Stephen Mattson is the author of The Great Reckoning: Surviving a Christianity That Looks Nothing Like Christ. You can follow him on Twitter (@mikta) or on Facebook.

Posts By This Author

The False and Idolatrous Narrative of 'American Christianity'

by Stephen Mattson 05-13-2019

Hate and racism were so embedded within this religion that the KKK was marketed as a Christian institution, and segregation was endorsed by countless white pastors and their congregations. It’s still so prevalent within white Christianity today that many still refuse to acknowledge systemic racism as a problem. They happily support a president who continually spews racist and xenophobic vitriol, and support policies that continue to be racist and evil.

Not Everything 'Biblical' Is Christlike

by Stephen Mattson 02-27-2019

The semantics are important to understand because the different terms present two completely contrasting paradigms. One is based on textual interpretations and opinions, while the other is founded upon the words and actions of the living savior of the world. If you’re a Christian, you should always err on the side of Jesus. But if we’re not careful, it’s easy to idolize the bible while simultaneously ignoring the very message of Christ.

White Christian Nationalism — Not Secularism — Is Destroying America

by Stephen Mattson 02-04-2019

Image via Shutterstock/ Evan Al-Amin

American Christianity brought us to this point. It preached nationalism and sanctified American imperialism — promoting Manifest Destiny as ordained by God. The prosperity gospel baptized capitalistic greed, it’s preachers vilified the poor, and it’s theologians manipulated scripture to rationalize global colonialism. Salvation was no longer personified through Jesus, but was redesigned to be a political machine, fueled by its ability to control branches of government. This methodology was packaged as “Christianity,” and the gospel became a message of gaining social power and control rather than a call to follow Jesus’ life of selfless service and sacrifice.

Pursuing Justice as an Act of Worship

by Stephen Mattson 01-16-2019

Photo by Bogdan Yukhymchuk on Unsplash

God's justice is divine, meant to benefit everyone created in God's divine image. It’s not dictated by man-made laws, branches of government, political parties, lobbyists, or authoritarian officials. It's not biased towards the wealthy or powerful, and cannot be bought by high-priced lawyers. It's not fueled by populist opinions or partisan rage, and isn’t facilitated through broken systems and institutions. Instead, God’s justice is holy and unblemished, eternally seeking to free the enslaved, empower the downtrodden, and bring judgement upon the oppressors.

Stop Glorifying Christendom and Follow Christ Instead

by Stephen Mattson 12-13-2018

Anything can label itself as being “Christian,” so we must always look to the person of Christ to guide us, because he already laid out a life for us that perfectly reflects what it means to be God incarnate on earth. Christ is everything.

We Have Reached the Border, And There is No One To Help

by Stephen Mattson 11-30-2018
A retelling of Psalm 22

Image via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Roaring lions that tear their prey, open their mouths wide against us. They beat us, arrest us, incarcerate us, shoot us, then blame us. We are poured out like water, and all our bones are out of joint. Our hearts have turned to wax; they have melted within us.

No, Christians Aren't Inherently 'Better.' Thinking So Is Downright Dangerous

by Stephen Mattson 11-27-2018

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

As a religion consisting of millions of voters, venerable institutions, and large organizations, Christianity is often viewed by governments and politicians as a tool to influence and manipulate. Spiritual jargon is used to lobby segments of Christians to support various agendas, often under the pretense of being “Biblical” and “Godly.” This is how faith becomes co-opted to transform into something it was never meant to be: a way to obtain votes, a method for fueling populist rage, or grounds for implementing oppressive social structures.

The Bible's Purpose Is to Discover and Fall in Love with Jesus

by Stephen Mattson 11-21-2018

Christians can overemphasize the importance of the Bible and underemphasize the life of Jesus. Thus, when people advocate for Christ-like things like helping immigrants, providing safety for refugees, empowering the oppressed, and loving others as we wish to be loved, Christians passionately refute such things — using the Bible. They spout verses and use pseudo theology to discredit the actions that are the most Christ-like —all under the guise of “Biblical Christianity.”

The White Church Has Been a Steady Oppressor

by Stephen Mattson 10-17-2018

Image via eberhard grossgasteiger/Unsplash

White Christians benefit the most by being nationalistic and patriotic, because to do so upholds the methods of “law” that keep their societal privileges in place. So while America — it’s governmental machinations and economy — serves to continually bless and protect white Americans, it hasn’t done so for others. Incarceration rates, a vast history of enforced racism by the legislative, judicial, and justice branches of government, the mistreatment of people of color within the military, and the brutalization by police show just how one-sided our country has benefited particular groups of people because of race. As white Christians blissfully sing ‘God Bless America’ in their sanctuaries adorned with American flags, they look upon their country — and its many structures — with nostalgic pride, while others see betrayal, hurt, and suffering.

