Well, when looking for a true Christian, someone who actually believes, there are a few things to look for.
1) Christ. I mean actually knowing him. Even if you are new to the religion. Jesus Christ is to be more than just a name. He's to be your savior, redeemer, comfort, father, and friend. If you don't know Christ, and what he did for you, you are not a Christian.
2) Change. There's an expression in the world of Christians. If you are "saved" you recognize your sin and God's ultimate power, and the divide between the 2 of you. A Saved Christian is someone who strives to be more like Christ. And they strive to love others sacrificially, they strive to turn away from their sin (anything against God's commands)
3) Difference. There seems to be something different about Christians, true Christians. Maybe you might not be able to tell what it is. But when you have eternal hope in life and confidence that you have God on your side, you tend to act differently than the rest of the world. In fact, the Bible calls for Christians to be set apart from the rest of the world.
I hope this answers your question! You can contact me if you have any more. :)
The Good, The Bad, & The Holy Spirit
How can you tell if a Christian is really a Christian? Now that's an interesting question. Obviously if you ask a person, specifically a Christian, you're always gonna get a different answer. Personally, I believe it's a person's action that defines who they are. The same is said for Christians. In fact, why don't we talk about three individuals who are seen as good Christians in the eyes of the public.
Martin Luther King Jr.
I don't believe this is someone who needs any introduction. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the great pioneers of the civil rights movement. His "I Have a Dream" speech was been taught in every history class across America. Inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi, he fought against racism through nonviolence and civil disobedience. He inspired a national during the 60s and still inspires many generations afterwards.
Desmond Tutu was a South African archbishop and human rights activist. Like MLK, he was a pioneer for civil rights in his country of South Africa, fighting against similar acts of segregation. His efforts and his teachings helped earn him the Nobel Peace Prize. His efforts didn't end there. He was also a strong activist for gay rights, believing that all were equal in the eyes of God. He has even stated that if God was homophobic then we would not worship that god. This is an exact quote from him:
"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level."
He sadly passed away a few months ago from cancer at the age of 90. I've only learned of his passing recently and it pains me greatly.
Like King Jr. I don't think this man needs further introductions. Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers, was a Presbyterian minister and television host best known for hosting the beloved preschool television series Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, which aired on television from 1968 to 2001. You know him best from his friendly smile and his fantastic sweaters. His show helped teach children important life lessons such as not to tell lies and that it was okay to be a kid. He also wasn't afraid to discuss heavy subjects such as death and divorce to children, feeling that children are capable of understanding such subjects.
Now that we've talk about the good let's talk about three Christians who are deplorable in the eyes of the public.
Jim Bakker is a Christian televangelist and con artist. Some may recognize him from The 700 Club and his own television program, The Jim and Tammy Show. His shows mainly consisted of him preaching to the audience and getting them to donate to his church. He managed to steal from his congregation through their donations and used it for his own needs. H was arrested and charge with multiple accounts of fraud and was sentenced to eight years in prison, serving only five and released on parole.
He also raped his secretary Jessica Hahn. While she never said she never called the incident rape she never called the sexual encounter consensual, so I'm gonna call it what it really is. It's rape. Bakker kept her silent by paying her $279,000, some of that money was from the donations from his followers. To this day Jessica Hahn has not received any justice for the assault.
Fred Phelps was the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is essentially a Christian hate group. He's mainly infamous for his deplorable views on homosexuality and leading his followers to protesting at funerals for gay people, military vets, and disaster victims who he believed were killed by God as a means for tolerating homosexuality. Thankfully, the world got a little quieter when he passed away back in 2014.
Now this individual is likely going to stir up some controversy here but that's okay. For those who don't know Dennis Rader is one of the most infamous serial killers in American history. He is identified as the BTK killer. BTK are the abbreviations for "Bind", "Torture", "Kill", which was his modus operandi. Throughout the 1970s and 80s he tortured and killed ten people: seven women, one man, and two children. For the longest time he was never caught by the authorities, often sending them cryptic letters taunting them. He was finally arrested in 2005 when police traced a floppy disc that contained metadata leading back to his church. Rader is currently incarcerated, serving a life sentence without parole.
So why am I adding one of the most notorious serial killers to this list. It is important to know that he is in fact Christian. He was a fell active and devoted member of his church, Christ Lutheran Church. He was elected president of the church council and was a Cub Scout leader. Now it is important to note that he didn't commit these crimes in the name of Christianity. Yet he was still Christian while he committed these crimes.
I know someone will read this and say that I'm cherry picking the bad guys, or they'll say they aren't real Christians, but here's the reality. Whether you like it or not those people represent your religion to the world. When Fred Phelps and his members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested at soldier funerals it casts a shadow on all of Christianity. Or when a televangelist finds themselves in a major scandal, using donations to their church as a means for their benefits, it looks bad. Or when a pastor preaches horrible advice that have extreme and dire consequences, it looks bad. Or a youth pastor is arrested for things he's done to the people they were supposed to be guiding and protecting, it looks bad. To borrow a quote from Trevor of the Belief it or Not podcast, I'm not the one trying to make Christianity look bad, these people are. If there's anything you should take out of this post it this: the three I mentioned aren't not terrible Christians, they are terrible people. All they've done their entire lives is hurt people.
