How Do You Know You’re A Christian?

Talking about who is a Christian is a sensitive subject that sets me up for being called judgmental, Pharisee, legalistic, and a new one, “fundie.” I had to look it up because I had no idea what it meant:

fund·ie ˈfəndē/

noun

noun: fundie; plural noun: fundies

  1. Britishinformal

a fundamentalist, especially a Christian fundamentalist.

Well there you have it. Maybe you learned a new term too.

Saying You Are a Christian Is Not Good Enough!

I’ve been called many things, which I’ll be talking more about next week, but I’m distressed with how people casually call themselves a “Christian,” without really knowing what that designation means. Some believe they’re a “Christian” if they simply know about God or believe there is a God. Attend, serve in, or raised in church, attended a Christian school, have Christian parents, own a Bible, or even live in America. No heart change by personally asking Jesus into their heart and seeking forgiveness for their sins or having a relationship with Jesus and believing that salvation comes through Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross and resurrection. No casting off the old way of life for the new life in Christ, but still buying into the world’s ways. Yet, still thinking of themselves as Christians.

These in-name-only “Christians” often claim to be more “enlightened” then born-again Christians, saved by grace–who confess our sins and ask Jesus to forgive us and come into our heart. We make a commitment to live in a relationship with Him. Christians who depend on God to help us live by the principles in His Word hidden in our heart. We have the assurance our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life when our time comes to meet Jesus for eternity. We live in complete confidence and faith because Jesus is alive in our heart every day, and that’s what we celebrate next month at Easter. No question. Jesus is alive. We know that’s what it means when we say we’re a Christian!

Let me share with you four examples I encountered this week of the confusion in so many people’s minds of what it means to be a Christian. How is this happening? Why is it not clear to people? An immigrant understands the requirements to American citizenship and calling himself an American. How many have no idea how narrow the gate is into heavenly citizenship as a Christian? What does Jesus want you and me to do about this? Jesus wants none to perish.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matt. 7:13-14

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

  1.  Example: I am a Christian and so is my wife, although she is much more likely to describe herself as a feminist.

I’m sure there are Christian women entrapped by the feminists movement. But if being an activist takes priority over being a Christian, that’s a crisis of faith. If a woman identifies with the feminist movement instead of Christ, she’s replaced Christianity with feminism, or perhaps never knew Christ as her personal Savior. Here are several discussion points if you know a Christian feminist:

  • Research the background of the leaders of the feminist movement. None are Christians! They belong to other “isms,” and organization, but none profess to follow Jesus so why would you follow them?
  • Would you wear the “pink knitted hats,” carry the signs made for the marches, and chant the protests in or around your church?
  • Jesus loves the little children and He does not want one to perish. The central focus of the feminists is abortion. Some women in the marches were carrying signs that said Jesus’ mother Mary should have had an abortion. You can’t pick and choose what part of their agenda you want to endorse. How can you overlook these things as a Christian?
  • Jesus made Eve to be a helpmate to Adam, not to compete with or emasculate him.
  • Look up the goals of the feminist movement and try to justify them with Scripture.
  • Research Scriptures on how Christian women are to conduct themselves, even when they don’t like someone.
  1. Example: I go to a Christian church every Sunday and during Lent I go every day. I went to religious schools and my parents are Christian.

You’ve heard the saying that standing in the garage doesn’t make you a car. Going to church, even going every day and going during Lent, Christmas or Easter, doesn’t make us a Christian. Going to Christian schools, having Christian parents, reading Christian books, even reading the Bible, or being baptized doesn’t make us a Christian. It’s a personal decision that no one else can make for us, and Jesus is clear when He says we must be born again. I wonder how many people who call themselves “Christians” have actually asked Jesus to come into their heart, experienced that change of heart, and been spiritually born again.

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. John 3:3

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

  1. Example: I attend church regularly and volunteer there. I believe in separation of church and state and we should keep God out of our politics, as our forefathers intended.

Attending church and serving is wonderful, but works doesn’t make us a Christian. And we can’t keep God out of anything. God is omnipotent. He has all the power over everything. We don’t tell Him what to do or where He can go. But even many believers think: I trust God with eternity, but I make my own decisions down here.

  1. Example:As a Christian woman, I understand persecution, but I will not sit here and be persecuted,” Brazile said. “Your information is totally false.” —Donna Brazile in an interview with Megyn Kelley regarding the validity of the WikiLeaks emails that Brazile gave candidate Hillary Clinton’s camp debate questions.

