On “REAL” Christians

Was I a TRUE Christian?

I was once told, “Speaking biblically one can never leave God if they were with him in the first place.” To me, this is just further evidence that the Bible is wrong, for I was on god’s side right up until I asked for help staying on his side and received none.

I can no longer remember if it was the same conversation, but I was also asked, “Are you familiar with the terms ‘visible church’ (all those who purport to be Christians) and ‘invisible church’ (all those who actually are Christians). These are concepts coined by Augustine.” This is perhaps a fair question for a Christian to ask an atheist ex-Christian, for it is quite true that many people say they are Christian but neither act nor really believe as the Christian asking the question thinks all Christians should.

However, to tell an atheist who has left Christianity that they were never a “real” Christian is to commit the No True Scotsman fallacy. Sure, some atheists were brought up in nominally Christian households but never really believed and therefore weren’t true Christians. More normally, though, atheists who say they are ex-Christian are telling the truth. Many were even pastors, such as Dan Barker. Some deconverted in seminary. At least a few were brought up in fundamentalist households and taught theology and apologetics.

A general definition of Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior, or at the very least considers themselves a follower of his (alleged) teachings. By this definition, and by many others of this type that are more specific, I was a Christian.

However, some people say that the only true Christian is one who has a close personal relationship with God, one who has the fire of the Holy Spirit living inside them. By that definition, I was never a Christian – and neither is or was anyone else.


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