Monday, October 31, 2005

Will the "Real" Christian Please Stand Up?

There was a game show that aired while I was a young teenager. I can't recall the name of it, but there were three people who would all claim to be a certain person and try to convince the panelists that they were that person. In the process of the show, and after the three people had answered questions asked of them by the panelists, the panelists would all guess which of the three people was the real person he claimed to be. At the very end of the show the host would say "will the real (person) please stand up?" It would end with the three people doing a small but dramatic show, as though each was going to stand, but the real person would finally stand, leaving the other two sitting to reveal which was really the person whom he claimed to be.

The Bible tells us about people who will profess to be Christians but are not. The moniker they are given is apostate. What is apostasy?

http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~nurelweb/books/concise/WORDS-A.html:

"APOSTASY: the abandonment or renunciation of a RELIGION, such as CHRISTIANITY or ISLAM, either voluntarily or by compulsion. There are frequent Biblical allusions to the EVILS and the dangers of apostasy. It is described as departure from the FAITH 1 Timothy 4:1-3; being carried away by the error of lawless men Hebrews 3:12. The great apostasy, "The Rebellion" 2 Thessalonians 2:3, is associated with the return of CHRIST and the end of the world or JUDGMENT DAY."

The Bible has much to say on the subject of apostasy:

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

2 Peter 2:1-19

1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.

2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell
,[a] putting them into gloomy dungeons[b] to be held for judgment;

5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
6if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men
8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—
9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.[c]
10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature[d] and despise authority.
Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings;

11yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.
12But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
13They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you
.[e
]
14With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!
15They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.
16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—a beast without speech—who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness.
17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.

18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.
19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.

Jude

4For certain men whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.

11Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.
12These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.

13They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

16These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

(All scripture taken from BibleGateway.com)

There are, of course, those who seem to take the Bible with a "grain of salt," choosing which scripture holds meaning for them and which scripture does not. This is not to say that certain specifics of the Old Testament were not rendered unneccessary by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, by his resurrection and sacrifice, once for all, for our sins. What it means is that there is an overall message which the Bible brings us, it forms a whole which is mandatory for the Christian who wishes to understand certain passages. There must be cross referencing done and the Holy Spirit, most importantly, must guide each Christian into truth. But for those people who denounce the Bible as inerrant, what can one say to such? They will not read the Bible and heed it unless it somehow fits into their own relative right or wrong. Once a person has denied the inerrancy of scripture there is little one who believes in the Bible's inerrancy can do to speak to that person. In essence, they have made a choice which can no longer be appealed to on the basis of scripture, instead they will find their truth where they will find it, whether that be among selective passages of the Bible, among the passages of other religions or in the words of men who cannot know the mind of God.

Because we cannot know man's heart we cannot be man's judge. While there may be indicators of Christianity, there is no real way to discern if a man is a Christian or not, however, the Bible gives us clear evidence on how we may recognize false teachers. We can know what a minister of Christ should be doing. We can know what man is called to do, how he should be serving God. For further study on that topic and because it is too lengthy for me to quote, I provide this link: BibleGateway.com Topical Index: Index of M » MINISTER, CHRISTIAN

I don't believe it should be important to Christians to prove their Christianity to one another. It is an impossible task, for one thing. No one but God can judge your heart or mine. It should be enough for us to know that we are to take great care in protecting our doctrine, and great care in which men we allow to affect that doctrine. The Holy Spirit has been given to the Believer, I pray that all Believers take advantage of His want to guide us into truth.

So, the real Christian? Even if he stands up you may or may not be convinced, and you should not care whether you are convincing others of your Christianity. Believers, if focused on answering the call of Christ on their lives, will bear fruit. That fruit will be plain for all to see. Words do not convince, action does.

God bless all who read my blog.

1 comment:

Guy L said...

Spoken like a mighty warrior valiant for the truth! Im very joyful to call you my brother,please keep up the good work and prosper in His Spirit,in Jesus name and presence. Guy