March 17 the headlines were Brazile Admits She Forwarded Town Hall Questions to Clinton Camp after almost a year of denying —lying—even when leaked emails were evidence that she had cheated. But even worse, she tried to evoke Jesus as her alibi! Some would say she’s now making amends by confessing. Looking closer at the “essay” she wrote for Time Magazine, she only admits to passing along “topics,” not the specific questions, which the leaked emails show she did. The focus of her Time essay is blaming the Russians and Donald Trump, so it’s back to Eve in the Garden. Never does she humbly ask for forgiveness from the American people or from God. No sign of true repentance, which one would expect from a “Christian woman.” As one reporter said, there never is any guilt assigned. Every Christian knows confession is only complete when you humbly take full responsibility for your mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and repent . . . not shift the blame.

We don’t know Brazile’s faith background, but she may have used “Christian” in the interview to get Kelley to back off because the perception is that Christians tell the truth. She also claimed “persecuted” when she was actually receiving an opportunity to admit the truth.

In a Fox News panel discussing Brazile’s Time “confession,” Meghan McCain mentioned she was disappointed because Brazile had offered to pray for Meghan if she ever needed it. Our witness is always on trial as Christians.

Perhaps political zeal was too big a temptation when so many thought Clinton would win. But as happens so often when we defy God’s ways, it backfired. As God brings Donna Brazile to mind, pray she will truly repent and not just regret she sent the emails, but seek forgiveness.

For there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. Matt 10:26

I suppose the litmus test for knowing that you’re a Christian is when you can confidently—no doubts—answer the question the Gideon’s asked us in church this morning: Where are you going to spend eternity?

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

But these are written that you may believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.—John 20:31

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Comments

  1. Tracy Wilson says:

    Excellent blog, just shared it on Facebook.
    I would like your advice and opinion if you are willing to share…
    In our world of social media, we can be transparent and voice our opinions openly.
    Right before the election, my very favorite Bible teacher, who I looked up to, and who helped me through several difficulties through her studies, made some very feminist comments on her Twitter page. I was devastated, as were many others. I felt that what she was saying definitely did not line up with God’s Word, or her teaching and it was causing division in the church.
    As many voiced their opinions and concern, including me, I never saw her apologize for the hurt she was causing. She simply did not answer me and many, or only responded in defense.
    Wondered what your thoughts are on this.
    I was crushed, but God showed me I was placing more trust in her teaching than in His Word.
    Thanks Janet.

    • Janet Thompson says:

      Tracy thank you for sharing the post. In regards to the Bible teacher, you mentioned this happened on Twitter and “many voiced their opinions and concern” and you never “saw her apologize” so I’m thinking this was all communicated via Twitter or social media rather than face to face. Matthew 18:15-17 gives a clear guide how to handle disputes in the church. Asking to talk to her in person, explaining your confusion with examples of her teaching/Scripture and her words not lining up. If she doesn’t listen the next step is to take someone with you to meet with her, maybe someone else you mentioned, and then if that doesn’t work or she won’t meet with you, go to the pastor with your concerns. Especially if she is a Bible teacher in the church. This takes a little effort and courage, but it’s biblical and stops the gossip and as you said hurt etc. I’m guessing this didn’t happen?

      • Tracy Wilson says:

        Janet, I failed to explain that this is a well known Bible teacher who holds conferences, has written many books and Bible studies.
        I didn’t think it would be fair to mention her name, but I did address my concern, confusion and hurt to her more than once, with no response.
        I know we are all human, but I still struggle with all that happened.

        • Janet Thompson says:

          Oh sorry I thought this was in your church. Then I hold to my statement in this blog post: “But if being an activist takes priority over being a Christian, that’s a crisis of faith. If a woman identifies with the feminist movement instead of Christ, she’s replaced Christianity with feminism,” I wrestled with adding she has made feminism her idol, but today “well-known Bible teachers” and pastors and people can become “idols” too where they are worshipped more than God’s message and Word, and I think that’s the conclusion you came too. Our Bibles are available to each of us to study on our own and God speaks to each of us if we will just listen. We don’t need an interpreter. That’s the beauty of having Jesus and God’s Word in our heart. I think we forget about that sometimes. He gives us the same wisdom and discernment as those on podiums, we just need to dig in and do the hard work of studying. I’m sorry you had this encounter, we’re all human and like I pointed out with Donna Brazile, as Christian women, it’s important we’re willing to admit it our mistakes and ask for forgiveness…you know what the Bible says about pride. But don’t let it divide you. Just learn from this and always seek discernment from the Lord. Don’t take what I saw either, or any pastor or Bible teacher, without confirming it with Scripture and prayer. All of us should be willing to be held to God’s standards.

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