A favourite response of Christians to any criticism is, ‘it doesn’t apply to me. I’m not that sort of Christian. The people who do or believe or think those things are not true Christians.’ This the ‘no true-Scotsman‘ fallacy.
- You get it when you point out how God’s People™ agitate in Africa and Europe to deprive LGBT people of rights, protection and safety (unless of course you’re talking to a Christian who thinks this is a loving thing to do.)
- You get it when you challenge Christians about Westboro baptist church’s activities, (the latest of which is claiming that Ebola is God’s punishment for Obama, which must be why he’s smiting poverty-stricken Africans.)
- You get it when you mention those Christians who believe mumbo-jumbo that’s slightly different from theirs.
- You get it when you ask them about any of the other deplorable things Christians do in Jesus’ name.
‘These other people are not true Christians,’ they say. ‘Their theology isn’t the same as mine; they’re misinterpreting the Bible; I wouldn’t do those kind of things; you’re picking out extremists.’
And do you know, Christians, those very people you say are not true Christians would say the same about you.
So what defines a Christian? Isn’t it that you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, profess him as such, and avail yourself of the salvation you think he offers?
Indeed it is. And it’s precisely this that you have in common with the Westboro baptist church, with those who peddle the absurd, with those who seek to damage LGBT people, with those who use their positions to abuse others and those with different ideas about what being a Christian is really all about.
You and they have bought into the same fantasy: they, like you, have accepted Jesus; they, like you, have his Holy Spirit in their hearts. That they do things you don’t approve of, or regard as embarrassing or despicable, doesn’t alter that fact. You’re all in it together; they represent Jesus just as much as you do; are as much a part of the ‘bride of Christ’ as you are. The zealots, extremists and wackos are your brothers and sisters in Christ, and if you’re right about Jesus being your Saviour – which of course you’re not; I’m being generous here – you’re going to be spending all of eternity with them.
So time to knock the ‘no true Christian’ excuse on the head – it’s going to be so embarrassing for you when you get to heaven.