There are professing believers on social media that say they refuse to be called a Christian. We know this due to statements of this nature being publicly posted on Facebook. It was these shocking statements which motivated me to place the relevant article which follows further below. Here is a verbatim quote from the post which was placed on Facebook; I will uphold the anonymity of the author.
“If everything that is called Christianity in these days is Christianity, then there is no such thing as Christianity. A name applied indiscriminately to everything designates nothing.” – B.B. Warfield. I agree, that is why it has become increasingly important to define what you believe..like a personal confession of faith….many people say we should not associate with names like Calvinist, Reformed or whatever. I refer to myself as a Calvinist and Reformed because it define my believes which is based on the Bible. To say I am a Christian put myself in the same pool as Osteen, Warren, Hinn and many other which I do not want to be named with and which proclaim a false gospel. “
1. Some people endeavor to not be labelled and just want to be known as “Christian”.
2. This is a fallacy, and a cop-out, because today there is no such thing as ‘Christian’ which I wish to be identified with.
3. People walk with crossed around their necks and are ‘Christian’.
4. The Pope is ‘Christian’
5. False prophets are ‘Christian’
6. The Archbishop of Canterbury & Desmond Tutu are ‘Christian’.
7. Homosexuals are ‘Christian”.
8. Many supporters of Interfaith are ‘Christian’.
9. Todd Bentley is ‘Christian’.
10. Therefore I am NOT ‘Christian’ without defining myself, as I have nothing in common with the above people who are not followers of Christ Jesus as revealed in the Bible..
The word Christian is written in the Bible. Right? Therefore I declare to be nothing but a Christian. The discerning believer will know right from wrong, as it is God who leads His sheep. I totally reject man-made labels of any kind being applied to the true believer, in particular where such labels are applied with the intent of superseding the description, “Christian”. I am a sinner saved by grace alone, through faith alone, and the Bible denotes me as a Christian. I belong to Christ no one else.
I have bad news for the author of the disturbing piece which appeared on Facebook, and that is the mere fact that, to reject the word Christian, is to deny Christ in the believer. Nowhere in Scripture are saved believers called to define themselves by any man-made title other than Christian. Those are things which matter to denominational religionists, will-worshippers and Pharasaical legalists, they do not matter to followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Before we dig into the sermon notes below, let us simply overthrow the false assumption, immature argument and misrepresentation of B.B. Warfield’s words made by the deceived Facebook author.
At a quick glance the error in the “anti-Christian” Facebook quote is clear: B.B. Warfield is asking a rhetorical question here: “IF”, he says, “IF” being the operative and definitive word in the sentence, “IF” everything that is called Christianity in these days is Christianity, then there is no such thing as Christianity. However, the answer to this is, that NOT everything that is called Christianity is not Christianity, either. Therefore, true Christianity most definitely exists among those who call themselves Christians in these days, even according to Warfield!
I would say to the Facebook author that, if you don’t want to be a Christian, then God never called you to be one. Why then bother to even write such derogatory statements aimed against those who do want to be and are Christians? Rather just live the life of an unbeliever. It would be so much simpler and a lot more temporary fun.
That being said, however, here is the truth for you!!!
Listen to Sermon ~
“DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN?” — The word “Christian” was first applied to believers by those who lived around them in Antioch (Acts 11:26). The word “Christians” means “Anointed Ones.”Obviously, it was not used to deride these believers; but was used as a term of respect by those who were friendly toward them.
Later, God’s elect used the term to refer to themselves. Peter speaks of God’s suffering saints, assuring us that anyone who suffers “as a Christian,” anyone who suffers because of his faith in Christ, has no reason to be ashamed, but only to glorify God (1 Peter 4:16).
Yet, the word “Christian” was very soon corrupted in the minds of men to represent nothing more than a religious order, a religious system and a chosen set of beliefs. Agrippa told Paul that he was almost persuaded to become a Christian (Acts 26:28). Like most people today, that ignorant man thought, “I can choose to become a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Christian.”
