In Search of the Real Thing
In Search of the Real Thing
By Dave Breese
There are both animated and taciturn conversations across the world today about a most important subject. That subject is Christianity. This marvelous spiritual reality called the faith. . . once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3) manifests itself in our times in a hundred different forms. One of them we have come to call nominal Christianity is certainly the most common form of the Christian religion which is in existence in the world today. We do well, therefore, to ask the question, What is nominal Christianity?
The word nominal means in name only. When used with reference to Christianity, it refers to those who call themselves Christians, but who are not the real thing. They are Christians in name only, but they constitute what probably can be called the most common form of the Christian religion in our time. It even may be suggested that nominal Christians far outnumber the real thing. A very long discussion could be created around the question, How do we know a nominal Christian? Can a nominal Christian be easily identified?
That question presses us to take a quick look at our society and even the culture of the Church. This because the danger of a large expansion of nominal Christianity may well be upon us. One of its forms is when the name Christianity is attached to a thing, a program, for the purpose of producing an image of that thing, which image may be far from the truth.
In Germany, there is a major political party called The Christian Democratic Party. It is a significant factor in the German democratic process, but no one would argue that its membership consists only of born-again Christians. Quite obviously the name Christian was chosen for political reasons and has nothing to do with the faith of individuals.
Within the aberrant religions of the world, the name of Christianity appears. One wonders and even smiles at the activities of our world that come under the name of Christian.
The aspect of this for which we should be genuinely concerned is the hypocritical use of the name Christian among individuals. An individual who bears the name Christian but is not in fact a Christian. He is at best a nominal Christian. A nominal Christian can be attached to a church or a movement and uses Christianity as a title. An individual called a Christian may well be in his heart of hearts something that is a far cry from real Christianity. A nominal Christian pays no heed to his faith because, of course, he has none. A real Christian rejoices daily in the reality of Jesus Christ.
Nominal Christians may well make a small but public gift while a real Christian makes his offering and cares not for promoting it.
A nominal Christian pays a great deal of attention to public promotion while a real Christian is happy to do his alms in secret.
A real Christian is an earnest student of the Word of God whereas a nominal Christian scarcely can recite the books of the Bible.
For the nominal Christian, the Bible bears no message about faith and conduct. For the real Christian, however, the Bible is the Word of God and is our only rule for faith and practice. The preoccupation of the nominal Christian is with his image in this world. The spiritual Christian, however, rejoices in the hope of eternal life and brightly anticipates the day when he will move from this world to the world to come.
In thinking about these things, we can simply come to the conclusion that we need a lot more of real Christianity and a good deal less of the counterfeit, nominal type. It is high time that we have within this true and marvelous thing called Christianity a real revival. We speak not of the superficial kind, but rather a revival of the preaching of the true Gospel, of the call to commitment to Christ, of vital Christian godliness and genuine consecration to Christ. We are close to the place where nominal Christianity will become the only kind there is. This must not happen. We who believe vitally true historic Christianity can prevent this. The time is now to be up and doing that the world may see a vital Christianity for what it truly is.
First TV Program Made By Iraqi Christians For Iraqis
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is going forward in Iraq. SAT-7 wrote this last week in a news release: Their lives are threatened. Their churches have been bombed. The recent election has been overlooked in the world press. In spite of this, some Iraqi Christians, who make up about 3% of the population, are reaching out and ministering to their communities. New churches have started, Christian bookstores have opened, and an Iraqi pastor has created, for SAT-7, what we believe to be the first Christian satellite TV show made by an Iraqi for Iraqis.
I want to encourage my community, my people in Iraq, says Pastor Haitham Akaram, the writer and host of SAT-7s new program Help from the Highest. The program includes interviews with people on the streets of Baghdad, asking their opinions on topics ranging from Anger and Revenge and Dealing with Traumatized Children to Hope for the Future. The shows Jordanian producer says, I believe Iraqis will be blessed when they hear an Iraqi talking about the issues they are all facing. I trust it will bring them hope.
Debbie Brink, SAT-7 executive director, says. We are encouraging Christians in North America to pray for Iraqs minority Christian population during this pivotal time.
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