What is a ‘true Christian’?
A lot of Christians claim that the people involved in the crusade, Inquisition and other crimes against humanity were not ‘true Christians’ and they had a distortion of the truth.
Since Christianity is the largest religion people have had to define what a Christian is/was. Usually people define a religion by its beliefs, or at least its apparent beliefs. They believe that Jesus rose and died again, they also believe in some sort of eschatological ‘second coming’ and that one needs to have a relationship with the Triune God. The list goes on and on. However, if we were to define a Christian by their actions, what would they be?
Dare I say the best definition of a ‘true Christian’ would be, Mathew 25:35-46:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Instead of defining a Christian due to their Christological belief’s and we look at a Christian according to their actions, a different picture can be seen of what and who Christianity is.
Christianity is no more about going to church, but about visiting people in prisons.
Christianity is no more about the Eucharist, but about feeding people.
Christianity is no more about baptism, but giving people something to drink.
Christianity is no more about fancy clothes and wearing the right things in ‘God’s presence’ but rather clothing the naked.
Christianity is no more about being pretentious at church, but welcoming strangers into your home.
The demographics of ‘true Christians’ would become very different. People who considered themselves Atheists, due to their beliefs are now considered Christians, due to their actions.
A ‘true Christian’ fights for justice; that is all. True Christianity is not decided upon your denomination, beliefs or ethnicity, but whether you fight for justice.
What separates Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, William Wilberforce from the likes of John Calvin, David Koresh and other people considered ‘evil’ is the fact they fought for justice.
Perhaps one of the major themes throughout the Bible is the fight for justice.
James 1:26-27: 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Deuteronomy 16: 18 Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly. 19 Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent. 20 Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Deuteronomy 24: 17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. 18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.
19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
Psalm 94: 3 How long, LORD, will the wicked,
how long will the wicked be jubilant?
4 They pour out arrogant words;
all the evildoers are full of boasting.
5 They crush your people, LORD;
they oppress your inheritance.
6 They slay the widow and the foreigner;
they murder the fatherless.
7 They say, “The LORD does not see;
the God of Jacob takes no notice.”
Isaiah 1: 16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
Jeremiah 22:3: 3 This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
The list goes on and on, but I think you get the picture.
I am interested in what you guys think, so I can reform this idea/theory. Thanks.
A true Christian follows the Bible to the letter in respect to Jesus. That being said, most Christians do NOT do this. Of course you can nitpick through the passages and pull out all the good ones of what the ideal Christian would or would not be or do, but the fact is that Jesus was a Jew and believed in the contents of the Old Testament (although he was far more tolerant of a person), and Christianity is based firmly in Judaism. Those that nitpick or ignore the terrible passages they're supposed to follow should petition to have them removed from the Bible.
As a rule of thumb, nobody to me is a real Christian, really. A real Christian would be a peculiar mix between the idea listed here and a radical Islamist.