One of my friends in Scotland commented that Christianity in America is a mile wide and an inch deep. After returning to America from living overseas twice as an adult, I would say this is a fair assessment.
The majority of Americans identify as Christians. However, their response to Gallup and Barna polls reveals there’s a disconnect, even a contradiction, between what self-ascribing Christians actually believe and claim. Sadly, poll results indicate that most self-ascribing American Christians, while they state they would like to read the Bible more, are unfamiliar with fundamental Biblical facts, they misunderstand or have no knowledge about what Jesus says about himself, salvation, heaven, hell, or death.
Some self-ascribing Christians claim that, “born-again Christians are disturbing.” (Such a claim either represents ignorance or the rejection of Jesus Christ’s teachings recorded in the four gospels as true. Clearly explained in John 3:1-21 and elsewhere, Jesus himself declared that salvation from sin/separation from God is that one “must be born again.”)
Some self-ascribing Christians either support abortion now, or had the opportunity to prevent it or did nothing after the U.S. Supreme Court’s final ruling in 1973. Some self-ascribing Christians have expressed “horror” over abortion practices (like Kermit Gosnell’s) but voted for and continue to justify their support of leaders who advocate for infanticide and sex-selective abortions.
Still others, support same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue, unable to understand its spiritual and biblical origin, while also whining about religious rights issues. Such claims, that completely ignore, reject and/or misinterpret biblical truth clearly articulated by the God they claim to worship, obviously mislead and confuse non-Christians.
To be sure, many Christians make mistakes, misunderstand and/or disagree about scriptural interpretation. Christians aren’t saints. Some have committed crimes.
But straightforward falsehood guised as Christianity is dangerous. If one does not know what is true, it will be exceedingly difficult to identify what is false.
This is falsehood: a person who claims to be a Christian yet, both in word and deed:
• Claims: “I will stand with Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”
• Claims: “The future does not belong to those who slander Islam.”
• Claims: “America is no longer a Christian nation.”
• Gestures with the al-Shahada affirming what Muslims believe to be true: “There is but one god (Allah) and Muhammad is his messenger.”
• Lies about incontrovertible historical facts about Christianity.
• Purges Christians from the U.S. military; punishes chaplains, and hires key staff with known ties to the Muslim Brotherhood — a group committed to killing Jews and Christians.
• Refuses to name evil: (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), but instead funds its widespread ethnic cleansing campaign and persecution of Christians.
This is truth: a genuine born-again, Bible-believing and following Christian is first known by their confession, witness and testimony that Jesus Christ is Lord, is the only son of God, and that he and the father are one. Jesus claimed that only through him can anyone can know God and that through him alone can one have eternal life. Either Jesus is who he says he is or he isn’t.
True Christian belief is evidenced in the out-workings of one’s faith: repentance, obedience, sacrifice, service and evangelism (highlighted in Acts 2; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 5; Gal. 5; Hebrews 11; James 2; 1 John 1:3; Luke 10, 15; Matt. 28, Romans).
Those who claim to be a Christian, but persecute Christians and shield persecutors from justice are what Jesus’ disciple Peter describes as: “springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (2 Pet. 2:12-19).
Timothy also clarifies: “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain” (1 Tim. 6:3-5).
Easter is not only the most important date of the year for Christians — but it presents the opportunity for everyone to understand the consequence of rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord: death (Romans 6:23).
As is the consequence for those who make false claims. Jesus said of them, “I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matt. 7:21-23). He also warned, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”