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What is True Christianity(tm)? (part 3)

In part 1, I talked about how skeptics and atheists often complain when I (or another apologist) make the comment that such-and-so Christian is wrong.  The skeptic usually says it means I have found “True Christianity™” and every other Christian who disagrees is going to go to hell.

Not so.  And there’s no such thing as True Christianity™.

In part 2, I discussed degrees of wrong, using a traffic light as a guide.  Green light is 99% of Christianity; just denominations hashing out some differences of procedure.  Yellow light redefines core doctrines.  Red light denies core doctrines and is strongly associated with a central figure who receives his own divine revelations.

Paul talks about agreeing to disagree, to welcome everyone and to not make the work of God void over what we should eat and drink.  So can we ever fight for the faith?

In green light situations, there is no reason to fight.  My own denomination is the United States branch of a German group, so it isn’t its own denomination proper.  However, we’ve split twice in the last 30 years.  In the mid-80s, Grace College and Ashland College split over the classic Calvinism (Ashland) versus Arminianism (Grace) battle.  In the early 90s, a Grace professor split over who to welcome into churches.

These aren’t worthwhile fights, but I know they happen anyway and will continue to happen until Christ returns.  We should just let these green light situations be, and live as peaceably as possible with them as it depends on us.

Yellow light and red light situations are totally different.

In the case of Ergun Caner, an example of a yellow light situation, it kills me to see Christians not care that he lied about his background to win Muslims to Christ.  All these Christians care about is that Caner won them.  What does that say about their moral character if they are willing to excuse (I can’t believe I’m about to use this derided expression) lying for Jesus?

The ends do not justify the means.  I know that God has called Christians to a higher standard than that.  Which means that we should win people with the truth to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  And when we see lying like this, we should repudiate it and the supporters of it (I’m looking at you, Norm Geisler).

A bona fide red light situation, such as Harold Camping’s Family Radio, should be addressed expeditiously.  Today, October 21, is allegedly the end of the world according to Harold Camping.  Yet I’m here to write this and I presume someone is reading this.

Camping and his Family Radio movement deny the presence of the Holy Spirit within the universal church and have fixed today somewhat arbitrarily as the end of the world.  That, together with the strong association with Camping, gives this the earmarks of heresy outlined in my previous post.

This error needs to be addressed, and Camping called to repentance.  (I already did back in May.)

I hope that this series of posts have cleared up what True Christianity™ is, and is not.  God has promised to preserve his church on earth, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.  So whether we identify as Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Reformed Baptist, Grace Brethren, or Anglican, we should welcome each other with open arms in our churches and celebrate our differences rather than be divided by them.

When redefinition occurs, we should point it out.

When denial occurs, we should repudiate it.

Above all, we should join with Jesus in prayer that we be one, as he and the Father are One.

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on October 21, 2011, in Apologetics, God, Heresy, Religion, Theology. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Cory, I really enjoyed this series. I think it is very important to clarify which issues are–or are not–issues which separate people from the one true faith. Thanks!

    • The list I repeated in part 1 is a great start, but I think that there’s some more issues then just that. For example, you need a high view of Scripture, and willingness to submit to the teachings of your church on that list as well. Commitment to self-examine in light of 2 Peter 1:3-15.

      That’s a start. I might pick it up and do that sometime in the near future, but I want to turn my attention back to some housekeeping issues right now. Both on the blog and in my actual house.

  2. Cory, I read your posts about when to fight for the faith with interest, and I agree with the gradations of concern that we should show. We have disagreed before, but was always over green-light kinds of things. This one… I could not tell if it was a green or a yellow. If by faith, you meant something like “a genuine walk with God”, then I have no problem with that, we agree. Just let me know.

    My alarm came from what “read” to me like a statement that relegates an aspects of our salvation to works. If I did not say it that clearly before, then I apologize. To be clear then: I am concerned that your definition of salvation requires works as a condition of entering Heaven… so I retreated to a stricter definition of faith than what I would normally require when talking to someone… There are many definitions obviously, and if I understand where someone is coming from, then I will converse with their definition. In this however, I resorted to what I believe scripture defines “faith” as being, which is the belief aspect and salvific aspect of our walk with God. Our actions come from that faith, and without them a person has no way of judging whether I am saved. I also put forth the scriptures that I use to back up my understanding (assuming I am understanding!)… in part to allow you to point out my own fallibility if that be the case.

    Ordinarily, I would take such potential disagreement as “me reading too much things”. However, you were sooooo strongly emphatic about rejecting a definition of faith that does not include works, that I thought I might be seeing a yellow light. If we are merely defining words differently, and disagreeing on how they should be used, then great. However, for the moment, I cannot tell.

    One last point: your responses to my posts seem like characterizations of my tactics, rather than responses to my arguments. Perhaps I was too verbose, leaving you with nothing to really respond to. If that is the case, then again I apologize. However, if you do follow my argument, if our hearts agree, but it’s our minds struggling, then anything you can do to help connect the dots between your perspective and mine would be appreciated. No pressure obviously. It may not be a constructive use of your time… but if you want me to realize that our disagreement is just because we’re using different definitions, and hence we do not really disagree, then I would hope you’d spend the time.

  3. .WASHINGTON ABP — A former conservative Congressman and ordained Baptist minister says extremists like Fred Phelps Westboro Baptist Church and members of a Christian militia group arrested in Michigan for plotting to wage civil war against the United States are giving Christians a bad name and should be repudiated. …Watts a former youth minister and associate pastor at in Del City Okla. said every Christian in America should be outraged by both the self-described Christian militia group and the independent Baptist congregation from Topeka Kan. notorious for picketing funerals of American soldiers with placards bearing messages like God Hates Fags….Christians cannot allow the lines to be blurred which is what the secularists want said Watts who last August at the New Baptist Covenant Midwest Regional meeting in Norman Okla. Christians should denounce such groups because what these people are doing does not reconcile with true Christianity or biblical principles.

  1. Pingback: Really Recommended Posts 11/5/11 « J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason"

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