40 thoughts on “The Christian Ghetto Mentality

  1. Why do Christians feel/assume – “It’s my way or no way”. When we accept the world is such a diverse, wonderfully rich, place with equally diverse, amazing human beings from all cultures and walks of life, all created by a Holy God, who equips each and every one of us with necessary gifts and tools to progress in every sense. Why then can’t Christians accept that we all have our place and make our choices in the world and are free to do so? I used to be part of the Christian “family” and, since discovering the many false teachings about Jesus from many scholarly researched articles and books, and learned so much more through the ‘Old Testament’, I have had the veil lifted and felt quite shocked at how utterly and thoroughly soaked in New Testament theology we have been, with many deceptive translations and references to the Hebrew scriptures. I now see what a ‘closed’ family construct it all is (and there’s power in that) and how difficult it is to not be part of that ‘family’. God wants us to be inclusive and be involved with his people wherever and whoever they are, making a difference and enhancing life wherever and whenever we can, but not with that underlying motive of always bringing people to Christ. I do agree with what you say about the Christian culture and how this can divide rather than unite people.

    1. I don’t think Christians do think ‘it’s my way or no way’….rather we argue its the way of Christ or the way of the Devil…You seem very assured that you have discovered the ‘many false teachings about Jesus’. What do you mean by that?

      1. Hi David. To answer your question re: false teachings about Jesus and mis-translations, there is more than I can possibly begin to outline here, but one example is Psalm 2.12 – “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry…..” NIV commentary “means to surrender fully to Christ….”
        The Hebrew text is “nash-ku bar…” – Do homage in purity, lest he be angry and you perish in the way…
        The meaning of the Hebrew word “bar” is pure or clear. Only in Aramaic does it have the meaning of “son”. However in Aramaic, bar is used only as a construct “son of”, see Proverbs 31:7, Ezra 5:1-2, 6.14).
        The intention implied in Verse 12 is: with sincerity of heart, acknowledge me, David, as God’s anointed, and thereby avoid incurring God’s anger. Thus the Hebrew phrase ‘nash-ku bar’ simply means “do homage in purity”, and superimposing any other interpretation will distort the meaning of this psalm.
        David, I do realise I’m in dialogue with a Church Minister, so forgive me for presuming to explain this.

      2. Thanks Ann – I’m not sure where you get this information from but I have studied biblical Hebrew and am sitting with a dictionary in front of me as I type. Bar (and Ben_ does mean ‘son’. The Hebrew for pure is Tahor. So your first example of the ‘many’ mistranslations about Jesus is just plain wrong. Any others?

      3. In response to your query on information of translation of Psalm 2:12, I think this link is a thorough explanation of the controversy: thejewishhome.org/counter/Psa2.pdf
        Ann

      4. No – I don’t think it is. I think it is a through explanation of where you have got this idea. (You can google anything to find support on the internet for any view)… It is wrong in several areas. The most used Messianic verse is not Psalm 2:12 – but Isaiah 53. The King James version also translated from the Hebrew. And so on….As I said I have been taught Biblical Hebrew and know several teachers of it – including Jews. Your view is very much a minority view – largely adopted by those who just want to deny any biblical text about Jesus.

    2. Hi Anne,

      This is a very interesting response, you feel that Christians are not accepting of others, you seem to doubt the New Testament and particularly the claims of Jesus – yet you believe in a Holy God. I am a Christian – I believe that Jesus Christ is exactly who He claims to be in the New and the Old Testament – He is God. He came to earth in human form to seek and to save, and on the cross He took the punishment for the righteous wrath of God against human sin and took God’s judgement on Himself, so that all who believe and put their faith in Him will be forgiven and declared righteous in God’s sight. The Old and the New Testament both point to this and tell of it.

      You and everyone else are free to ‘have your place and make your choices in the world’ – no Christian is stopping you doing that.

      Christians have also studied the Old and New Testament and have read widely around the subjects and minutely weighed the evidence and come up with a very different answer to you – would you deny them that choice?

