J. Eric Harrington
Every now and then, I get into discussions about my past. People are often curious about my life and the statement that I make that I'm an ex-Christian. One common response to this is that I must not have been a “True Christian” all those years I was a believer. I have tried, on several occasions, to point out that no one meets the description in the Christian Bible of a True-blue Christian. Some have thought I was accusing them of being a less-than-perfect person, but that's not the case. There are a few items I want to clear up on this subject.
First, let's define a Christian. Practically speaking, a generic Christian should be one who practices the Christian faith, in one of its myriad forms. This should include Baptists, Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and so forth. The main focus of all these groups is the person Jesus [god incarnate, Hashem, Allah, etc] as written about in the Christian bible or New Testament. In this respect, I think anyone should have no problem with accepting my statement that I was a Christian.
Well, we need to go to the Christian Bible to find out what sort of characteristics to expect. After all, if anyone should know what a “True Christian” is, it would be Jesus, right? So, what does the Christian Bible report that one should expect these people to be like?
First off, Jesus said that they will have the “Power of God” behind them:
John 14:13,14: “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”
So, if you happen to run across anyone who gets everything they ask for in Jesus’ name, that is a pretty good sign of a “True Christian.” But wait. There are other signs of this rare sort of person. According to the Christian Bible, Jesus' special followers are invincible:
Luke 10:19: “See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.”
Mark 16:17,18: “And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover”
Finally, any “True Christian” should be able to verify to any doubters that they are what they claim to be by performing miracles:
Acts 14:3: “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who testified to the word of his grace by granting signs and wonders to be done through them.”
Now, if any person wishes to claim the special status of being a “True Christian” and therefore more of a Christian than any regular church-going pew-warmer, let him or her come forward and pass these tests as spelled out in this “Word of the Christian God.” Anyone who manages to handle a king cobra, drink concentrated sulphuric acid with no injury, heal someone with AIDS and arrange for their dead man-god to pick up Mt. Rushmore and toss it into the Indian Ocean, then I'll back off of my statement that I am a former Christian.
Until that time, I don't want to hear any more hooey about questioning whether or not I really was a Christian. It just doesn't wash.