Most people consider a Christian to be anyone who believes that Jesus of Nazareth is (or was) the Messiah. Papists, Mormons and Russellites (Jehovah’s Witnesses) as well as Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians are all considered “Christian” religions. Many think that all Americans are Christians, unless they choose some other religion. And many imagine that they are Christians because their parents are Christians, or because they have been raised in Church.
Would it be better to use the word “believer” to describe ourselves? In most of the churches with which you and I are commonly associated, “believer” is the word by which God’s saints are distinguished from others. Yet, that word is also corrupted by most. Indeed, many profess to be believers who are not. That has always been the case (John 2:23-25; 12:42-43). You may believe all the right doctrine and still be an unbeliever.
If I am asked, “Are you a Christian?” or “Are you a believer?” or “Are you born again?” I answer, “I hope that I am; and I am confident that my hope is good, because I believe that the man Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God. I trust him as my Savior and Lord. His blood alone has atoned for my sins. His righteousness alone makes me righteous. Yes, I hope I am born of God, a believer, a Christian, a child of God, because I trust Christ.”
Christianity is not just a religion. Christianity is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Many years ago I was asked by a man sitting next to me in a hospital, “What does it take to be a true Christian?” After a brief pause, praying that the Lord would give me the right words to answer him, I said, — “Nothing from you, but all of you. True Christianity is the voluntary surrender of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting him alone for the salvation of your soul.”
I ask you the question my granddaughter was asked last week. — “DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN?” If so, I ask you — “Why? What is the basis of your hope before God?” If you have a good hope, you can answer that question. If you do not have a good hope, you cannot and you are not a Christian.
(1 Peter 3:15) “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Do you hope to go to heaven when you die? Do you hope in the last day to hear the Lord of Glory call you saying, — “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”? Do you hope to escape the wrath of God in the day of judgment, and to be numbered among the white-robed throng of the redeemed? Do you have such a hope? If so, why? What is the reason of your hope?
Everyone says, “I have hope.” “I hope it will be all right at the last. I hope to go to heaven. I hope to be with the Lord.” But why do you have such a hope? What is the foundation of your hope? I fear that if I were to ask you to respond to those questions, many of you would be unable to do so. You hope you are saved. You hope to go to heaven. You hope to be accepted of God. But you have no reason for such a hope.
If you and I are believers, we ought to be able to give some reason for our hope. If our hope is sound, we should be able to show why, and wherefore, and upon what grounds, and for what reason we expect to go to heaven when we die.
Today, I want to talk to you plainly from my own experience about the reasons of my hope, the reasons why I do consider myself a Christian. You have my text before you. —— “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Somewhere between proud presumption and dread despair, there is the believer’s hope. — Somewhere between a fleshly familiarity with God and a slavish fear of God, there is the believer’s hope. — Somewhere between modern dispensationalism and medieval mysticism, there is the believer’s hope. — Somewhere between decisionism and fatalism, there is the believer’s hope.
Someone has said, “We are hedged in on two sides in the Word of God! On the one hand, there are the promises of God, lest we should despair. On the other hand, there are his warnings, lest we presume.
When the prophet Jeremiah looked around him, he was compelled to weep. He had seen the desolations of Jerusalem. He had felt the bitterness, the wormwood and the gall of God’s hard providence. But when all else is gone, there is the believer’s hope. The prophet looked up to his God, the fountain of all grace, wiped away his tears and said, — “The Lord is my portion saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”
What is our hope? It is defined by Charles Buck like this: — “The hope of a Christian is an expectation of all necessary good both in time and eternity, founded upon the promises, relations, and perfections of God, and on the offices, righteousness, and intercession of Christ. It is a compound of desire, expectation, patience, and joy.”
In the Scriptures, the people of God are said to have “a good hope through grace,” a “blessed hope,” and a hope that is “sure and steadfast.” Hope is the anchor of our souls amidst the tempestuous trials, troubles and heartaches of life. But a hope which anchors the soul must be a hope founded upon and established with good reasons.
Proposition: If my hope is one “that maketh not ashamed” I must be able to give a reason for my hope.
What is the reason of your hope? Why do you consider yourself a Christian?
- An old religious experience? — Saul had that.