      Having weighed the evidence and discovered that by all means of weighing the veracity of historic writings the New Testament far outweighs all other ancient writings. Also, because of a personal encounter with Jesus, the risen Saviour and the transformation He has made in my life, I am utterly convinced that Jesus is exactly who He says He is.

      Given that belief, and referring to your statement of Christians believing ‘it’s my way or no way’ – or I would put it “its Jesus way or eternal separation from the Holy God” then you can see why Christians do not accept that there are other ways to God. If there are other ways to God then what was Jesus doing on the cross? Why go through that torture if there are other ways?

      I hope that I have been able to explain my position. You are free to believe what you like, but please don’t criticise Christians for reaching out to try and save others who we believe to be perishing – love compels us to do so.

      1. Hello Colin. I am certainly not criticising Christians – just the opposite. As I have said it is every person’s choice and free will to arrive at the truth or not. I have been where you are, so well understand your position with faith. I can well understand also the ‘hidden agenda’ of wanting to save souls when engaged in helping non-christians. I too, had exactly that same zeal. The journey continues and I am not shaken in my faith – that God is our creator and Heavenly Father.
        If you’re a reader you may find this interesting: How Jesus Became Christian by Barrie Wilson.

    3. Ann,
      You said:

      discovering the many false teachings about Jesus from many scholarly researched articles and books, and learned so much more through the ‘Old Testament’, I have had the veil lifted and felt quite shocked at how utterly and thoroughly soaked in New Testament theology we have been, with many deceptive translations and references to the Hebrew scriptures.

      and I’ve heard similar testimonies quite often in the last couple of years.
      The ‘many’ putative falsehoods could by my personal observations be separated into trivial and substantial objections to accepting the New Testament as read. It may not be the case with you — making you an exception — but it seems to be the general case that those who have had this veil-lifting experience are subsequently unable/unwilling to discard the trivial even when the substantial is undermined by the retention of the trivial. For this reason, trying to persuade someone back up the rabbit hole, as we say, it is good to get them to focus on providing only the most rock-solid example of a false teaching about Jesus. (With the backstop arrangement for those who think that we might serendipitously have a plausible answer for one false teaching: in that case or if the fancy takes, it would be interesting to have seven substantial objections from the list of many.)
      Yours,
      John/.

      1. Hi Anne,

        Thanks for your reply. On what authority do you base your faith that ‘God is our creator and Heavenly father’please?

      2. Hi Colin
        Does one need an authority? I think we are naturally drawn to seek God and the knowledge imparted through Scripture and prayers brings us closer to Him and allows us to develop that relationship.

      3. John,
        I will oblige you with 7 mis-translations in due course. I am busy for the next couple of days, but will get back to you. I dislike these tit-for-tat dialogues generally, but I guess it’s always a platform for others to check information out.
        Ann

  2. I think by far the biggest issue to which the “How do we live our Christian lives?” question relates, is to that of the education of our children. Given that the issue of (non-binary) gender is now being fed into the primary school curriculum, the choice/decision for Christian parents seems to be one of the following – state schooling, home schooling or Christians schools. For the first of these, there are huge challenges regarding what the youngest of minds are being taught. For the remaining options the ‘ghetto’ scenario is self-evident.

  3. Very interesting response. On a completely different note, what is the building in the picture? It’s beautiful. Thanks.

  4. Ann,
    Re your Ps. 2:12 example, it falls short of being a deceptive translation or a falsehood for a couple of reasons.
    1. The English Text is informed by the homiletic interpretation of a Jewish scholar: Ibn Ezra.
    2. If the first two words of Ps. 2:12 are quoted in the New Testament it is at 1 Thess. 5:26 — ‘Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.’ — and at 2 Cor. 13:12:- ‘Greet one another with a holy kiss.’

    The Jewish Home admits that Ps. 2 is considered by many Jewish scholars to be a Messianic Psalm. Their insistance that the LORD’s ‘Anointed’ [v.2] and ‘Son’ [v.7] could mean David himself or some other king, instead of the Messiah ben Judah of promise is, at best, a moot point. Besides, the preferred translation of The Jewish Home — ‘do homage in purity’ — does raise the question of to whom is the required honour to be given? The obvious candidate is the ‘Anointed Son’ referred to in the rest of the Psalm so the full extent of the putative mistranslation is that ‘the Son’ was not printed in italics in the AV/KJV.

