It would speak of “Christianity” but talk politics. It would have more in common with Thomas Jefferson or John Kennedy or Barack Obama or Mitt Romney than with Martin Luther, Augustine, Paul, or James. It would have a wealth of opinions on immigration and taxes but little to say about redemption and resurrection. And it would take its cues from a political party or a political movement rather than from Scripture.
Or it might talk forever about social justice and poverty and economic rights, but never address the deepest issues of sin and Gospel. Faith and forgiveness. It would, under the guise of Christianity, speak of a problem but neglect the problem. It would try, from a shaky and precarious position, to treat a flu while ignoring the cancer.
Or it might preach morality and character. Like justice and fairness these are good things, but Christ-less morality is a graveyard, and it is filled with whitewashed tombs. Getting someone to stop listening to rotten music while she is still just as angry in heart, or to avoid unmarital sex while he still lusts with his eyes, is to send them down a quieter street to the same Hell. Christ-less ethics are hopeless ethics. Christ-less morality is a powerless morality.
Or it could be Americanism. Or feminism. Or racism. It could be a tradition, or it could be the hatred of tradition.
2 kinds of people most often rejected Christ. The Pharisees and the Saducees. The Pharisees loved the Old Testament without loving the God who wrote it and the Saducees disbelieved anything supernatural. Generally speaking, Pharisees loved rules and the Saducees hated faith.
And both rejected Christ.
Both were Christ-less.
What does Christ-less Christianity look like? A Pharisee. A Saducee. A system without a Gospel. A string of words with no power. A set of doctrines with no affection for the God they describe. A strand of beliefs with no authority underneath them.
You remember the story of Lazarus? Jesus, by the power of His Word, raises His friend from the dead, to the joy of Lazarus’ two grieving sisters. He simply tells him to come forth, and like always Jesus’ Word overpowers death.
He raises His friend from the dead. His companion who has trusted in Him for salvation and redemption and forgiveness. His friend who has believed the Gospel that is the real silver bullet issue.
Christ-less Christianity is like a man shouting into the tomb of that dead Lazarus. Screaming into the tomb that Lazarus needs to come out, come to life. There is a vote he just has to cast, or a rally he must attend. Because that, after all, is what it’s all about. “Come on, Lazarus! Come on out! The protest against _______________ starts in 20 minutes and you’re making me late!”
All the while Lazarus’ sisters stand there, hoping this powerless lunatic will stop shouting endless nonsense and will go away soon. Because their friend and Savior, their God, is on His way.
And He is what life and death, what Christianity and the universe, are really all about.