ARE YOU A CULTURAL CHRISTIAN- Introduction
Did you know that not everyone who embraces Christian doctrine, lives by Christian morals, and attends a Christian church, is really a Christian? How in the world can that be?
ARE YOU A CULTURAL CHRISTIAN- Just a part of the culture
As shocking as it may sound, not everyone who professes to be a Christian is, in fact, a Christian. A lot of people think of themselves as Christians merely because it’s part of their culture. You ask them: Are you a Christian? And they say: I’m an American aren’t I?!
ARE YOU A CULTURAL CHRISTIAN- The Marks of Cultural Christianity
People like this are classically known as cultural Christians and, of course, there are cultural Christians in most, if not all, Christian denominations. In fact, many Hispanics, Italians, and Irish are cultural Catholics. There are also, for example, cultural Baptists in the “Bible Belt” of America. So, what are the marks of cultural Christianity — and perhaps more to the point, are you one?
ARE YOU A CULTURAL CHRISTIAN- Nonessentials
Are you intolerant over nonessential matters? For example, do you bad-mouth a Jehovah’s Witness because of his view on saluting the flag or his refusal to celebrate a holiday, and then turn around and overlook the more important issues like his views on the Bible, God, Christ and even salvation by grace alone?
ARE YOU A CULTURAL CHRISTIAN- Orthodox Theology
Perhaps you exhibit another classic characteristic of cultural Christianity? Do you get angry when a family member converts to orthodox theology — even though you can clearly see that their life is obviously changed for the better? You know, ironically, it’s not even uncommon for cultural Catholics to even disown their children when they become fervent, dedicated believers for the very first time.
ARE YOU A CULTURAL CHRISTIAN- Legalism
And interestingly enough, the most common mark of cultural Christianity, is legalism. When Christianity becomes a habit rather than a Spirit filled life, when we emphasize taboos and rigid conformity to the letter of the law, rather than the substance of it, we might well be embracing cultural rather than real Christianity.
ARE YOU A CULTURAL CHRISTIAN- Conclusion
Well, are you a cultural Christian? Test yourself. Otherwise you might find yourself standing at the very throne of Christ at the very last judgement saying, “Lord, Lord” and hear Him say, “…away from me, I never knew you.” On cultural vs. real Christianity, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.