The test of true Christianity

Not all who call themselves Christians are true followers of Christ. This is not new, as stated by Jesus, before leaving this world. (Matthew 24:5). The Bible provides several mechanisms by which any sincere believer can check the authenticity of his/her commitment. There is no wisdom that can override the wisdom found in avoiding rampant deception across the Christian world.

Having a low opinion of oneself, or of another person, is the first cause of blindness in Christianity. Truth is available across all denominations, just as deception is found across all denominations. It is often a question of who would be used by God at any given time. Those who had a low opinion of Jesus never benefitted anything from Jesus. That phenomenon is still with us today, as Christ uses any person, without considering his/her denomination or social background.

When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and any who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “what’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at Him (Mark 6:2-3 NIV).

The term Jesus is applicable to any human and is not distinguished by race, class or educational background. The Christ cannot be seen by physical eyes, as hidden to ordinary human beings. It is the same Christ who dwelt in Jesus of Nazareth, despised, and viewed as not befitting of being used by God. This is the fundamental truth that is ignored by most believers.

Those believers assume that truth ought to come from respectable quarters. It behoves anyone desiring truth to understand that it is not a question of one’s background that qualifies God’s messengers. Truthful information cannot be accommodated by respecters of personalities.

A truthful person does not consider one’s background, before examining the proffered information.  That person attends to the workability of the information, even when coming from nonbelievers. This is just as God is not a respecter of personalities, according to the Bible (Acts 10:34-35).

This includes the consideration of educational background, posture or the type of vehicle one drives. In Zimbabwe, politicians are accorded respect, even with their documented clumsy backgrounds. Those politicians drive flashy vehicles, enabling them to earn undeserved respect from ordinary humans.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:1-5 NIV).

James is talking about common practice, even in Christian circles, today. That practice appears normal, but distinguishing those judging matters with evil thoughts, according to James. Looking down upon another human being, regardless of background, is a product of evil.

This should not be construed as sitting in judgment, but determining whether one would be dealing with a believer or not. The actual judgment for humanity comes from God. The identity of true believers enables one to know how to relate, and how applicable the communication would be.

One’s interaction with true believers is different from interacting with non-believers. This does not necessarily mean treating non-believers badly. This simply provides the necessary tact on issues of common interests. Christian believers do not provide unsolicited information, to avoid offending people.

Jesus, as the bread of life, spoke in parables, to nonbelievers, only encouraging those with ears to take note. Those believing and desiring more information are treated accordingly. This characterizes the significance of the parable of the Sower whose interpretation Jesus enunciated in Matthew 13:18-23.

The richness of the soil represents the adoption and application of truthful information. God’s people are capable of evaluating, to establish the truth from error. They do not condemn but can separate truth from error. This is necessary, to avoid wolves in sheep’s clothing, according to Jesus (Matthew 7:15-23).

The second cause of blindness is conflating goodness with humanity. Great preachers tend to attract people to themselves; leaving such people vulnerable to deception. Even though one might be considered truer than other Christians.

Truth cannot be associated with personalities. It is a beacon, attributed to God only. Even Jesus refused to be called good (Matthew 19:16-17 KJV). The idea of associating personalities with truth has trapped many Christians, since the beginning of the century. Paul tried to address this syndrome among those he described as sustained in milk.

“My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ is emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 11-17 NIV).

This error is treated as normal even in our time. For instance, SDA Christians do not believe that non-Sabbath-keepers are authentic. Similarly, other Christian groupings mock and treat the SDAs as nonbelievers. It is impossible for those, sidetracked by such issues, to be associated with God’s truth.

The people with different viewpoints could be correct, in their understanding. But both groups would be in error, as long as failing to appreciate God’s authority. Paul dedicated the entire chapter of Romans 14, showing the endemic stupidity in critiquing one another on such matters.

God’s children are not obsessed with theories. God’s truth carries nothing to do with theories, as based on Christ’s revelation. The trick lies in the willingness to learn, but also requires the willingness to unlearn error.

