Friday 28 October 2022

Can a real Christian be a member of the church of another religion?

This post is a follow-up to the earlier post today; and forms another - less extreme - example of the same principle that a chattel slave of an evil master - one who lives in accordance with his evil master's agenda; may, nonetheless, be a follower of Jesus Christ and attain salvation. 

Regular readers will know that I regard myself as a 'Fourth Gospel Christian' - the nature of, and arguments for which, I set-out in an online mini-book called Lazarus Writes

Such a conceptualization of being Christian - in its most stark and absolute form, as is currently imposed by a world led by evil-affiliated Men - is a matter of the heart; of inner motivation and commitment. That is, a matter having no necessary relationship to any church, profession or action: whether positively or negatively.

Thus, most church-affiliated Christians I judge not to be Christian; but to have (whether they know it or not) affiliated to the evil agenda of This World; affiliated whether directly by primary political affiliations, or via loyalty and obedience to a church leadership who is in-thrall-to the worldly agenda. 

Conversely I judge there to be at least some real (in their hearts, by motivation) Christians across all of the Christian church denominations of which I am aware; and those unaffiliated to any church...

And, I therefore presume, there are some real Christians in other, not-Christian, religions. Why not? 

There might be many reasons why this could happen, and therefore I presume that it does happen: i.e. that there are followers of Christ and desirers of salvation who are apparently devout members of non-Christian (including Christianity-opposed) churches.

To be clear; such a reliance upon inner motivation to define a Christian does not imply that it does not matter what a person does or what religion they follow - it surely will matter to each individual, in his own unique way. What is possible - or necessary - in the way of church membership for one person, may not be possible for another. 

Neither does it imply that I am obliged to accept anybody's assurance that he or she is really a Christian despite whatever he does (whether apparently Christian-compatible, or Christian-hostile) - quite the contrary! 

I can, will and do discern, evaluate and judge each Man's sincerity of faith regardless of the specific 'facts' of his worldly actions; and using the inner guidance and guidance of the Holy Ghost - which (as the Fourth Gospel tells us) are gifts of all who follow Jesus.  

In a world where (so far as I can tell) nearly-all the religious leaders of all the churches - whether self-identified as Christian or not-Christian - seem obviously to be corrupted into service to evil; I am not very interested in the specific external features of religious observance in 'people in general', but only in particular. 

We cannot, of course, know another Man's heart for sure; but in this mortal life we must do our best to discern other Men's hearts - and act accordingly; and this judgment ought to come primarily and fundamentally from the realm of spirit and our divine self - not from theories, nor 'observations', nor 'evidence'. 



Chent said...

This is the end point of the Reformation, when taken to its logical consequences. If "Christian" does not mean belonging to the Church, but having an inner disposition to God and salvation (which was an innovation by Luther and Calvin), then not only isn't the Church necessary but Christianity isn't necesary either. A Muslim could be more Christian than a member of a Christian church. Of course, this makes proselytism meaningless.

Since the Catholic Church has adopted the Protestant outlook, Francis hates proselytism and expresses once and again. He thinks that believers of other religions are good as they are.

Is this Christianity? No if the word "Christianity" means the same as during the last 2000 words. It is a new religion. I propose "Christ-centered theism", "Lazarism" or "Fourth gospel universal religion". If this is called "Christianity", we have to change all the books to give a new name to what has been considered Christianity until now.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Chent - Yes. These are the End Times.

In a world ruled by evil, we can no longer follow passively. We need actively to (re)discover the true essence of Christianity; each Man for himself.

Also you need to study with more care what I said - I am talking of what is possible, not what is 'on average' optimal.

Or we could follow the church leadership to hell, perhaps? As nearly all your co-religionists have done and are doing.

There is still an important, perhaps vital, role for the churches for many individuals. But only for those who will discern for themselves, and can judge the churches and their leaders. Then they can use what is valuable, and reject what is not - as, presumably, you do already, as indicated by your remarks on the current Pope.

But it is necessary that discerning Christians of all churches are conscious and explicit about their discernment, and drop the pretense of passive obedience.

Francis Berger said...

This will surely mark me as a heretic for the ages, but perhaps -- in a certain sense -- conventional Christianity is ending and another Christianity, a religion of the Holy Spirit, is emerging in its wake.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - Somewhat aside; I suddenly wondered what would have happened if the governments had not lifted the Birdemic lockdown (with closed churches, no assembly, no holy communion, no weddings, no funerals etc) after various numbers of months; but had decided to continue lockdown for years.

And if lockdown (for one reason or another) was still continuing...

How many of the large and mainline 'Christian' churches - who enthusiastically agreed to shut-down operations for many months, without any termination date - would have opened again in defiance of 'the authorities' when it began to seem like lockdown/ church closures and suspensions was Forever?

How many of these "Your health - as currently defined by the government - is Our (one and only) priority" churches would obediently have converted, fully and permanently, into wholly 'online' organizations?

I think I know the answer: nearly-all, if not all.

Michael Dyer said...

@Chent I don’t think it works like that, Protestants don’t and to my knowledge have never believed that you “don’t need the Church”, it just doesn’t identify being in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, as being in communion with the Bishop of Rome or the Patriarchs of Orthodoxy. Being a Christian means you are a member of the Church. No one Protestant denomination identifies itself as synonymous with that either.

Francis Berger said...

@ Bruce - Very few Christians seem to be aware of the immense opportunity the birdemic presented mainline churches. Even fewer seem aware of the immense spiritual damage that ensued when the large, mainline churches turned their backs on this opportunity. I think about that "what if" scenario from time to time, and I agree with your assessment.

As far as I'm concerned, the churches never left lockdown mode spiritually -- not even after they reopened their doors. The churches' response to the birdemic dispelled all doubt about just how deeply "locked in" to the world ruled by evil these organizations really are. This "locked in" state guarantees further deterioration of the externals going forward.

The birdemic was a spiritual turning/inflection point for Christianity. Everyday, external, mainline Christianity is broken; motivations to "fix it" are either disingenuous or altogether absent.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - Absolutely. It was immediately apparent to me that the Christian churches (and other religions too) collapsed in response to the birdemic: the worst collapse in history, because done willingly.

That so many 'Christians' did not notice, and think that things are the same as ever, is incredible to me. It says more about them, than about reality.