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Christian Myths

June 7, 2017

Did you realise that there are all sorts of things we Christians think are biblical, but on closer examination it’s not actually true? Here are three such “Christian myths”:

Paul changed his name when he became a Christian. No, he didn’t. It was very common for Jews back then to have two names, one Jewish and one Greco-Roman. So when this realigned Pharisee started preaching Jesus in the Gentile world, he used ‘Paul’; in Jewish circles he would still have been ‘Saul’. (Incidentally I do the same: in the UK my name is “day-vid”, while it’s “dar-vid” in Sweden.)

St Peter is guarding the gates of heaven. Actually, when Jesus gave Peter the keys of the Kingdom, he wasn’t talking about Peter deciding who gets into heaven, which would be theologically impossible. This idea is based on a centuries-old misunderstanding of the words “kingdom of heaven”, which never refer to “the place where our souls go when we die” but to the Kingdom of God: the entire realm – past, present, future, visible and invisible – where Jesus reigns as King. Peter having the keys is probably a reference to the universal preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom, which started with Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost.

On judgment day, God will weigh up my good deeds and my bad ones to see if I’ve made it to heaven. Now, this is about as wrong as it gets; this is Islam, not Christianity. Nowhere does the Bible teach that you can earn your place in heaven by totting up enough good deeds.

On the contrary, the Bible states that we can’t work our way to heaven. All sin, every sin, separates us from God, and it doesn’t matter how many good things we do: we are still separated from God. The only way we can get into heaven – or better, become children of God and citizens of the Kingdom of God – is by trusting that Jesus’ death on the cross paid for all our sins. Once we believe and receive, we are in; there’s no need to wait until you die to know if you’re a child of God or not!

But, you ask, does it really matter if we get these things wrong? Well, maybe the first two don’t matter that much; but the third one is vital. If you get that one wrong, you risk missing out on an eternity with Jesus – and if you are a child of God through faith, you don’t have to spend your life worrying about whether or not you’re “good enough”. Don’t let faulty theology deprive you of the joy of your salvation!

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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