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

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.

The Spiritual Tyranny of ‘Religious Liberty’

by Stephen Mattson 05-05-2017

U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to sign the Executive Order on Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty. May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

The Christian faith shouldn’t be defined by presidential orders and government mandates. Instead, it’s perfectly represented by the person of Jesus Christ, who told us to love our neighbors as ourselves and do unto others as we would have done to us.

Why Is It Difficult to Get Christians to Care About the Earth?

by Stephen Mattson 03-28-2017

As presidential orders and administrative policies continue to scale back environmental protections, it’s important for Christians to realize that this is a vitally important spiritual issue. Many Christians ignore environmental issues because they don’t view it as an important faith-related concern — but what if environmentalism was essential to evangelism? In many ways, taking care of our environment is a direct form of evangelism, but many Christians have yet to realize — and even reject — this truth.

Exploiting Scripture in the Name of Jesus

by Stephen Mattson 03-24-2017

The problem for many Christians is that instead of asking themselves, “What would Jesus Do?” they ask, “What does the Bible say is permissible?” At first glance these two questions don’t seem radically different, but the applications are often contradictory to each other.

‘Ban Your Neighbor as I Have Banned You’

by Stephen Mattson 03-20-2017

Christians who refuse to break rank from their political tribes and social circles at the expense of refugees, immigrants, the sick, the poor, the uneducated, the maligned, and the outcast are prioritizing carnal hopes rather than divine promises.

Dear Christians, Please Recuse Yourself

by Stephen Mattson 03-08-2017
Chicago marks the one-month anniversary of the Donald Trump administration on Feb. 19.Marie Kanger Born / Shutterstock.com

While the LGBTQ community, the pro-choice community, the liberal community, the environmentalist community, the science community, the atheist community, the Muslim community, and many other communities have been harshly and relentlessly judged, condemned, and even abused by the American church, this same church will remain silent toward Trump — refusing to condemn this idol it continues to worship.

The Sin of ‘Just Doing Our Job’

by Stephen Mattson 02-27-2017

Any time a government enacts new legislation or a president signs an executive order, Christians must decide how it aligns with their ultimate mission, and choose to follow the example of Jesus accordingly.

We’re Not Anti-American. We’re Following Christ

by Stephen Mattson 02-23-2017

Image via JP Keenan/ Sojourners 

The simple standard for Christianity is how well we’re emulating Christ. So how Christ-like are we? Right now, American Christianity isn’t doing so great, which is why non-Christians can be—and often are—even more Christ-like than many self-professed Christians. 

For Christians Who Feel Betrayed By Christianity

by Stephen Mattson 02-17-2017

Since the election of President Donald Trump, many Christians are asking: How could so many Christ-followers agree with actions that are so decisively un-Christlike? Many Christians are struggling to understand how two things that are diametrically opposed to one another — Trump’s policies versus following the gospel of Christ — can be possibly reconciled.

Christ, Not America, First

by Stephen Mattson 02-06-2017

Instead of classifying people as refugees, immigrants, “illegal” immigrants, Muslims, Iranians, or whatever other association we use to judge people, God wants us to see humanity as fellow loved ones, children of God.

American ‘Christianity’ Has Failed

by Stephen Mattson 01-25-2017

For the last few years Christians have been singing worship songs that include lyrics like “ keep my eyes above the waves, when oceans rise …” and yet have rejected refugees who’ve seen loved ones die beneath waves, who themselves have literally struggled to keep from drowning in oceans. Those American Christians — particularly white evangelicals — continue to sing the words: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders …” but fail to realize the shameful irony that they’re largely responsible for refusing shelter and opportunity to some of the world’s most helpless and oppressed people.

Have We Forgotten the Point of Christianity?

by Stephen Mattson 10-13-2016

How can salvation be believed when we refuse to save refugees, or hope grasped when we deny it to immigrants, or justice pursued when we refuse it to the oppressed, or faith accepted when we don’t have faith in those different from us, or love known when we deny it to our neighbors, strangers, and even our enemies?

What We Can Learn from the Best — and Worst — of Christianity

by Stephen Mattson 05-16-2016

As we strive for social justice and attempt to love our neighbors, are we relying on Christ, or are we relying on the military, political leaders, the government, church authorities, institutions, and abusive ideologies?

Are we motivated and inspired by the love of Jesus, or are we driven by fear, judgment, hate, jealousy, envy, wealth, fame, recognition, and an appetite for power?

Is Gun Worship America's Achilles Heel?

by Stephen Mattson 05-12-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

Millions of Americans worship the gun. Guns are used in a state of sobriety and drunkenness, by the young and old, the rich and poor — regardless of race, age, gender, or demographic. Guns are sold, traded, gifted, stolen, and smuggled — but rarely destroyed. They are kept, reused, and invested in. Many increase in value over time.

They are adored and idolized for being able to wipe away someone’s existence in a matter of seconds — which is exactly what happens. No matter what the conflict, its existence is lurking in the background — close, handy, and accessible. A source of indisputable power.

This is why many Americans — and Christians — trust more in the gun than they do in Christianity. Jesus didn’t use weapons to kill others or as a method of getting his way. Instead, Christ’s nonviolent humble love for humanity caused him to get crucified on a cross. Very un-American.

Jesus Was a Protester

by Stephen Mattson 03-16-2016

In today’s political climate we’re witnessing plenty of protesting — there is indeed much to protest. But some Christians, particularly in evangelical circles, believe protesting is sinful, that it’s only something that young, uneducated, unemployed, liberal fools do just for the sake of causing trouble.

Political Xenophobia: Back and Stronger Than Ever

by Stephen Mattson 02-24-2016
A History of America's Nativist Tendencies

Image from 1856 work: Americanism versus Romanism. Via wikimedia commons.

There’s a name for xenophobic-motivated politics: nativism. Oxford Dictionaries defines nativism as: 1)The policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants, and 2) A return to or emphasis on traditional or local customs, in opposition to outside influences.

History Will Judge Today's Christians According to These 4 Questions

by Stephen Mattson 02-17-2016

1. In the midst of a historically horrible refugee crisis, why didn’t you actively pursue helping the poor, the destitute, and those in desperate need?

Are followers of Jesus supposed to forsake compassion, sacrifice hospitality, and abandon love in favor of a political policy, national security, financial stability, and personal comfort? God is perfectly clear what the mandate is for helping those in need, and yet Christians continue to remain apathetic, passive, and even aggressively hostile toward the notion of aiding such victims.

'Making a Murderer:' The Justice System Non-White Americans Have Been Dealing with for Generations

by Stephen Mattson 01-21-2016

Only in America can you have a huge segment of society become obsessed with a cultural sensation that revolves around the themes of unjust incarceration, a biased legal system, corrupt law enforcement, and a judicial process that disproportionately targets the poor and underrepresented, and simultaneously have the majority of this exact same group not understand the reality of racial injustice.

Rejecting Refugees, Rejecting Christ

by Stephen Mattson 11-17-2015
Syrian refugees arrive in Lesvos, Greece in October.

Syrian refugees arrive in Lesvos, Greece in October. Anjo Kan / Shutterstock.com

Whether you like it or not, Christians are called to help the world’s most abused, hurt, helpless, exploited, and destitute.

If you’re a follower of Christ passionate about social justice, of if you attend a church that claims to be enthusiastic about global missions, or if you’re part of a Christian organization that facilitates ministry, you’ve been handed a golden opportunity — the ability to minister to millions of people in desperate need.

This is a chance to be radically countercultural — to glorify Christ through selfless sacrifice, hospitality, and love. Being a Christ-follower isn’t easy, and it will require hard work, but it’s worth it.