A true believer does not behave like the Pharisees, who were unwilling to yield, even when shown the truth. True believers are those, willing to check whether the information is true or false, like the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

It is one thing to remain dogmatic of one’s beliefs and quite another to endlessly examine information for purposes of growth. This requires listening to critics, more than listening to those in agreement with one.

In order not to be manipulated, everything needs evaluation according to Christ’s teachings, and not according to denominational standpoints, necessarily. One may belong to any denomination but maintain freedom, from manipulation by denominational leaders.

This is what gives unparalleled happiness, when not owing anyone, except Jesus Christ. This is not suggesting being free from error. But, being willing to examine whatever comes from critiques, to enhance one’s convictions.

It is often disappointing when some people virulently attack one’s standpoint, without showing reasons for disapproval. However, Matthew 5:10-12, shows that such attacks signify being on the truthful path.

As long as feeling uncomfortable after criticism, with or without reason, one would be a non-believer. This is because Jesus advised feeling comfortable when criticized. Truth grants freedom, but at the same time, it requires responsibility.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:15-17).

The third aspect of testing one’s Christian standing is denominationalism. This is just as all wars, across the world, are a result of partisan ideologies. Currently, Russia is at war with Ukraine after Ukraine expressed interest in adopting Western ideologies.

The cause of that war is alienation from Western nations. Naturally, humans desire to associate with people of like-minded viewpoints. This is why denominationalism appeals to Christian believers. Unfortunately, in their denominational enclaves, such people would not be believers.

God’s children are strangers to the entire world. Their mission projects Christ’s life to those groping in darkness. Believers are ever willing to listen to anyone, regardless of background. Jesus associated with sinners, although not a sinner Himself. The same applies to His followers.

Jesus did not come for the righteous but for sinners (Matthew 9:12-13). He did not come for the like-minded people, that is if they could be available. Otherwise, Jesus was a stranger to the entire world. Hence, His detractors could not appreciate His association with sinners, rather than with good people.

The question of association could not apply to Jesus, who was not denominational. The reasoning pattern with ordinary people was that strangers ought to die. Hence the Jews killed Jesus, whose novel teachings they could not accommodate.

Regardless of how comfortable one is, in his/her denomination, one is disqualified from being a Christian believer. The only durable comfort is in Christ, and not in a denominational enclave. Denominational believers might appear as dedicated Christian believers but in vain. Believing in Christianity requires behaving like Jesus, although this is uncomfortable to most people.

Many Christian believers take a partisan stance, protecting their denomination, assuming to please God. Jesus described such behaviour as Satanic when rebuking Peter who had sought to defend Jesus. Like Peter, those partisan believers are completely oblivious of being enemies of Jesus.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Out of my sight, Satan!

“You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men. If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life, will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:21-26 NIV).

There is security in denominationalism, showing many believers whose lives have been improved, through associating with their respective denominations. But that refuge is far removed from being a Christian believer. Although assumed to be a believer, the person would be a nonbeliever. The last test, in this presentation, is assuming relevance in Christian Theology.

Christian believers do not consider theories about Christianity, as adopting everything from the original. Basing one’s belief in theological Scholars makes one a non-believer. Sadly, Theology is unchristian, although treated as authentic, by most people.

“And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:37-40 NIV).

One does not need theology to believe Jesus. Pretending to understand does not make one a believer. There is no need to invalidate one’s own intellectual understanding. A person might have understood what Jesus taught, but become persuaded to go by Scholastic theories, rather than what Jesus taught.

It would be at the point of invalidating one’s own integrity, preferring Scholastic integrity, where the mettle is lost. The Bible is clear about avoiding other gods before one’s own God (Exodus 20:3). What is true to the individual should be treated as true, even without approval from some authority. As long as doubting one’s integrity, one is not a believer.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

The Print copy is now available at for $13.99

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