    Yours,
    John/.

  5. The Bible Hub website has translations of Psalm 2:12 from 27 different versions of the Bible. Most have ‘Kiss the son’ or something similar. Three which have translations which do not mention the word ‘Son’ are:
    Brenton Septuagint Translation
    Accept correction, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and ye should perish from the righteous way: whensoever his wrath shall be suddenly kindled, blessed are all they that trust in him.
    JPS Tanakh 1917
    Do homage in purity, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way, When suddenly His wrath is kindled. Happy are all they that take refuge in Him.
    Douay-Rheims Bible
    Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way. When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.
    The Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition) has:
    ’11 Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling, 12 kiss his feet lest he be angry and you perish in the way.

  6. Hi Anne,
    I can’t seem to reply straight to your reply so hopefully you will find me down here!
    You made a statement “that God is our creator and Heavenly Father” I simply asked – how do you know that to be so? You mention Scripture, but seem to struggle with the New Testament.
    So maybe my question should be what ‘faith’ do you follow? – do you follow the Jewish faith?
    It makes it easier to try and understand where you are coming from and I try not make assumptions.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Colin
      My faith is embedded in the Scriptures, and I do not particularly label myself, other than obedience to and worship of God. I believe, as is written, that the Jews are God’s chosen people “to be a light to all nations” and His covenant with the Jews still stands. I would recommend looking at this link for history of Christian anti-semitism, which is why perhaps there is still a flavour of anti-semitism within the church: https://www.britannica.com/topic/anti-Semitism. Because of the construct and efforts by the early church fathers after the destruction of the temple, to secure and encourage this ‘new religion – christianity’ to spread throughout the world and actively suppress Judaism, Jesus became the Gentile God-human, saviour of humanity, replacing the Jewish Jesus, teacher and Messiah claimant. You’ll perhaps see a bit more clearly now, my understanding and faith. My church journey in all this was triggered by being puzzled why the ‘Old Testament’ was, by comparison, given little standing, apart from supporting and pointing towards the New Testament.
      Regards, Ann

      1. Thank Anne, that is a bit clearer – so who do you believe Jesus is or was? What place does He have in the Scriptures your faith is embedded in.

      2. I believe Jesus was a Rabbi and a zealous anti-Roman political visionary, encouraging Jews to keep the Torah and withstand the political persecutions of the time. The Christology by Paul came later and gives Jesus a dying-rising saviour God-human through whom the individual believer becomes identified and also saved.
        I guess all this is going to sound strange to you…..but you asked. So to answer your question, I believe Jesus to be an important historical figure – but a human. Christ is the Greek form for the Hebrew for “anointed one”, the root meaning of Messiah. In doing this Paul bounced the concept out of its original Jewish context into a Roman one, with significant consequences.
        I believe we have to do all we can to make this life worthy of the gift in terms of helping our fellow citizens, however and whenever we can.
        Right, coffee break over – on with the day 🛒
        Ann

      3. Maybe, Ann,
        we ought to be asking about these ‘early’ church fathers who encouraged “this ‘new religion – christianity’ to spread throughout the world and actively suppress Judaism” Because that sounds awfully like ill-founded, anti-Christian propaganda to me. Now there are even claims that parts of the New Testament — written by Jews of course — are themselves anti-semitic! I’m sorry that your experience of Church uncovered some sort of deficiency in the grasp of the Old Testament (Although, again it would be interesting to know which bits of the Old Testament you think don’t point to the Messiah.)
        Anyway, it can work both ways. Famously, the lectionary reading used to break off in the middle of Isaiah 52 and resume the next day at Isaiah 54. As far as I can tell it still does and most Jews don’t even recognise the passage never mind the ways devised to avoid it’s most obvious (Messianic) interpretation. Some Christians once had Is. 53 in Hebrew, printed on leaflets and distributed in their local area without comment or explanation of where the text had come from. There was a higher than normal Jewish population — which was why the leaflets had been produced — and there was an outcry as might have been predicted: why were the goyim distributing Christian propaganda to Jewish houses, and how were they able to do it in Hebrew?
        Yours,
        John/.

