CINOs: Christians In Name Only
October 22, 2003
I guess I shouldnít be surprised. Still, I am amazed by each new headline that points to one more example of how what was mainstream Christian belief is being relegated to "right-wing extremism." How has it come to be so? As much as we Christians might wish to blame the culture around us, the blame may be placed with the man in the mirror.
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine was representing Bob Jones University at a student recruitment venue. A high school student who identified herself as a Mormon approached him. They began a conversation about how she would fit in at the school. My friend said, "Well, Bob Jones University is a Christian school with a Christian mission. I donít know if you would find the beliefs taught there to be compatible with your own." She replied that she was a Christian and why then would she not fit in.
At that point, my friend began comparing the beliefs of her church and the basic doctrines of Christianity. One that I will point out here is the doctrine of the Deity of Christ. Needless to say, Christianity hinges on this basic doctrine. The fact of Jesus being God is a necessary component of salvation.
Christianity and Mormonism differ greatly on this point. The Book of Mormon teaches that Jesus and Lucifer were the children of God and his wife. Jesus turned out to be the good son while Lucifer rebelled and became the bad son. Jesus is not God. He is merely a god. The Bible, on the other hand, teaches that Jesus is God.
The student was offended that my friend did not consider Mormonism to be simply another Christian denomination. Up to this point, the story is pretty much like many other conversations between Christians and Mormons. It is to be expected that there would be disagreement. However, what followed was the more discouraging aspect of the tale.
Later, the Mormon student returned with about twelve of her friends. These friends were all self-professing Baptists. They were also upset with my friend for not taking Mormonism into the Christian fold. He began a conversation with them pointing out the example of disagreement on the doctrine of the Deity of Christ. The response he received? "You are wrong. Jesus is the Son of God." Meaning, Jesus is just a son of God.
I expect the atheist to read this column and scoff. I anticipate that the Mormon will read the column and wish to argue. However, it is sad that many professing Christians will probably read the column and share in the offense. They will think it unloving and bigoted to draw lines between Mormonism and Christianity. Indeed, to some like those students, my friend and I are hateful and mean because we dare to speak about this disagreement.
So, are we surprised that General Boykin would be assailed for his correctly stated Christian views? Should we be amazed at how he has come under fire for making statements that not to long ago would not have caused people to bat an eyelash? Indeed, what of Abraham Lincoln and others in our nationís history who used similar language?
No, we should not be surprised. We should be warned. While Christians celebrate the passing of the partial birth abortion ban and rise up to fight in the courts and the legislatures against the seeming persecution that is coming upon us, we could better point our energies elsewhere. We can work to create the trappings of a Christian culture upon our society. However, we will have created an empty shell. Jesus would call us "whited sepulchres . . . full of dead menís bones."
What good is it if we gain our legislative battles but lose the souls of our children? Will we continue to rear a generation of "cultural Christians" or "Christians In Name Only?"
It is time for the Church to speak. Christian, you are the Church. It is the individual responsibility of each one of us to stand and speak the Gospel. We must speak to the hearts of men. Will we be ridiculed? Will we be refused by many? Yes. But remember what Christ says about his word, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world."
The ultimate battle will find us victorious. Do not forget the type of battle we wage. It is not over governments, monuments or laws. It is for the souls of men. Do not forget the prize for which we fight. Stand fast and conduct yourselves like children of the King.