- Great religious privileges? — Lot’s wife had that.
- Religious works and devotion? — The Pharisees had those.
- Religious acquaintances and friends? — Judas had those.
- Feelings and convictions? — Agrippa had those.
- Strict morality? — The Pharisees had that.
- An orthodox creed? — Diotrephes had that.
- Great sacrifice? — Ananias and Sapphira had that.
- Church membership? — Demas had that.
- Miraculous gifts? — Simon Magus had those.
Divisions: Let me give you the reasons of my hope, the reasons why I hope I am a Christian. Perhaps you have hope for the same reasons that I do.
1. Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God (Matthew 16:16).
2. Jesus Christ is able to save the chief of sinners (Hebrews 7:25).
3. The Lord Jesus Christ is able to keep that which I have committed unto him (2 Timothy 1:12).
4. I have both heard and obeyed the Word of God (John 8:47).
5. The Lord is my portion (Lamentations 3:24).
6. I have not yet been moved from the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23).
JESUS IS THE CHRIST
I have hope of eternal salvation, because I know that Jjesus of Nazareth is the Cchrist of God (Matthew 16:16).
(Matthew 16:16) “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
This is the confession of my heart and mouth. It arises from what I have seen, read and heard from the Word of God. It arises from my own experience — “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” What is the meaning of this confession? I simply mean to say that I believe what God has said concerning his Son. I so believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that I rest my soul upon him.
- Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is come in the flesh.
- Living upon this earth as our Representative, the Son of God perfectly obeyed the will of God.
- The Lord of Glory voluntarily gave himself into the hands of divine justice to die in the place of sinners.
- That very Christ who died, rose again in triumph over the grave and ascended into glory.
Why did he do all of this?
- It was his Father’s will.
- To fulfill his covenant engagements.
- To redeem his people.
- To win his throne.
- Because he loved us!
ABLE TO SAVE
I have hope of entering into glory, because I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is able to save the very chief of sinners (Hebrews 7:25). Because Jesus Christ now lives in glory and reigns as a Prince and a Savior, I know that he can save the vilest of men by virtue of his shed blood. — “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” I know that salvation is altogether a work of almighty grace, therefore, I have hope.
- Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
- The Son of God has the authority to save sinners (John 17:2).
- The Lord of Glory has promised to save all who come to God by him (John 6).
(John 6:37-40) “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
I have done just that. I have come to God through Christ as a guilty, worthless sinner. I can do no more. Will you too come?
- Come in humiliation.
- Come in faith.
- Come now.
- Come like you are.
Illustration: The Artist and the Beggar
(Matthew 11:28-30) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
ABLE TO KEEP
I hope that I am a Christian, I have hope of eternal life, because I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is able to keep that which i have committed to him (2 Timothy 1:12). — “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
(2 Timothy 1:9-12) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
My heart’s faith is fixed upon a living Lord, who has revealed himself in me (v. 10). It is not what I believe that gives me hope, but whom I believe! I have committed my entire being into the care of his hands; and I know he has the power to keep me.
- The Triune God committed his law and justice into the hands of Christ.
- God the Father committed his will into the hands of Christ.
- The Triune Jehovah committed his people into the hands of Christ.
- The Triune God committed the honor and glory of his name into the hands of Christ.
- If Christ has kept what the Triune Jehovah committed to him, he can surely keep all that I have committed to him. — He will preserve me in life.
- He will comfort me in death. — He will raise my body from the grave. — He will keep me in the Day of Judgment. — He will lift me up when I fall (Psalm 37:25), and intercede for me when I sin (1 John 2:1-2). — And he will, at last, present me faultless before the presence of his glory!
HEARD AND OBEYED
I have hope that I am a child of God, because I have both heard and obeyed the Word of God (John 8:47). — “He that is of God heareth God’s words.”
What have I heard?
- I heard that God is strictly just.
- I heard that God is totally sovereign.
- I heard that God is full of mercy.
- I heard that God is willing to forgive sin.
- I heard that God has made provision for the salvation of sinners by the blood of Christ.
- I heard that God commands sinners to believe on his Son.