To me, this is how you tell if someone is really a Christian. On how whether their actions and words help people versus hurt people.
But let's say that you are right. Christianity had it right all along. Not just that but your version of Christianity was the right way. So my question for you is this, shouldn't you be way more angry that the people I listed are doing more damage to your religion and your god? If you are angry, what are you doing to change it? If not, why aren't you angry about it?
I've said this before but it's worth repeating. If you truly want to be a good Christian be like Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu, and Fred Rogers. These three have spent their entire lives helping people, not because it was their Christian duty but they saw the world as broken and in need of fixing. And the way they went about it was through kindness, generosity, and compassion. These are the exact teachings from the Bible that every Christian should be living up to. Honestly if there was a heaven I would rather spend an eternity with those three rather than spend it with Bakker, Phelps, and Rader. Because spending an eternity with horrible people doesn't sound like heaven, does it?
Now some of you are going to point out that I chose these individuals because I either like/dislike them or agree/disagree. Honestly I can do the same in regards to any other religion like Islam or Judaism. Heck, I can even do the same for atheism. There's certainly some atheists I like like Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist and other atheists that are insufferable asses like Bill Maher. Again, that's not the point of this post. Regardless of one's faith or lack thereof you are ultimately defined by your words and actions. That's what either compares or separates you from so many others. Bottom line, just be kind to others, treat them with respect even if you don't completely agree, and call out those who are intentionally doing harm to others.
#atheist #atheism #religion #Christianity
People shouldn't have to say "I'm a Christian" our words and actions should show it. Christians are flawed not perfect...with acceptance we are given the grace of salvation. No one knows a person's heart and their relationship with Christ but the good Lord and that person. It is a personal walk. There is only one seat of judgment and we don't occupy that seat.
Honestly, there is one thing (in my opinion) that separate true Christians from false ones.
True Christians (in my opinion) live by the Bible and by the God of the Bible (meaning that they let go of things that don't line up with the Bible (I'm saying Bible a lot, aren't I?).
Those people who cruelly condemn others? Well, they're not true Christians, because they're living in hate, and God calls us to love everyone. As long as someone lets go of any sin they were holding on to, no matter how late it may seem for them, they can be a Christian - it's not an all exclusive kind of thing. It was never meant to seem like an all exclusive kind of thing either, and false Christians are leading others away by making it appear that way. We don't have to be perfect, and the hypocrites that act so aren't. Lastly, (sorry that this is kind of disorganized) true Christians seem to have this loving quality that's easy to see but hard to explain - like this light that's inside of them but kind of shines on the outside, too. There are a lot of other things in the Bible that (through stories, parables, and the like) separate true Christians from false ones, but I'll end this here.
Words of Motherly Wisdom
You may have seen my recent post about what a true Christian is. Most of what I said, I have come to believe and understand because of conversations with my Mom.
So, here are two things she's said, that have stuck with me:
1. "Look at their fruit. If they're not bearing fruit, that means they're probably not a Christian."
2. "We're not Christians in today's sense of the word; we're Christ-Followers. There's a difference."
What does this make me think? That I have a very wise mother.
Just Be a Good Person
That is difficult to answer because someone’s knowledge or denomination of that religion makes it entirely subjective. My maternal grandparents were Missionary Baptists and genuinely good people. Did that make them true Christians? I don’t know. My grandfather was overweight and my grandmother ate shellfish. Both are no-no’s mentioned more than homosexuality in the Bible. Did that make them fake Christians? I still don’t know. They tried to be what they thought a good Christian is.
In my opinion, anyone that teaches their children a story about a God committing the most thorough act of genocide in their version of human history are more likely to knowingly or subconsciously accept atrocities committed against other humans as long as they believe that it is justified by their religion. Does that make all of its followers bad people. No. Just more likely to be compliant with bad leaders.
Do not Judge
I believe a Christian should not try to determine who is and you is not "a real" Christian. It is not our place to decide who does and does not receive salvation. It is God's alone. We can never truly know the condition of someone else's heart. It is not my place to judge the servant of another (Romans 14:4). To do so is to usurp the one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy (James 4:12)
A Christian is commanded to love God and to love their neighbor, (Matthew 22:36-40), not to judge.
Not our place to judge
Reading through the posts, I see a lot of talk about homosexuality and God. Yes, the Bible says that it's an abomination. But NOWHERE does it say that God will reject you for it. It's a sin, yes. So is cursing, coveting, overeating, smoking, sex outside of marriage, and believe it or not fellas, when you pull out and "spill your seed upon the ground". Many many things are a sin. That's why Jesus came, to wash those sins away. Being gay doesn't mean there is a seat reserved in hell for you. And anyone preaching hell and damnation to you needs to go back and read his Bible again!
As for telling a true christian, we humans can't. It's not our place. Only God knows what is in someone's heart.