I'm Ashamed of Christianity, But Never of Christ

by Stephen Mattson 10-02-2018

Christianity transformed from a faith reliant on Jesus to a civic religion obsessed with obtaining partisan power. This co-opting of Jesus — manipulating His gospel of love and redemption to fit the narrative of an expanding American empire, specifically to maintain the colonial stronghold of white supremacy — fits a historical pattern.

The Church Must Listen to Women

by Stephen Mattson 09-28-2018

Christian leaders, on the whole, have failed to address the abuse and assault experienced by more than half of all Christian believers. When was the last time your congregation dedicated a sermon or service to sexual harassment, assault, and abuse? If you are fortunate enough to have experienced such a service, you’re the exception to the rule. Despite attending all sorts of churches within a variety of denominations and despite sitting through countless sermons, I have not once heard violence against women addressed in any significant capacity. I’ve heard homilies on the Leviathan, the Nephilim, and the dimensions of Noah’s ark. I have not heard a single sermon confronting a problem that affects nearly every woman in every congregation, and around the world

Social Justice Is a Form of Worshipping God

by Stephen Mattson 07-27-2018

Photo by Jovi Waqa on Unsplash.

Few things are more holy or worshipful than helping others and working towards providing humanity with justice, peace, reconciliation, equity, safety, and empowerment.

American Christianity Has Become an Institution of Intolerance

by Stephen Mattson 07-03-2018

But once back in America, these very same Christians will adamantly oppose having “foreigners” as neighbors, loathing the idea that they could possibly be allowed to cross into the border of the United States seeking a better life. So while they post pictures on social media of themselves surrounded by poor children and holding babies they personally cared for, they’ll post nothing about the children and babies being separated from their parents at the border.

How We Treat Immigrants Is How We Treat God

by Stephen Mattson 06-25-2018

Image via REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Many of Christianity’s tenets are inherently illogical and absurd —  a person being fully man and fully God; a person rising from the dead; miracles (like being swallowed alive by a fish); angels and supernatural beings; an afterlife … If Christians can accept these things as true, the basic themes of the gospel: love, joy, peace, kindness, forgiveness, and hope can hardly be questioned. Yet many Christians are failing to abide by these fundamental truths, refusing to follow God’s greatest command. For people claiming the faith of Christ, showing love and compassion to immigrants, no matter their status, is a requirement of following Jesus — there is no alternative.

Our Leader Is a Fool

by Stephen Mattson 05-22-2018

Whatever your opinions of President Trump, his actions and words directly contradict what we are told constitutes wisdom, and fulfill the Bible’s definitions of folly. He seems to be lacking joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control — every fruit of the Spirit.

‘Failed Missionary’ Podcast Is a Cheeky Deconstruction of the White Savior Complex

by Stephen Mattson 04-03-2018

Image via Barbie Savior/ Emily Worrall

The three co-hosts of Failed Missionary — Emily Worrall, Jamie Wright, and Corey Pigg — reflect upon how missions can be co-opted by a white savior complex, selfish motivations, and cultural presuppositions. 

Does Your Church Follow Jesus?

by Stephen Mattson 12-08-2017
A Modern-Day Parable for Christians

But Jesus said, if you would be perfect, go, and stop pretending racism doesn’t exist, stop supporting political leaders who lie and manipulate, stop being co-opted by political agendas, and stop slandering people who are different from you.

Christianity 101: Love, Not Deportation

by Stephen Mattson 09-05-2017

President Donald Trump’s decision to deport our neighbors, students, coworkers, friends, and family is a great injustice. Although people can be given labels such as ‘alien,’ ‘immigrant,’ ‘undocumented,’ and ‘illegal,’ as Christians we should know that immigrants — regardless of their legal status — are individuals deeply loved by God and created in God’s Divine image.

When Christians Love Political Power More Than People

by Stephen Mattson 06-20-2017

The idea of having power is so enticing that of all the theoretical options to destroy Christ, Satan chose the promise of ruling the world as his best and final temptation of Jesus in the desert. It was ultimately a futile attempt, but given the biblical narratives displaying humanity’s addictive desire for earthly kingdoms, their bloodlust for military victories, quests for political dominance, and insatiable greed for wealth, it’s unsurprising that it’s through these manifestations that Christianity is most vulnerable to ruin.

Conservative Christianity Is Now Everything It Once Hated: Post-Modern, Morally Relative, and Post-Truth

by Stephen Mattson 05-12-2017

Truth is promoted within every facet of the Christian religion. Yet large segments of American Christianity couldn’t care less about whether it’s found within the political system it helped put into power.