: to further lull them into a stupor so they continue to damn themselves. Something that is your goal by way of your dark master.

            Marriage is between one man, one woman, and God; and it protects motherhood. It is instituted by God and based on procreation and child rearing.

            How can it be that God will recognize a satanic mockery of Marriage that he once destroyed and remade the world because of?

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