Easy Cheesy Cotton Candy Christianity

It’s 8:00 on Saturday night. I’m in my study. I’m fired up and ready to rock on Sunday. The message is called, The Way. I’m setting forth The Way as the antithesis of Easy Cheesy Cotton Candy Christianity. I’m going to use a quote from Soren Kierkegaard in the message and I thought I would post it on my blog because I suspect people will be interested in it. But then I thought, what the heck, I’ll just post my entire notes for The Way. So here goes (erstwhile and otherwise preachers, feel free to steal this).


Sermon # 2278
The Unvarnished Church: Part 24
Acts 24

Paul’s Two Year Confinement in Caesarea

A.D. 58 | Jerusalem (offering) | arrested | conspiracy | Caesarea
trial | Roman governor | Tertullus

Ultimately Paul spent 2 years confined in Caesarea; not in prison, but under house arrest in the palace

Felix and Drusilla
The Roman Governor over Judea at that time: Felix
Married to King Herod’s daughter: Drusilla (21)

* Drusilla’s father was the King Herod who put the Apostle James to death and tried to kill Peter

* Drusilla’s uncle was the King Herod who put John the Baptist to death and sent Jesus back to Pilate

* Drusilla’s great-grandfather was the King Herod who tried to kill Jesus as his birth in Bethlehem

The Way

During Paul’s defense before Felix, the only thing Paul pleaded guilty to was belonging to The Way

The Way: the most ancient term for what we call Christianity (found seven times in Acts)

Acts 24:14, 22-25

I want to confess that I’ve never really liked the name “Christianity.” (not in the Bible)

I use it because it has become the accepted term for this thing we belong to, but it’s always sounded too small, too trite and too much like just another religion.

I like THE WAY. I’m not going to try to bring it back into use, but still I like it.

Christianity sounds very tame, very fixed, very figured out. It’s something you “belong” to; something you can casually “join.”

The Way conjures more of the idea of a journey, an adventure, even a mystery.

The Way is not something you belong to (like a club with meetings and dues).

The Way is something you do, something you live. It’s not weekly or monthly…its 24/7

Some Things Jesus Said About The Way

* Jesus said He is The Way.

* Jesus said The Way is narrow.

* Jesus said The Way is hard.

“How narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it.” ~Jesus (Matthew 7:14)

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life — to God! — is vigorous and requires total attention.” ~The Message (Matthew 7:13-14)

Authentic Christianity is not for cowards and softies looking for a comfortable, easy life.

This is so contrary to the way Christianity is “marketed” today.

Two years ago I told you I was rejecting Consumer Christianity.

Now let’s get rid of of easy-cheesy-cotton-candy Christianity!

If you’re looking for an easy going, happy-go-lucky, comfortable life, forget about being an authentic Christian.

(You can settle for being an easy-cheesy-cotton-candy Christian.)

To follow Jesus in this world is not easy — it’s hard — but it’s life!!

back from the mountains | not easy, not comfortable | but when I’m doing it…I’m alive!!

Where did we ever get the crazy idea that the purpose of Christianity is to make life happy and easy?

I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity. ~C.S. Lewis

Acts 24:24-25

Context: Paul is preaching to the man who has the authority to set him free.

Does Paul offer Felix and easy-cheesy-cotton-candy Christianity?

Here Felix, pray this prayer. Amen! Now you’re in, going to heaven, no more worries.

NO! Paul reasoned with Felix about righteousness, self-control and judgment.

Every one of those three topics carries an offense!

* Righteousness carries the offense of the Cross.

* Self-control carries the offense of Discipline.

* Judgment carries the offense of Hell.

How did Felix respond to Paul’s reasoning on righteousness, self-control and judgment?

He was afraid! But easy-cheesy-cotton-candy Christianity never makes anyone afraid.

Better to make people afraid then give them cotton-candy and tell them it’s Christianity!

Easy-cheesy-cotton-candy Christianity covets popularity and will never offend.

Cotton-candy Christianity will sacrifice truth for popularity.

But Cotton-candy Christianity will never change the world, because it is the world!

Authentic Christianity is The Way that runs opposite to the prevailing system. (Babylon)

When you choose The Way that runs opposite to the prevailing system–
There will be collision.

We must awaken the collision. The possibility of offense must again be preached to life. Only the possibility of offense is able to waken those who have fallen asleep, is able to break the spell so that Christianity is itself again. Woe to him, therefore, who preaches Christianity without the possibility of offense. Woe to the person who smoothly, flirtatiously, convincingly preaches some soft, sweet something which is supposed to be Christianity! Woe to the person who betrays the mystery of faith and distorts it into public wisdom in order to take away the possibility of offense! Woe to the person who speaks of the mystery of the Atonement without detecting in it anything of the possibility of offense. ~Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations, pg. 171

I really am in pursuit of authentic Christianity — The Way.

Authentic Christianity cannot be inherited — it must be discovered.

Authentic Christianity must be discovered afresh in every generation.

As spiritual movements become older than a single generation they begin to become a parody and a caricature of themselves.

They become more centered on the movement they have inherited than on Jesus, the Person they have supposedly met and committed their lives to.

When this happens the authority of authenticity is lost and the absurdity of a grotesque parody begins.

This is the hunger of the Emerging Church Movement — the hunger for authenticity.

The hunger for authenticity is what is good about the “Emerging” church.

What’s bad is the adoption of post-modern relativism in the realm of absolutes.

What we need is what Nietzsche and Os Guinness call “Prophetic Untimliness.”

Instead of being shaped by our times, we need to be prophetic people who shape our times.


* “Come with me” is authentic

* The “Five Words” are authentic

* My expectation is authentic

Josh McDowell: “Pastors over 40 won’t change.”

But I will! I do! I have! And I will more and more!

I want the real thing — The Way.

Not easy-cheesy-cotton-candy Christianity!

Altar Call: Felix in Hell


Alright, there you have it.

Let’s wage a holy war on easy-cheesy-cotton-candy Christianity and go for the real thing!

Not this!

But this!

Press on!