Who’s A Real Christian?

In response to the attacks on Joel Hunter and President Obama, as reported by Sarah, I think it’s necessary to keep two things in mind:

  1. Lately, there’s been an awful lot of attacks on various people for being insufficiently Christian by conservative standards. In addition to the ones Sarah names, there’s the whole pissing match between Glenn Beck and Jim Wallis. That says to me at least that somebody’s awfully nervous about losing control of the narrative. Left-of-center Christians would do well to step up to the plate right about now.
  2. “Real” Christians, meanwhile, would do well to remember that Christianity is centered not on beliefs or ideas, but on the person of Jesus. Remember that whole thing about having a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior? The way I see it, saying that somebody else isn’t a “real” Christian is akin to saying that they can’t possibly know your close friend Joshua. You sure about that? Sure enough to risk embarrassment when the invites go out for the party up yonder?

To put it another way, it’s natural to wonder if or how other people can square their vision of the Christian faith with your own belief. I’ve done it myself, and regretted it every time I came down firmly on one side or another. Christians are a diverse lot, and it gets confusing, even contradictory sometimes. But the ultimate judgment is not ours, but Christ’s alone, to make on his terms, and his alone. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m not willing to put myself in a position where I’m second-guessing he who will judge the living and the dead. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

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