Believing in Jesus doesn’t make one a Christian


I had an interesting conversation with an individual the other day. This person had grown up outside of church but was introduced to Christianity as a young adult. He joined a Reformed Presbyterian congregation but left to enter the Disciples of Christ as a minister. Continuing on in his spiritual journey, as he called it, he soon left that denomination behind and entered into process theology. Process theology, in a nutshell, believes that as we grow in learning about God, God grows in learning about us. In other words, God becomes as we think about him – we create him, in our image. The man I was talking to said he no longer believed the Bible was inspired by God, that it was just man’s beliefs about God, full of contradictions and mistakes. He went on to describe how his journey had led him to the Dali Lama and Buddhist truths. At this point the conversation took an interesting twist. He stated, “I am still a Christian.” I asked how he could claim that.

“Well, I love Jesus. I believe he was a good man, a wise teacher, a great example of God’s compassion and love.”

I replied, “So does a Muslim. Jews also will grant you that. I even have agnostic and atheist friends who believe Jesus existed and was a moral man. Deluded, maybe, but real and a good humanitarian. That is a far cry from being a Christian. A Christian believes Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Chosen One of God who brought salvation. Christians believe Jesus was Divine, God’s Son, our Savior. You, sir, are not  Christian. You are a Deist well on your way to becoming a Buddhist, but you are not a Christian.”

This man I was talking to did not like to be told that. He was not being honest with himself. He started tossing out words of wisdom from Buddhism and Hindi philosophy to show how those beliefs were superior to my “limited understanding.” I used Paul’s writings to Corinth to show that all those same things were found in the Bible he had rejected.

In the end, I left him with a thought. I told him, “There is a world of difference between going on a journey and admitting you are wandering around lost in the woods.” His “spiritual journey” had left him wandering with no anchor. He had a mish-mash of so many beliefs that he was confused and yet, at his core, he was afraid to admit he had completely left Christianity behind. He wanted the safe comfort of a womb, recreating and redefining Christianity to suit his new beliefs without realizing and admitting what he truly was – a theologically bankrupt soul. Those who make God in their own image, as this man has done, find that they have no God at all.

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