Those Most Endangered
I’ve written before about the three groups of “Christians” in our society. You have the Cultural Christians, who have adopted the name simply because they grew up with this heritage. You have the Congregational Christians, who have a light link through very basic beliefs and maybe Easter attendance. And you have the Convictional Christians, who pay attention to the Bible teaching regularly, attend church gatherings regularly, have a worldview that is driven by the Bible, with corresponding values, and are active in living out those values with family and in service.
In the 21st century of the United States, even though a large majority of people still call themselves “Christian,” a large majority of that total falls within the Cultural and Congregational categories. They, in truth, care little about the Bible or practicing their faith. Their worldview is dominated by what they learn in public schools, or from the liberal media of movies, television, and CNN type journalists (Darwinist evolution, calling homosexuality an acceptable lifestyle, wanting sex to be pretty much anything desired between consenting adults, approving of abortion because it honors the choice of the mother, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, all of those represented in the last sentence are people to be loved and cared for, but we fail to do so when we deny them what they most need, a real relationship with the God of the Bible and his Son, Jesus Christ.
As a result of this, we end up with four groups. The fourth is all those who do NOT call themselves Christian in any way, either because they practice another religion, or because they don’t practice any organized religion at all. Most of our evangelistic efforts are made to win over to Christ those in this fourth category, the non-believers in Christ. But the truth is, the largest group who need to see Jesus for who he really is, and then respond to him, are the Cultural and Congregational Christians. They are in the unenviable position of thinking they are Christian when they are not, and as a result they see no need to make any effort to change their ways. Why do I say they are not Christian? First of all, sure, some of them may be Christian, albeit weak ones, this is not an absolute statement. But most of them I dare to say have no real faith in Christ, and they fail and sometimes refuse, to follow him. That is the definition of a Christian, someone who follows Christ.
Am I “better” than them? No. I’m a sinner saved by grace, but grace extended because I follow in the shadow of Jesus. How do we convince such people they need to be close enough to the Lord to be in his shadow also? I’m not sure, honestly. It’s a tough nut to crack, to use that phrase. Often it takes some catastrophic type event in such a person’s life to make them realize their mortality and that life success with all the trimmings is temporary at best, that good health can quickly be impacted by many things, and certainly neither provide for eternity.
My prayer is that all reading this article will assess which category they fit in, and if not the category of Convictional Christian, ask: What is needed to truly be a disciple of Jesus? If I’ve not enough faith in Christ to follow him, what do I have faith in? (We all live by some form of faith.) Is that faith sufficient?
Cross Point: “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). This is often used as an evangelistic verse, but in context it is a call for “Christians” who have wandered from Christ to return, allowing love for him to dominate the disciple’s life.