04 January 2008

"Real" Christianity

Who is the "real" Christian?

The Lone Wolf: To some it is a de-centralized independent faith where one just needs a "relationship" with Jesus and a Bible to find their way. The flaw? This is where all heresies begin. It makes each Christian their own infallible pope.

The Activist:
To others it is a life of community action and social justice. The Christian life is seen as one of service to the sick, the poor, and the exploited. The flaw? Good works are the result of our faith, not the basis of our salvation. Christians should be involved, but social action alone does not make one a "real" Christian.

The Mystic: "Working out your salvation" is another idea. A life spent in contemplation and prayer, reading Scriptures and seeking after God. This person can be found at a prayer meeting but rarely helping out at the soup kitchen.

The Holy Roller: Signs and wonders follow this person everywhere. Car won't start? Lay hands on the hood and rebuke Satan. Shando! Move out of the way mountain! Without sound doctrine and accountability it is easy to be deluded and deceived. Miracles do not validate doctrine.

The Apologist: Then there is the intellectual who can defend the faith and eloquently explain the Scriptures. Just knowing about the space shuttle and the history of the space program doesn't make you an astronaut. The head and the heart must be in synch.

Un Cœur simple: Finally, there's the Christian who just lives their life loving Jesus, reading a daily devotional, praying, and going to Church. This is the simple soul who is satisfied with their life in Christ the way it is. They never long for anything more than what they have. Some might call them lukewarm. I've met hundreds of these Christians and they're probably the most common type.

So what is a "Real" Christian? That's not for me to judge. It probably involves a little mix of everything mentioned above. I've met many with an authentic faith from all the categories. What I do know from Scripture and History is that those who became disciples of Jesus recognized Him as the Son of God, they were baptized into Christ, they followed the Apostolic teaching, they gave what they had to help the less fortunate, and they met frequently for Holy Communion and prayer. The Body of Christ was made up of many different parts, each with its own purpose and personality.

As much as I hate to admit it, not even being in the true Church made someone a real Christian. But, on the flip side, there were no real Christians outside the Church. With just three legs a stool is made stable: the Bible, the Church Doctrine, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wasn't just given to individuals at Pentecost, He filled the new nation called by the Name of Christ.

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