What is a Real Christian?
Once again we have another controversy in the news about what it means to be a Christian. Who is a real Christian? What does a real Christian believe? What does a real Christian do? Are you a real Christian?
Franklin Graham, Al Sharpton, and a few left-leaning television talking heads seem to have different ideas about the subject. What do I think?
I think who cares what they think? It doesn’t matter what they think. It doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is what the Bible says. What matters is how closely one lines himself or herself up with the teachings of Jesus. The only thing that really matters is what He thinks.
Now, of course, since we have roughly a billion different Christian denominations, sects, offshoots, strange individuals who believe things no one else does, and the vast majority who think they are Christians no matter what it is they believe, there must be a final appeal to authority. There must be someone who straightens out the whole mess and sets us all straight.
That Someone is the Man who created Christianity.
He didn’t call it that. He had no church boards or elder boards or denominational leaders trying to outdo each other in a funny hat contest. The apostles wore no backwards collars. They didn’t affect some high-minded holier-than-all-you-unwashed-bozos arrogant religious attitude. The Lord was not judgmental, condemning, or prejudiced during His sojourn on earth 2000 years ago. He went out of His way to help people. Simple people. Ordinary people. Everyday people. He never acted toward religious bigwigs with one attitude and toward the lower classes with another attitude. What you saw was what you got. If you didn’t like it, it was your problem. And if you have a problem with Jesus, YOU HAVE A VERY BIG PROBLEM.
So what was the big controversy regarding Franklin Graham’s recent interview? The big thing, the main thing, was that the hosts could hardly believe Mr. Graham was questioning the president’s Christianity. “You don’t believe our president is a Christian?” they seemed to all think in unison.
But Franklin Graham was not swayed. It’s difficult for Christians to be nice to everyone and also tell the truth. Well, here’s a news flash: The Lord did not instruct His people to be nice to everyone. He taught them to go forth and tell the truth. He commanded them to go out and tell everyone the Good News. If someone does not like the Good News, tell it anyway. If someone makes fun of you for telling the Good News, tell it anyway. If someone wants to destroy your life, your reputation, or kill you, tell the Good News anyway.
Why else did all the original apostles except John die a violent martyr’s death? Why was the Lord Himself killed by a bunch of sorry religious idiots? Because He was nice guy?
The truth is not easy. It never has been.
Do I think the president is a real Christian? My opinion does not matter. Only God knows our hearts. Only God will ultimately judge us. But I can say that the Bible teaches that murder is a sin. And I can say that anyone who advocates for abortion is advocating for murdering tiny defenseless babies. And I can say anyone who argues that abortion is an option in the realm of “women’s health” is dead wrong from a Biblical point of view.
Unrepentant baby killers will not inherit the kingdom of God. There is absolutely no Scriptural backing anywhere in the teachings of Jesus that says murder is okay. In the Old Testament, murder was a stoning offense. For decades, the argument was repeatedly made that a “fetus” is not a life. It is a mere gob of tissue. We know now for a fact with no doubt whatsoever that the so-called “fetus” is definitely a life, and that life begins at conception. This has been scientifically proven. Ultrasound videos prove the little dudes and dudettes are alive and growing.
Leave that baby alone and that baby will come to full term and be born in almost every case.
The other big question posed to Franklin Graham was, “Are Mormon’s Christians?”
How do I answer that? Well, again, since we have roughly a billion different Christian denominations, sects, offshoots, strange individuals who believe things no one else does, and the vast majority who think they are Christians no matter what it is they believe, one might ask the Lord if Mormons are real Christians. In lieu of that, one may simply study the teachings of the Lord Jesus.
Shallow-minded believers must do some actual work for a change. Research the New Testament. May we all quit leaning on our stupid religious opinions and do what the Word of God says.
Celebrities, media people, and others in the spot light have gained an inordinate amount of influence regarding their personal beliefs. But who cares what anyone believes if it violates Scripture? The only thing that matters is obeying the Lord. The only thing that matters is submitting oneself to Him as a real disciple, otherwise known as a real Christian.
Real Christians practice Real Christianity to the best of their ability. There is a learning curve. Real Christians are not perfect. No one is except the Lord Himself. He is the only human being who has ever traversed His way through this earth without ever committing a single sin.
Whoever does not believe that is going to hell, simply because they do not believe in the only Way of salvation.
But what about all those people who are good people (etc etc etc etc etc) that never practiced Biblical Christianity? Uh, what about ‘em? Should we try to convince the Lord to let unrepentant sinners into heaven? Will one demand that God quit being such a jerk and let blatant sinners screw up heaven the same way they screwed up the earth?
Right. Yeah, let’s do that. Sure.
Rather than go around asking dumb questions with an attitude that all Christians are real Christians, wouldn’t it be better to become a real Christian and remove all doubt?
But what IS a real Christian?
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
“This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’” [John 15:1-25] 
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.