- I heard that Jesus Christ receives sinful men — The Harlot — Mary — The Samaritan — The Woman Taken In Adultery.
What did I do? I believed what I heard (John 6:29).
(John 6:29) “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
- God said come; and I come.
- God said look; and I look.
- God said repent; and I repent.
- God said believe; and I believe.
I have hope of eternal salvation, I consider myself a Christian, because the Lord is the portion of my soul (Lamentations 3:24). — “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”
I have seen many turn from the faith of the gospel. But I cannot. I have no hope but this.
I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all,
But Jesus Christ is my all in all.
All other hope is gone forever.
My hope is in the Lord’s mercy (v. 22). — “It is f the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” I have no hope but that God will deal with me in mercy.
- Eternal Mercy.
- Redeeming Mercy.
- Daily Mercy.
My hope is fixed upon God’s unfailing love (v. 22). — “His compassions, they fail not.”
My Hope is God’s faithfulness (v. 23). — “Great is thy faithfulness.”
- He is faithful to himself.
- He is faithful to his purpose.
- He is faithful to his covenant.
- He is faithful to his Son.
- He is faithful to his people.
My hope is in God’s goodness (vv. 25-26).
(Lamentations 3:25-26) “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”
God is good to those who wait for him, to those who seek him.
- They feel their need of him.
- They have faith in him.
- They seek him sincerely.
- They seek him continually.
- They shall be filled.
“The Lord is my portion, saith my soul.” This is our hope! Today men talk of his pardon, but miss his presence. Today men talk of his blessing, but miss his being. Today me talk of his grace, but miss his glory. Today men talk of his place, but miss his person. Today men talk of his precepts, but miss his power. It is the Lord himself who is our portion. We hope in him!
I consider myself a Christian because I believe the gospel. I have hope of acceptance before God, because I have not yet been moved from the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23). Paul tells us that we are saved — “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.”
When any turn from Zion’s way;
Alas, what numbers do!
I think I hear the Savior say,
Wilt thou forsake me too?
Our Savior raises the question — “Will ye also go away?” And with Peter we respond, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”
- Shall I return to the world? There is no hope there.
- Shall I return to the law? There is no hope there.
- Shall I return to the way of religious ritualism and self-righteous morality? There is no hope there.
No, I must abide in the hope of the gospel.
What is this hope?
- Substitutionary Redemption.
- Imputed Righteousness.
- Salvation By Grace Alone.
1. What do we hope for? — SALVATION.
2. What is the reason of your hope? — CHRIST.
3. You who have no hope, I counsel you to look to Christ.
(1 John 5:1-10 AV) “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 ¶ This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 ¶ He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.”
Do you consider yourself a Christian? If you do, — Why? — What is the reason of your hope?
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Hi. Great article. I may have misread the comment by the Facebook person, but I understand it to basically comment that the mere word Christian has lost its meaning in a world where being a Christian can mean almost anything. I surmise that the person commenting is deeply concerned about the honour of God and wants to distance him/herself of what “Christianity” has come to mean. I also surmise that he/she does not reject Christ and what original Christianity stood for and meant, but that a clarification of one’s beliefs are really critical in assessing what you mean by being a Christian.
Thank you for commenting again. I hope that you and yours have a wonderful year.
The understanding that you have sketched, can only be taken from what the person wrote, but only if one disregards certain Biblical facts. I do, however, understand clearly what you are saying. I will address the misconceptions very briefly.
There are those in the world, and unfortunately also some professing followers of Christ, who believe this to be true, especially when one considers what a great diversity of false beliefs there are which pose as Christianity. There are the Romanists, the Word of Faith, NAR, emergent, evolving wisdom, New Calvinists and other Charismatic groups. There are the SDA, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, interfaith disciples, Mormons, and possibly thousands of other groups and affiliated groups, all who call themselves “Christians”. It is BIG business. Put simply, they are NOT Christians, no matter how fervently they claim to be.
That having been said, the fact that they claim to be Christians, does not by direct association have the effect of reducing the meaning or value of the words, Christian or Christianity. These are Biblical terms, and the existence of true Christians is by no means affected by what others claim.
