a Destiny Newsletter
by Dave Breese
In Search Of The Real Thing:
There are both animated and taciturn (aloof) conversations across the world today about a most important subject. That subject is "Christianity." This marvelous spiritual reality is called "the faith … once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) manifest 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, 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 unusual religions of the world, the name Christianity appears. One wonders and even smiles at the activities of our world that comes under the name of "Christian."
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 the only rule for faith and practice. The preoccupation of the nominal Christian is with his image in the 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. 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 so that the world may see a vital Christianity for what it truly is.