  7. I don’t think Christians do think ‘it’s my way or no way’….rather we argue its the way of Christ or the way of the Devil…

    Except that in arguing this Christi or the Devil way thousands upon thousands of denominations all have, however slightly, different views in this regard.

    And of course, those Christians who are not Trinitarian are not even regarded as Christians. I am not sure if they are even regarded as heretics?
    How do you you view non-Trinitarianism, David?
    And it’s worth acknowledging that there are a great many Protestants – groups as well as individuals – who consider Catholics not to be Christian and Catholics who consider all Protestants to be heretics.

    Constantine originally tried to force the issue and achieved a modicum of success, albeit it limited, and was made a Saint for his efforts.

    But in all seriousness, is it really any wonder there is this ghetto mentality?

      1. A Christian is someone who follows Christ. Thats a basic definition. If someone says they are a Christian but does not follow Christ then they are not telling the truth. I no more have to accept that than I have to accept your claim that you are Napoleon – or a man’s claim that he is a woman!

      2. They do follow Jesus.
        Their interpretation of his nature is simply different to yours. And it is wise to remember that the Trinity is a man- invented concept.
        And this is an undeniable fact.

      3. No – they don’t follow the Jesus of the Bible….the Son of God. I’ve noticed that when you say something is an undeniable fact it is usually remarkably easy to deny it! You usually mean that this is your opinion….which you too often confuse with undeniable facts!

      4. No – they don’t follow the Jesus of the Bible….the Son of God

        Really? Well, fair enough, then.

        So, in your view, if not the Jesus of Nazareth of the bible, which Jesus do they follow, and from where do they derive their particular understanding of the person they do follow?

  8. when you say something is an undeniable fact it is usually remarkably easy to deny it!

    The please enlighten me and provide the books/verses that unambiguously describe the Trinity.

    Thanks.

  9. Hi Anne, again I cannot seem to reply to you directly so am back down at the bottom of the pile again!
    I do indeed find your answers a bit confusing – you seem to combine the Jewish faith with some of your own takes on Scripture ( I am sorry if that is not how it is, but you really have not been able to make it clear what you actually believe or where you find authoritative evidence for holding your beliefs.) You state that your faith is grounded in Scripture, yet you seem to have huge issues with much of the Old and New Testament – not believing large parts of it.
    It seems a contradiction to state that we are ‘called to be a light to all nations’ yet label Christian evangelism ‘a hidden agenda’.
    Do you believe in heaven and hell?
    Do you believe in sin and judgement?
    These are basic Old (and New) Testament concepts.
    If so, how can humanity restore our relationship with God and be saved?
    I am sorry for all these questions, but this is critically important, your eternal salvation is at stake here. Salvation is in Christ alone, both the Old and New Testament point unerringly to Him – I urge you to look to Him, only He can save and, thank the Lord, He is willing to save.

  10. I agree with what you say about the Christian ghetto mentality and its harm on the Christian’s ability to evangelise. I agree that it seems like a reason for the growth of things such as the “Christian music industry” or “Christian Hollywood” is that they are a response to the mainstream secular forms of these industries, which with popular culture have drifted further and further away from compatibility with Christian worldviews. Scroll through Netflix and it will amaze you the depravity being celebrated. Switch on Capital FM and you will most likely want to switch off during the first song (or when the presenters begin to speak). The difference in worldview has grown over time, opening up a market to provide for Christians who still seek to consume film, music etc.
    But indeed, Christians need to engage with the world rather than simply disconnect from it.
    I would argue that a heart for unbelievers will come naturally in growing believers who over time become better discerning and learn. One needs a deep faith in the first place, from which to share, and which would cause one to seek opportunities to share. The quality of one’s local church and its teaching is an important influence on that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *