UnChristian is Bogus

The authors of UnChristian based their book on surveys of non-Christians and their negative views of Christians. They use these devastating survey results to urge Christians to change their behavior for the better. There are four major problems with this whole mindset:

  1. There are so many false converts in Christianity that it’s nearly impossible to tell who really is a Christian and who isn’t. Non-Christians judging Christianity by its false converts would pervert the results of any survey. In Mark 4:1–20, Jesus explains false converts—people who think they’re Christians, but really aren’t. Christians are certainly capable of sinning, but they’re not capable of a lifestyle of sin (1 John 3:8). If someone doesn’t act like a Christian, he or she probably is not a Christian. If a person gets drunk on Saturday and then goes to church on Sunday and work on Monday where he or she earns a dishonest living, is that individual a Christian? More than likely this person is a hypocrite who will be spewed out of Jesus’ mouth. I believe there are a large number of false converts in this country, which affects people’s view of Christians, and the accuracy of the research.
  2. Who cares what non-Christians think? Non-Christians are enemies with God (Colossians 1:21), dead in their transgressions (Ephesians 2:1), and children of the devil (John 8:44). Certainly, we should care about non-Christians and not elevate ourselves above them, as salvation is a free gift for all. But we should not care what they think about us when we have forsaken this world.
  3. If 100 years of watered-down gospel and friendship evangelism haven’t made people like us, why would anyone call for more gimmicks? The modern gospel is that Jesus loves you and wants to make your life better, and if you pray the sinner’s prayer, you’re guaranteed heaven—don’t ever doubt it. There is no discussion of repentance or God’s justice or hell. The boldest evangelists are those who invite people to church, but most people are content to not speak to anyone and simply offer their lifestyle as an example. This has been the M.O. for the average Christian’s evangelism for several decades. Those who endorse this method and are proponents of this book now have data to show that it isn’t working. Rather than going back to biblical evangelism, they endorse continuing down the path that—demonstrated by their own data—is going in the wrong direction.
  4. Christians should live holy lives, not for outsiders or as an evangelism method, but because we’ve been commanded to by Him who saved us. God has given us eternal life, and living an obedient life is our reasonable service to Him (Rom. 12:1). Obedience includes being obedient to Jesus’ command to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15), not just hoping people will notice our great lives, but warning them about the hell they deserve, and telling them what God has done to save us. Some people will hate you for it. Some people will love you for it. I’ve been hugged by more strange grown men on the street in the last two years of witnessing than in the previous 28 years of my life. I can’t say that I really want to be hugged by strange men, but I’m glad that the gospel caused them to react happily, and I pray that they won’t just have a moment of happiness, but they will find eternal life.

We don’t need books and surveys to tell us people don’t like Christians. Jesus told us that 2000 years ago (Luke 21:17). Our duty is to preach the Gospel and leave the results up to God. Some will love us for it, some will hate us.

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15 Responses to UnChristian is Bogus

  1. Perhaps as a non-Christian, I shouldn’t respond to this. But I am a former Christian, and at one point was preparing to serve in the Christian ministry, so just some thoughts…

    1. This is a dangerous line of thought to follow. What qualifies as a “false convert”? I spent the majority of my six or seven years as a Christian in a holiness denomination that stressed a second work of grace — Christian perfect/entire sanctification. And yet, I have never seen a truly “holy” Christian. If a person habitually drinks because of an addiction predating their Christian conversion, does that make them a false convert? What if they gave up drinking, but compulsively judge others? What if they’ve given up both but can’t control their eating habits? This just seems to be a slippery slope.

    2. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the opinions of non-Christians. If you are an evangelical Christian than those non-Christians are potential converts. Naturally you are not going to capitulate to their every request, but if a non-Christian perceives you as a jerk, then that is not a good sign for your witness.

    3. Agreed. Gimicks are bad.

    4. As I mentioned above, I have never seen a holy Christian. I’ve seen good men and women who are Christians, but none have met the standards prescribed by biblical holiness.

  2. krislinatin says:

    Amen, love this post!!!!

  3. billphillips says:

    CarriedtheCross,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Concerning #1, you should read 1 John 3. It’s a complex topic, and I make no pretensions to have summed it up perfectly. If someoene is an alcoholic and gets saved, they will probably still struggle with it, but they won’t be giving into drunkenness. They’ll hate it, and may stumble into it sometimes, but it’s no longer a lifestyle. If it’s still a lifestyle, they never repented, and they’re false converts.

    Concerning #2, I can take non-Christians’ (or for that matter Christians’) opinions under consideration, but I’m going to filter anything they tell me through the Bible. The ones that God is saving will probably love me, the ones that God isn’t saving will probably hate me. I do what the Bible says and leave the consequences to God.

    Why did you leave Christianity? What are you going to do about your sin? How are you going to get to heaven?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  4. Great stuff! Glad I found your blog. Keep on for His glory.

  5. Tim says:

    This is so very true….great blog

  6. the8thperson says:

    Thanks for the post. Well said!

  7. Bill,

    I hope it is okay that I make a response to your response to my first response to your post. ;)

    “They’ll hate it, and may stumble into it sometimes, but it’s no longer a lifestyle. If it’s a lifestyle, they never repented, and they’re false converts.”

    I think you are hard pressed to delinate where the dividing line is between “stumbling into it” and “lifestyle.” What criteria are you going to use? Getting drunk every weekend is a lifestyle? What about once a year? Or once every twenty years? This is such a grey area, and the Bible does not make it clear.

    What about my other propositions? Pride? Anger? Judgmentalism? I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t consistently struggle with some “sin” or another.

    “The ones that God is saving will probably love me, the ones that God isn’t saving will probably hate me.”

    I’ve known very hateful Christians and very loving atheists, and vice versa. So where is the dividing line?

    “Why did you leave Christianity?”

    I left Christianity because the more I read, the more I learned, the less I could find evidence to support my beliefs. I have no more reason to follow the Christian God-package than I do to follow the Muslim God-package or the ancient Greek Gods-package.

    “What are you going to do about your sin? How are you going to get to heaven?”

    I believe in neither sin nor heaven, so I’m not to concerned about either.

    Enjoying the discussion,
    CTC

  8. billphillips says:

    CTC,

    I agree that determing whether someone is living a lifestyle of sin is difficult for outsiders, and it’s mostly between that person and God. I think a better way to determine it would be to ask them whether they hate their sin and are fighting against it, rather than trying to draw an arbitrary line on the frequency of that sin taking place.

    I hope that Christians struggle with their sin. When the struggling ceases, the sin has won. If you’ve determined that a Christian is a hateful person, they’re not a Christian. 1 John 3:14-15 says, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”

    If you don’t believe in sin, does that mean you don’t mind if someone steals your wallet, kills a loved one, or lies to you? If there is no definition for right and wrong from God, there is no valid way to determine right and wrong, and anything goes. Does it really matter what you or I believe? Does what we believe have any effect on the truth?

    I’ve always struggled with how someone can make the leap to atheism in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Maybe you know something I don’t know, like how matter created itself, or how the first living cell happened into being. Do you know what the odds of life popping into existence are? I just don’t have enough faith to believe in those kinds of miracles.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  9. “If you don’t believe in sin, does that mean that you don’t mind if someone steals your wallet, kills a loved one, or lies to you? If there is no definition for right and wrong from God, there is no valid way to determine right and wrong, and anything goes.”

    You can develop a standard for ethics without relying upon a transcendent being to do so. Read up on Kantian Ethics, Utilitarian Ethics, evolutionary arguments for ethics, etc.

    “I’ve always sturggled with how someone can make the leap to atheism in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.”

    I studied theology and apologetics for years in a conservative evangelical university in order to present a rational defense of Christianity to an unbelieving world. As of yet, I have found no evidence to support the truth claims of Christianity.

  10. billphillips says:

    CTC,

    You’re reasoning using your fallen intellect. It’s fooling you.

    One reason to believe in the Bible is that you are a fulfillment of a 2000 year old prophecy. 2 Peter 3:3-7 says, “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

    Thanks,
    Bill

    p.s. What if someone could care less about your Kantian ethics? Without God, his system of ethics that says its okay to kill you is just as valid as yours. Besides that, I have a feeling that those systems of ethics say pretty much the same thing as the last 6 of the Ten Commandments. How are you doing with your system of ethics? Have you ever told a lie?

  11. “You’re reasoning using your fallen intellect. It’s fooling you.”

    I’ll take my fallen intellect over circular reasoning any day.

    “What if someone could care less about your Kantian ethics? Without God, his system of ethics that says its okay to kill you i just as valid as yours.”

    First, I don’t neccesarily subscribe to Kantian ethics. More of a utilitarian, myself. But subjectivity does not stop us from making value judgments on morality. If person X kills me, then there will be reprecussions for person X from society. Thus, it is much more unlikely than likely that person X will kill me because he thinks it is “okay.”

    “Have you ever told a lie?”

    Of course (and, for the record, this is where I diverge from Kant’s view on ethics), and I don’t apologize for it. There are times in which truth telling are harmful to the situation at hand. I would suggest as a piece of reading Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place.” It is a book about a Christian family during WWII and their efforts to protect Jewish families. In the book, when asked by the Nazis if she was hiding the Jews, Corrie lied. On the other hand, her sister did not. It explores the value of truth telling in an interesting way, I think.

  12. billphillips says:

    CTC,

    There are plenty of times when murderers go unpunished. Only 50% of murders committed in the US in the ’90s were solved, and the murderer brought to justice. Stalin was responsible for millions of murders, but died at a ripe old age in his palace.

    Those methods to define right and wrong work only as long as people subscribe to them. There are no absolutes or ways to tell for sure what is right and wrong without God.

    You’ve never lied to Nazis about whether you were hiding Jews. I would be willing to bet you’ve never told a lie to save someone’s life; you lied to protect yourself. You can’t even keep your own moral code, much less God’s. You’ve broken His law, and you will give an account for every single lie you’ve ever told. All liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

    There is no evidence for matter creating itself, or for the first life form popping into existence. You’ve taken a leap of faith to believe in impossible things, because you hate God so much.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  13. Bill,

    I would like to make one final reply by saying that I never commented on your blog to be disrespectful, rude or argue. Rather, I enjoy dialogue, discussion and debate with those who agree and disagree with me. I have found skepticism lived out through discussion is the best way for me (and anyone, for that matter) to continue to search for understanding in this world.

    That said, I am more than offended by your final comment, “You’ve taken a leap of faith to believe in impossible things, because you hate God so much.”

    I don’t fully comprehend how you have the audacity to make a claim like this. You know very little about me. Perhaps you have gathered some information from my comments on this post, perhaps you’ve gone so far as to read part of my blog. Regardless, you know very little about me. You know next to nothing about my time pre-Christian, my time as a Christian, or my time post-Christianity.

    Part of me would like to go step by step through your last comment and unpack the claims you make. But your last sentence has made very clear to me that you are in no way interested in the truth that you claim to hold so dear. You’re interested in propagating your cause.

    It’s always a disappointment to discover that individuals are nothing more than dogmatists, whether theists or atheists. Disappointing.

    “Thanks,”
    CTC

  14. billphillips says:

    CTC,

    Thanks for the conversation. I can’t really say that I enjoyed it either. I take zero pleasure in pointing out your destination if you stay on your current path.

    I don’t consider pointing out obvious truth to be dogmatic. You deny the obvious evidence for a Creator, choosing instead to believe in impossibilities. God has given you everything. He has shown you so much mercy. Even giving you another day on earth to blaspheme Him while He should instantly send you to hell, He wants to give you one more day to repent. He provides the oxygen you breathe, for which you not only have no intention of repaying Him, but deny His existence, which reveals your hatred of Him.

    You can dislike me all day long, but please for the sake of your eternity, turn back. You never know when God’s mercy will run out and you will experience His justice. Please think about it.

    Bill

  15. […] On Dogmatism, Re: UnChristian is Bogus I know I shouldn’t do it.  I mean, I know it is a bad idea, but I just can’t seem to help myself.  From time to time, while surfing through the blogs of atheists, I find (by accident, mind you) blogs about atheists written by Christians.  Sometimes they have insightful things to say, sometimes they don’t.  Usually I read it and move on, but sometimes I leave a comment.  And that’s what I did when I read this little piece by Bill Phillips. […]

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