Our Responsibility in the Face of “Cultural Christianity”

I’m not a prophet.  I don’t have a crystal ball.  I had no way of knowing that the Norwegian terrorist would call himself a “cultural Christian”.  The fact that I used the word “cultural” doesn’t prove any great perception on my part.  This isn’t an “I told you so” post, well, at least not much of one.

This is a “reiterating and building on a point” post.  On Saturday, when I first posted about the terrorist attack in Norway, I said this:

Christian, you may face criticism because of this attack. Don’t be defensive. Just say, along with the police, “The assailant has no relation to us.” It is an opportunity to tell people that not everyone who claims to be a Christian, not everyone who was born in a “Christian” country, is really a Christian. It is an opportunity to talk about real Christianity, not the fake ”cultural” kind that has nothing to do with the righteousness and grace of God.

I didn’t know Anders Breivik would call himself a “cultural Christian” — I just knew his “Christianity” wasn’t anything to do with God and truth.  Now, we know.  The bloggers at Verum Serum have undertaken the (no doubt) unpleasant and laborious task of reading his “manifesto”.

One excerpt of his writing:

A majority of so called agnostics and atheists in Europe are cultural conservative Christians without even knowing it. So what is the difference between cultural Christians and religious Christians?

If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.

Christianity without Christ?  Other statements say that he hasn’t yet prayed to God but he probably will during the massacre.  “Logic and reason will always take precedence over biblical texts,” and there is no opposition to Odinism.  He explicitly denies that he is religious.  So there you have it, a Christianity without Christ, without the Bible, without prayer, and compatible with atheism, agnosticism, and paganism.

We live among many “cultural Christians”, who would call themselves Christians, but know nothing of Christ.  Perhaps one good thing to come out of this horrible tragedy will be that people begin to recognise that there is a difference, that so-called “cultural Christianity” is not only inconsistent with Biblical Christianity, but is often diametrically opposed to what we believe.

Jesus Christ said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:3, 7).  He made it clear that this comes by belief in Him.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).   There is no true Christianity, no eternal life, without personal faith in Jesus Christ.

If we do not tell people what Jesus said and what He did for them, then we let the Anders Breiveks of this world define Christianity their way.  It is our responsibility to proclaim Christ, His love, His truth, His compassion, His death and resurrection.  If anyone who knows us doesn’t know the difference between our Christianity and that of this terrorist, the failure and the responsibility has been ours.  I’ll repeat what I said Saturday, but add four words:

It is an opportunity and responsibility to talk about and live real Christianity, not the fake ”cultural” kind that has nothing to do with the righteousness and grace of God.

 

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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