Let us use our own current political situation as an example. There are hundreds of politicians who loudly claim to be representative of the people. In our country at present there is Helen Zille, Julius Malema, the Suidlanders and their leaders, Zwelinzima Vavi and the leadership of Cosatu, the so-called independent judiciary, the Freedom Front and many others who claim to represent the people of South Africa. However, at present, the only person who can lay claim to be truly representative of the people, is Jacob Zuma. That is because he was elected to this position. There are many others who claim to be the rightful owners of the title, but none of them can be unless they are elected.
The same can be said of the many who claim to be representative of the Christian faith, and claim rightful (even Divine) ownership of the title “Christian”. However, the truth is that only those who have been elected as Christians by God, are truly representative of the Christian faith. The fact that others claim to be Christians does not supersede the fact that there are true Christians and certainly does not cause the true Christians to discard the name which is theirs by the grace of God.
I understand what you are getting at, however, rejecting and denying that which God Himself has made of you, if you truly are a born again Christian, will only serve to further dishonour God. It is imperative that we do not give undue value to what we are by name, but to uphold what we are by our God-given nature, in our hearts, minds and in our regenerated spirit. Born again Christians, justified, sanctified and redeemed by Jesus Christ, know who they are, because they are the ONLY ones who know the Lord. They stand immovable with the name “Christian” on their hearts, in their conscience and on their tongues.
Christians follow the Word of God alone, describe themselves by the classifications in the Bible, and can be identified by their fruits. Christians do not need to clarify their beliefs by any other means but that which is clearly written in the Word. Christians do not lean on denominations, man-centred teachings, man-made doctrinal statements, confessions, creeds, science, human rationality, intellectual ability, spiritual gifts, theological qualifications, seminaries, baptism, holiness, good deeds, or any other crutch. They are in Christ, they are made holy by Jesus Christ in them. They are set apart from all others in the world by the saving grace of God alone, and the world includes those who fraudulently use the name Christian. Born again believers cannot be categorised or labelled with any name other than that which God has given them, which is that of Christian.
I am not ashamed to be known as a Christian. It is really very simple. I am not reformed, I am Christian. I am not conservative or liberal in my theological understanding, I am Christian. I am not a Calvinist, I am a Christian. I am not a fundamentalist. I am a Christian. I am not a Baptist, I am a Christian. What the religious world understands that to be, is really immaterial, I know the Lord, the world does not. I cannot make the world understand. I cannot introduce a spiritually dead person to matters which are spiritually discerned.
I am not under any obligation to explain myself to the unbelieving world, they cannot understand what the Christian has to say about the matters of the Lord. The way of a Christian is spiritual and can only be understood by others who are spiritually alive, made alive by the grace of God. All others who are not enabled to understand spiritual matters, are dead wood unless God decides differently. Their opinions and their perceptions of what I am, or who I am in Christ, do not matter. I cannot defend Christ or His honour, I am far too weak and far too rotten a sinner to defend the Almighty God. I can contend for the faith, but I cannot defend Christ. A clarification of the Christian’s beliefs are therefore meaningless and worthless to those who are outside of Christ.
The ONLY way to clarify or assess what one means by being a Christian, is to point to the Cross and to Scripture. The only people who will understand, are those who are a part of the family of believers, brothers and sisters in Christ. They are God’s people and they are known to each other as Christians. God does not place them into different Christian categories.
I do appreciate your take on the matter, Andre, but for the reasons above, and of course we could expand on those further, I find the Facebook piece to remain disturbingly offensive.
Hi Grant, thanks for your response. I may be missing something here, but the fact that “Christianity” is ascribed to a number of “other gospels” and presented as “Christianity”, in fact means that the distinguishing factor is no more distinguishing between those that are true followers of Jesus Christ and those wolves in sheep’s clothing.
You are correct that only true Christians can lay claim to the title of “Christian”, but due to the abuse associated with the “title”, it has come to mean anything and nothing – it has been “watered down”.
