What is 

Christian Maturity?

The Bible is a wonderful book. As Christians we should believe by faith that it’s the inspired word of God. It's hardly surprising then that the Bible is full of God's wisdom, and that it speaks in depth about how to get wisdom, and how to become mature.

However, we live in a world that has entirely different values from the Bible. The majority of the world's population follow worldly philosophies that have a very different understanding of what constitutes maturity.

The wisdom of the Bible hasn’t been completely dismissed though, promoters of more humanistic approaches have cherry picked the ideas that suit them, because for them, the Bible is not 'The Book,' it's just another book among all those produced by the world's numberless religions, philosophies and belief systems.

Both the biblical and humanistic views would still agree with the basic dictionary definition of maturity, which is to be fully grown, and fully developed. But just as there is a fundamental difference in the origins of both views, there is also a huge difference in their expressed means and aims in the realisation of this growth. This difference can be summed up very simply, the humanist view is man centred whereas the Biblical view is God centred. 

The Worldly view

The worldly 'take' on maturity says, that you must discover yourself, fulfil yourself, find your destiny and realise your dreams; you must reach your maximum potential and become the wonderful person you were born to be. This deceitful message implies that this can all be done by our own efforts, we can all realise our inherent god-nature. Does some of this sound familiar? It is totally unbiblical of course, but this is the new age 'soft' gospel, a gospel of self-fulfilment, and it’s now available in a church near you.

The Biblical view

In contrast, the Biblical view is that the mature Christian must fully understand and believe in the truth of the Biblical message of salvation, and be able to apply that truth in every aspect of their daily lives.

 A vital part of this process is that christians must “die to self” so that they can live for Jesus. In Matthew 10:39, Jesus says: “He who finds His life will lose it and He who loses His life for My sake will find it.”

The uncomfortable truth is that ever since the fall, the human heart is fundamentally wicked and self seeking. 

Christian maturity is not about relying on your own natural strength and ability, but on the strength and power of God. The ultimate aim of the mature Christian is to have more of Jesus and less of self, and to be holy, that is, to be set apart for God. Exactly the opposite of the worldview.

The Start of the Decay

In the 1960s, I saw the almost innocuous start of the infiltration of new age philosophies into the church. A seemingly harmless and useful tool appeared, it was 'temperament profiling'. It claimed to provide overworked leaders with instant insight, an apparantly fool-proof formula for understanding an individual's natural AND spiritual strengths and weaknesses.  However almost no one asked the vital questions, is this Biblical and if not, where does its power come from? All that the unsuspecting church leaders asked was, does it work?

All around the world, the various purveyors of this 'modern metaphysics' made their fortunes as gullible and trusting Christian leaders rushed to get their hands on this marvellous new method. They didn't bother to research the philosophy behind what was effectively pagan divination dressed up in vaguely Christian terminology. 

I recommend that you read the article on profiling on this site to understand more about the occult powers behind personality profiling and the deceitful methods it uses.

A Change of Direction

As a result of embracing these techniques, part of the church began to deviate just a tiny bit from biblical truth. When faced with a hurting person the first tool Christian counsellors reached for was new age pop psychology. I went on a counselling course myself, expecting to be taught about how to point people to Christ as the answer to life’s problems. Neither Jesus nor the Bible came into this so-called ‘Christian' course at all! 

The problem is that a change of direction by even one degree or less, will, after only a short while become an ever greater distancing from the truth. Accepting the tool of profiling was the first tiny step away from God and before long the occult philosophies that make these systems work, were changing the face of Christianity. 

Since that time I've watched more and more church leaders abandoning the Biblical truths to embrace elements of the attractive and fashionable philosophies sweeping the world. The end result has been inevitable, churches of every denomination are now full of un-biblical beliefs and practices. 

This worldwide movement towards the use of pop psychology in the church has pushed aside the biblical standard of maturity. 

God's purpose for his church, namely a Holy Bride, has become 'old hat'. Now the buzz words of 'self-esteem' and 'self-fulfillment’ have replaced Biblical maturity. Too many churches have become man centred.

Probably the worst change of all is that some of our Bible training colleges and once Christian universities are now mass producing experts in new age techniques and methods. They are abandoning the wonderful resource of the Bible and it's powerful Gospel, and are ensuring that these new age heresies will continue instead.

God's Perspective

Should we be surprised by this situation? Not if we know our Bibles, it's exactly what God told us would happen. In I Timothy 4:1-2 we read: 

'The Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will turn away from the faith, by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.'

In the face of this growing deception it’s vital to hold fast to the unchanging Biblical truth that the Gospel alone is the power of God to salvation. Confessing Jesus' death and believing in His resurrection deals with our past, our present and our future. Our sins are forgiven, our history is just that: history. We have a new start in Jesus, a new direction in life as we learn how to live to please God. We have the promise of a glorious future united with Jesus, as His bride. Our response to this undeserved gift is to offer our lives to God as living sacrifices. Our greatest desire must be to fulfil HIS plan for us. 

This is the only way to Christian Maturity!

Without this process of humbly acknowledging our sinfullness, of repentance and belief in the risen Christ, we can never receive eternal life. Without the commitment to daily die to sin and live for Jesus, we can never become mature. We will continue to need a church full of counsellors who vainly try to heal the results of sin with pop psychology. 

Deep spiritual and emotional wounds will continue to fester beneath their pretty sticking plasters as churches fill with people who remain perpetually immature, constantly demanding that their egos be massaged by man's approval, and hyped-up sermons. 

This is much more than an interesting theological debate, this is an issue of eternal life or death, both for individuals, and indeed for the Church of Jesus Christ as a whole.

Martyn Cunnington


© Martyn Cunnington revised 2021