In the last few weeks following the shootings in California, I have read countless blog posts on Christian violence. They usually come with a message that goes something like this: don’t be too quick to judge because Christians are violent too. This sentiment falls in line with the beliefs of the new atheists such as Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins. These gentlemen believe that not only is religion false, it is dangerous. To make matters worse, many violent acts have been committed in the name of Christ. Past abuses, and current hateful actions have been done with a prayer and a bible. Children have been kicked out of their homes and ostracized by their families for being gay. People with depression, addiction, and the like are said to lack faith. People come to the church broken only to be broken still further by unloving denizens of stained class houses. This is not Christ. This does not represent his body. These are Christians-in-name-only, and they poison the church.
To understand Christians-in-name-only you need to understand culture, namely a culture where being a Christian is popular. The first century church did not experience this challenge, because in that day and age Christians were thrown in arenas to die because of their faith. No one was a Christian because it was popular. When Constantine declared Christianity the religion of Rome in 313AD it became advantageous to be a Christian. It was both the best and the worst day in Christian history. On one hand Christians experienced the full blessing of Rome to preach and teach with impunity. On the other hand individuals entered into the church with political, social, and economical ambitions. I’m certain many were converted to the true faith, but wolves in sheep’s clothing were let into the church that had no real connection to God. They went to church to be seen, not to humbly bow in prayer.
The Bible predicted this by the way.
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.”
Matthew 13:24-25 NKJV
There is another culture that has made Christianity popular. In the not so distant past political advantage could be had by simply sounding Christian in the USA. A bowed head could effectively hide a corrupt heart. A “Christian” man could pray on Sunday then dawn a white robe and hang an African American man on Monday without a bit of remorse. A “perfect” family could go to church and sound Christian on Sunday while engaging in the violist of perversions the rest of the week. The thought makes me shudder. If these tares existed in the church 50 years ago, how much more do they exist today. I flatly defy such folks. They do not stand for God. They are not Christian. They are Christian-in-name-only, and it’s time they were exposed. The recent abortion clinic massacre, the bombing of the Oklahoma City building, and many others were not done by Christians, they were done by Christians-in-name-only. Because of them my God is dragged through the muddy streets. People blaspheme the name of the one true God because of these men and women. It’s time to expose them, and as luck would have it, God gave us a way. We can know a persons spirit by what they produce, what the Bible calls fruit.
“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
Matthew 7:17-20 NKJV
What are the fruits of a Christian? They are called the fruits of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
What is the fruits of a Christian-in-name-only? It’s what the bible calls the works of the flesh.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
A Christian can be guilty of practicing some of the second list, and a Christian-in-name-only can practice some of the first. The question to ask is, were do they typically fall. If what they typically produce is from the second list, I have to question their claim of being Christian. Bear in mind that Christianity is not works biased, but the evidence for the spirit in a persons life is that they will produce the fruits of the spirit, and they will shun the works of the flesh. Someone who shuns the works of the flesh will not lynch a man for his race, or shoot up a business because they do not like what it does. If they practice such things, they are not of the faith. They are not my brothers and sisters.
So the next time you hear about Christian violence from our leaders or articles on social media, remember this. Those who practice such things are not children of God. They are unregenerate posers who need to repent. If they do not, a just God will ensure they are punished in this life, or the next.