Seen this article in the news lately.
I think its deeply wrong to label anyone as a fake Christian, and certainly there is often cases were people make hurtful assumptions which may or may not be true. Here in Jerusalem, I know of Jews and Arabs that are believers in Jesus but often in secret because of being put in danger or being cut off by their families and communities or in more extreme cases with Arab believers, killed. Often as Christians we avoid sharing our faith with non-believing friends, neighbours and work colleagues because of fear of ridicule or rejection. This is something I had struggled with for a while, this is something that got easier over time, through encouragement from other people and just getting older and wiser.
There is confusion over what defines a Christian. Often people may label themselves as Christians because of:
1/ They were brought up that way, 2/ They come from a country which this is assumed to be the ‘default’ faith is part of their identity, 3/Once went to church or sunday school, or went to an educational establishment affiliated with a church, 4/ Got baptised as a child.
I personally think that a true Christian:-
1/ Has made a personal decision to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, 2/ goes to a church regularly, 3/ lives a life of integrity to try and follow the examples of Jesus.
Fallen away. Often I hear of people who are or were Christians but no longer have a current relationship with God. This can happen by circumstances such as a relationship with a non-believer, a weekend work schedule that means no longer regularly attending a church, sadness or disappointment over a loss like bereavement or relationship that has ended. I think its important for us as Christians who know people like to keep in touch with those who may be absent from church, not to be forceful in telling them to come back, more to be a friend to those, and demonstrate through our actions that they are missing out on the love of Jesus.
Just like someone told me, just because you go to a church it doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
The media especially the BBC loves to show Christians as being frumpy, old fashioned and irrelevant. A particular case I can think of is a group of Christian teenagers being asked questions about sex, explained how they had a different attitude that what conventional thinking would be of that of their peers in school and college, you could tell the presenters of the program thought they were boring and prudish.
The scriptures do warn us against being ‘luke warm’ (Revelation 3 : 16) and real Christians are obliged to meet together and have fellowship and be accountable (Hebrews 10 : 25) as sin is inevitably going to happen in our lives.
I think articles like this are far from being helpful or a true picture of Christians, but as true believers we should aim to show Christ through our actions and words.
Hi Jon. I too saw this article via another blog I read and that writers thoughts gave me a different take. Take a look http://jasonclark.ws/more-teens-becoming-fake-christians My thoughts were that it wasn’t saying they were fake in the sense of not being saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus, but they could be living out the true life of being a Christian in a more radical way. Jesus turned the world and it’s values upside down. We too often conform to the western comforts and capitalist lies. Following Jesus is about living for and loving like him. A tough challenge. I don’t want to be fake or point people to a less than life changing experience of the grace I have been given. Blessings
Hey Jon, yeah I saw your answer to this you posted, and I had halfway drafted out the above article. Its true there are Christians as you say who only do the minimum expected by just going to church and not living Jesus the other 6 days of the week. As you say its a tough challenge to apply this to all aspects of life. cheers.