Survivalist and television host Bear Grylls says in a new interview that he has grown frustrated with the direction of the Christian church in recent years.
Grylls, a professing Christian, has been the host of numerous survival-themed programs, including Man vs. Wild, Running Wild with Bear Grylls and You vs. Wild.
He told The Christian Post that he often discusses spiritual matters because of their significance to life.
"We neglect our spirituality at our own peril," said Grylls, the author of the 2019 daily devotional, Soul Fuel.
Grylls, though, believes the Christian church – particularly the church in the global West – has problems.
"I think Jesus would really struggle with 99 percent of churches nowadays," Grylls 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."
The church, he said, should be a "place to have doubts and questions" but too often is a place where people "can't be honest, can't express doubt and can't fail."
"Look at the early church. It was a roomful of people eating and drinking and doubting and struggling and arguing," he said.
The church, he said, should openly welcome such people.
"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.'"
Grylls recently authored the book Mind Fuel: Simple Ways to Build Mental Resilience Every Day.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Frazer Harrison/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.