You will know from Scripture that the title of “Christian” is not a title that is used for followers of Jesus Christ by Himself or by any of the New Testament writers. The typical titles used are “The church” “the bride of Christ”,etc. They were first called Christians by “outsiders” it seems. So the name Christian has no specific merit from that point.
From my limited perspective (I have not had the full article to review), it would seem that by more fully describing your beliefs would in fact contribute towards clarity of what you mean by Christian, and could indeed be helpful.
In our neck of the woods (South Africa) you will find a wide range of books with false doctrine in any bookstore – all under the name of “Christian”. You will find Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, Joel Olsteen, Benny Hinn etc – that is unless you want to call these false teachers “Christian” and thus dishonouring even by your argument the name of Jesus Christ.
Reading a “Christian” book, it would appear that, unless you know the author, you will be well advised to read through the contents to establish whether it is true to the Gospel.
I have sympathy for your concern to protect the name of Jesus, but I think the person placing the content on the web has just as much concern and thus his/her specific comment.
Have a great day.
Andre Du Toit
There is no need to “protect the name of Jesus” as God is sovereign and even if we tried to do so, we will fail dismally as depraved wretches. If you take time to read and listen to the sermon notes below the quote , it becomes clear that the whole statement of the unnamed person is wrapped in Legalism and works salvation. The other mistake is this person should learn to read English and not take words of others out of context as he has done with the quote by B.B. Warfield. I would say to the Facebook author that, if you don’t want to be a Christian, then God never called you to be one. Why then bother to even write such derogatory statements aimed against those who do want to be and are Christians? Rather just live the life of an unbeliever. It would be so much simpler and a lot more temporary fun.
The truth is found in the Bible and a couple of verses that comes to mind. Isaiah 45:5-7 “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: (6) That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there isnone beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. (7) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
Proverbs 16:4 “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
Psalm 76:10 – “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”
Amos 3:6 “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?”
The Person who placed the content on Facebook in this case is a legalist. It reminds me of these wise words …………..Will we ever learn that faith is God’s work in us, not our work for God? All men by nature are legalists. We all naturally assume that there is something we can and must do to distinguish ourselves from others and recommend ourselves to God. One of the most subtle forms of legalism is found in the attempts of almost all “Christian” religions to make faith in Christ a legal work by which man contributes his part to the work of Christ for justification before God.
Fallen man, in his vain, self-justifying legalism, tries to make the cross of Christ of non-effect. Man tries hard to get away from the cross. If he does not openly deny the doctrine of the cross, he alters its meaning, takes away its offense, and tries to make it congenial to the tastes of his own lusts. The trend of the day is to transfer the merit and virtue of Christ crucified to some act performed, or something experienced, or something felt by the sinner. Thus the legalist, with a pretense of defending the cross, nullifies its simplicity, denies its saving efficacy, and makes it of non-effect. Either the Lord Jesus Christ saves us by himself, completely, or not at all! We either find complete justification in the cross, or no justification at all. We do not come to Christ by faith to justify ourselves, but to find complete justification in him.
True faith does not make salvation partly the work of the Savior and partly the work of the sinner. Faith is the acknowledgment that Christ alone is our Savior, and that he saves alone. Faith adds nothing to the work of Christ. Faith contributes nothing, but receives everything. It owns the fulness, and sufficiency, and suitableness of the crucified Son of God. It bids farewell forever to all works, ceases from labor, and enters into rest. Faith does not come to Calvary to do, but to embrace. Faith beholds the glorious spectacle of all things done, and rejoices! Faith has no doubt about the efficacy of Christ’s finished work. Faith hears the Savior cry, “It is finished,” and says, “Amen!”
