As I began reading Chapter 10, I was struck.
Apartheid is hard to defend. The domination of a black African population by an all-white government seems so wrong. Domination may not be a word that is strong enough. Maybe the best word would be repression. Yet that is what we read about in Chapter 10. We encounter a strong man [Michael Cassity] who worked hard to get rid of this from the country of South Africa.
The sentence that struck me was this one: “There were 40 million people in South Africa who called themselves Christians, but most had little interest in applying Christianity to social structures of life.” In other words, they were ok with repression of the black South African population. They did not see their beliefs about Apartheid as antithetical to Christianity.
Today we do all kinds of things to twist our beliefs to fit everyday life.
I may make you mad but here is how I see a “committed Christian.”
1.They like going to church. They actively participate in church. If there is a Wednesday program, they attend. If there is a potluck, they attend. If they can help out with special projects, they help. They are not just a 1 hour per week Christian [Sunday worship hour]. They like being around their church family.
2.They accept leadership positions in the church. They recognize that work won’t get done without good leadership and they don’t shy away from work.
3.They read their Bibles and work to develop their faith through the church.
4.They believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ and they will share their faith with others. They use their belief to spur themselves on to make the world a better place for all peoples.
This is how I see a “cultural Christian” [opposite of the committed Christian].
1.There is no outward sign that they are Christian. They don’t like attending church yet they say they believe in God. They are very accepting of anything that is happening in society today, from transgenderness to drug experimentation. The idea is to live and let live. It is all ok.
2.They don’t pray or read the Bible. There is no effort to develop their faith through Bible study.
3.Jesus is not the only way to be saved. In fact this type of Christian is likely to tell you that Hindus and Christians worship the same god and Jesus is not essential to salvation. This is called “universality theology.”
4.It there are social ills, they are likely to ignore those. There is an idea that “bad behavior” is not related to your beliefs. If things need to be improved and made more consistent with Biblical principles, cultural Christians are not the ones to do that.
“Little interest in applying Christianity to social structures of life.”
What about the poor?
What about the hungry?
What about people who don’t know Christ?
What about people who are repressed?
This world is not a perfect place and it never will be. That means there is a need for a lot of work to be done, work that will not be done by cultural Christians. Another name for these people is CINO. That is not a flattering term. It refers to Christians in name only. They like the word attached to their name but there is not much about them that means they are followers of Christ.
Later in Chapter 10, Dr. Chapman says in a paraphrase of 1 John 4:20 “How can you say that you love God whom you have not seen when you do not love your brother whom you have seen?” Love of one another is a prerequisite for Christianity; love of one another is a requirement of Christianity.
It is a high bar, but it leads to having “interest in applying Christianity to social structures of life.”
“Committed Christians”; in my book, the best type.