Bear Grylls is the first to admit he’s something of an unconventional Christian.
The survivalist and TV host is unabashedly open about his faith and how it serves as his foundation for living an empowered life. But he doesn’t want to sanitize his message to make it inoffensive to a religious audience, and frankly, he doesn’t have much time for Western church culture.
“I think Jesus would really struggle with 99% of churches nowadays,” the 48-year-old British adventurer told The Christian Post. “Our job in life is to stay close to Christ and drop the religious, drop the fluff, drop the church if you need to because that means so many different things to different people anyway. Keep the bit of church which is about community and friends and honesty and faith and love. All the masks, performances, music and worship bands and all of that sort of stuff — I don’t think Christ would recognize a lot of that.”
He expressed his distaste for what he called “religious language,” sanitizing messages in such a way where people “can’t be honest, can’t express doubt and can’t fail.” The Church, he said, is “the place to have doubts and questions.”
“Look at the early Church. It was a roomful of people eating and drinking and doubting and struggling and arguing,” he said.
But the Church today, he said, has gotten away from that.
“Probably most of the people in the congregation have substance abuse, and probably most of their congregations struggle with porn and all that sort of stuff,” he said. “What a relief it is when a pastor can stand up and go, ‘Welcome to the hospital, folks. Here we go. I’m just standing alongside you on the road, failing our way through, but reaching out of desperation for life and love and redemption. Let’s look outwards, and love other people, and we’re in it together.’”
Western church culture is very passive. It also shies away completely from sex — one of the driving forces in the early days of the Church was to escape from the sexual exploitation and immorality of the Roman empire. People have forgotten that now, but it’s become relevant again now that the sexual revolutionaries are back in charge.