Where faith begins, labor ends. Yes, believing sinners walk in and maintain good works. — God has ordained it. — The love of Christ compels it. — Grace experienced demands it. But the believer repents of his dead works of self-righteousness and ceases trying to obtain life and pardon, justification and peace from God by what he does or does not do. Faith is rests on Christ alone. Faith is the giving up all our weary efforts to do or feel something good, in order to induce God to love and pardon us. Faith the calm reception of the gospel’s good news so long rejected. — GRACE IS FREE! Sinners are justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Faith is the acknowledgment of the fact that there is no goodness, righteousness, or merit in us. Faith looks to Christ and Christ alone for goodness, righteousness, and merit before God. Faith finds in Christ that “Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” We sometimes speak of faith as “saving faith.” That term is accurate only if we understand that faith saves, because it finds complete salvation in another, not because it contributes something for salvation. The whole work is his, not ours, from beginning to end. Faith does not believe in itself, but in the Son of God. Like the beggar, it receives everything, but gives nothing. It consents to be a debtor forever to the free grace, boundless mercy, and everlasting love of God in Christ. Faith’s resting-place is Christ, the foundation laid in Zion. Faith rejoices in the Substitute, not in itself. Faith’s song is, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His mercy He saved us.” AMEN.
Andre du Tiot
Now my question to you is what would you do with these verses: 1) The word “Christian” was first applied to believers by those who lived around them in Antioch (Acts 11:26) And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
2) Later, God’s elect used the term to refer to themselves. Peter speaks of God’s suffering saints, assuring us that anyone who suffers “as a Christian,” anyone who suffers because of his faith in Christ, has no reason to be ashamed, but only to glorify God (1 Peter 4:16). Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
3) Agrippa told Paul that he was almost persuaded to become a Christian (Acts 26:28) Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
According to my 3 verses above your wrong assumption that you say, “You will know from Scripture that the title of “Christian” is not a title that is used for followers of Jesus Christ by Himself or by any of the New Testament writers”. You are simply wrong !! It really does seem you only got to reading the piece quoted in blue by the Person who says he does not want to be called a Christian. Please read everything in context and listen to the sermon, thanks.
Hi Grant, just two items quickly:
1) I notice that there is a heading called “our beliefs”. Would that be necessary if “Christian” was sufficient?
2) What do you understand to be a “Christian”
Andre du Toit
Our beliefs page is exactly what it says “Our Beliefs”
I told you further up please read the entire post and listen to the sermon. That clearly explains your question. Do you consider yourself a Christian? If you do, — Why? — What is the reason of your hope?
Yes Elmarie, I do regard myself as a follower of Christ, thus a Christian. Why? Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, where He paid the price for my sins. Not because of anything that I have done, but as a result of his grace only.
Andre du Tiot
Well then we have reached a point of agreement. so do I regard myself as a follower of Christ, thus a Christian. Christianity is not just a religion. Christianity is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). True Christianity is the voluntary surrender of your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting him alone for the salvation of your soul.”
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)
Andre du Toit
The fact that Christianity is ascribed to a number of false religions is really of little, if any, practical significance to God’s people. There are accounts of it happening throughout history and it does not remove, or add to, the significance of the Christian. To a certain degree, it can be compared to a “quack” or charlatan claiming to be a qualified medical doctor or veterinary surgeon. There are untold numbers of those, as well. The mere fact that the “quack” lays claim to being a doctor does not make of him or her, a qualified medical practitioner, just as much as ‘claiming’ to be a Christian does not make of the claimant, a Christian. The quack will not be able to provide a cure for physical illness, and neither will the merely professing Christian be able to provide a cure for sin.
There exists a subtle, yet imperative, difference between the two examples though, in that the medical patient would, in most instances, not be able to distinguish the quack from the doctor before the scam becomes physically apparent. God’s elect, however, will be able to distinguish the false gospel from the Truth, and thereby be able to recognize true Christianity (Biblical Gospel) from counterfeit. God does not allow his sheep to wander aimlessly in the spiritual wilderness, or to be tossed to and fro by every fanciful doctrine.
The distinguishing factor is crystal clear. The distinguishing factor is Jesus Christ alone, Jesus Christ in the saved believer. It is as clear today as it was in the time of Abraham, King David and the Apostles. True followers of Jesus Christ are perfectly distinguished from those who are simply professing followers, by the choice, will and action of the Spirit of God. Salvation of the Christian is by the Grace of God alone, and not by the choice of the professing or bogus believer. The will of God has not diminished in importance or effect, and it never will. The distinguishing factor is as clear today, as it ever was or will be.
Due to the abuse of the “title” at the hands of much of what poses as the “local” and “visible” church, free will, works orientated humanist preaching and denominationalism, it might have come to mean anything and nothing in the eyes of the world and within the ranks of religious people. However, the title “Christian” when it has been ascribed by God, has never lost its meaning or value to those who are God’s people, those through all ages who are, by Grace, members of the true universal church, those on whom the title has been bestowed by God.
The unbelieving world would like nothing more than to downplay the importance of the truth held within true Christianity. Christianity and Jesus Christ are offensive to the world. It would be no small victory for those who are opposed to God, or those who capitalise on Christian ideology, than to have the world believe that Christianity is nothing more than another religion, or the means to a materialistic end.
True Christians are nothing more, and nothing less, than true Christians, in Christ and because of Christ. I have absolutely no regard for what the unbelieving world thinks about the word Christian, or what connotations they have been able to attach to the title. I certainly couldn’t care less about what they associate with the Christian faith. As enemies of God, they are worthy only of me turning away from them.
To say that one is ashamed or concerned about wearing the title Christian, due to perceived and contrived negative connotations, is akin to ascribing a victory to evil over Christ’s true church. True Christians have had to endure constant persecution throughout all the ages, and they have done so with great joy, for Christ’s sake.
I apologize for the delay in answering your comment. Due to other weighty responsibilities concerning my business interests, I have limited time at present to invent pseudo-theological intellectualisms and theories regarding these matters.
I have tried to follow the thread of this debate and, quite frankly I have found it to be rather pointless and nothing but hot air. The content of the original Facebook posting in this regard remains, as I said before, offensive to the Christian.
I think my position has been adequately explained in my previous comments and will not wish to bore you further with what you as a “Christian” call “pseudo-theological intellectualisms”.
From a pseudo-theological intellectual, I will encourage you to refrain from making unsubstantiated assumptions such as “one is ashamed… about wearing the title Christian”, which is not consistent with the comment by the original writer as well as my position. It really detracts from your claimed (by implication) theological intellectualism.
Well now, what a pleasant comment that was to read. For the life of me I cannot understand why you bother to defend the immature and deceitful statements of others which are offensive to Christians. You probably have your reasons. Have a great week.
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Hi Elmarie, the question posed was :Would that be necessary if “Christian” was sufficient? No answer necessary as the facts speak for themselves.
From research it would appear that the term “Christian” was probably intended as a “derogatory” term of pagan origin rather than a term of , lets call it affection or regard. You will notice that :”they were called”, and not “they called themselves”. That they later called themselves Christians as a “badge of honour”, being slaves to Christ, is not disputed.
The earliest manuscripts apparently refer to Chrestus (meaning goody-goody ones). Thus the name is a mere reference to followers of Christ, and of no spiritual significance, apart from being a manner of identification.
“Christian” does not refer to “anointed ones”, but merely followers of Christ. Thus followers of the “anointed One”
Thank you for the discussion.
Andre du Tiot
Where do you get “your” facts from ? To say “the name is a mere reference to followers of Christ, and of no spiritual significance,” seems mere ignorance in understanding the Bible and what is written in it. The Bible is not a Book written for debates on who is right and who is wrong, it is written for us as believers and to try and debate the Word ‘Christian/s” is senseless as the word/s appear in the Bible that is a fact. But you know the Bible also says, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 KJV)
I cannot accept your interpretation it is simply untrue. The Bible as a Whole is from God, the written and inspired work of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)
I do not see any further reason for discussion, unless it is to edify the body there is no use in putting our personal opinions on this thread. Sola scriptura !!
True faith is founded upon the Word of God, upon the authority and veracity of the testimony God has given concerning his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the act of the heart, resting upon the Word of God, and trusting Christ alone for all things.
I am a sinner called a Christian in the Bible, saved by grace alone , through faith alone. SDG !!!
Admin Edited (The rest of the comment is not important information, what does matter is what is written in the Bible namely Sola scriptura. )
“I am a sinner called a Christian in the Bible, saved by grace alone , through faith alone. SDG !!!” —Amen
Have a great day!
Andre du Toit
Have a great day! 😉