The Believer's Armory: 

M.E. Brines' blog with articles & links to important resources to equip Believers for spiritual success in a world steeped in the occult.


What does “Christian” really mean?

Jesus warned us:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:15-23)

But do we really understand the difference between “good” fruit and bad? What does it means for something to be authentically “Christian?”

Churches used to have Statements of Faith that declared what it meant to be a Baptist or Pentecostal or Catholic. But churches today are so obsessed with market share, they aggressively recruit their neighbors and aren’t too picky whether they agree with an old dusty Statement of Faith, as long as they show up regularly on Sunday morning and slip a fiver into the collection plate.

According to the Barna poling organization “More than four out of five Americans claim to be Christian and half as many can be classified as born again Christians. Nine out of ten adults own a Bible. Most adults read the Bible during the year and a huge majority claims they know all of the basic teachings of the Bible.” This would seem to indicate that America is a Christian nation and that our churches have been very successful.

Yet Barna concludes his study saying, “How, then, can most people say Satan does not exist, that the Holy Spirit is merely a symbol, that eternal peace with God can be earned through good works, and that truth can only be understood through the lens of reason and experience? How can a plurality of our citizens contend that Jesus committed sins and that the Bible, Koran and Book of Mormon all teach the same truths?”

The fact of the matter is that in America today there are many church attenders but few actual followers of Christ. This is borne out further in the same study:

“The year's research also underscored the fact that half of the people who attend Christian churches on any given weekend are not Christian - that is, they do not trust in Christ alone for their eternal salvation.”

Research reveals few congregants have a biblical worldview, half the people they minister to are not spiritually secure or developed, kids are fleeing from the church in record numbers, most of the people who attend worship services admit they did not connect with God, the divorce rate among Christians is no different than that of non-Christians, only 2% of the pastors themselves can identify God's vision for their ministry they are trying to lead, and the average congregant spends more time watching television in one day than he spends in all spiritual pursuits combined for an entire week.

In a national study only 7% of Christians identified spiritual wholeness and development as the factor that will produce a successful life. “Family and Personal Accomplishments Lead People’s List of Success Determinants,” Barna went on to state: "The Christian faith commends sacrifice, servanthood and sharing as the means to significance. How is it possible to have more than 120 million adults attending Christian churches on a regular basis, but only 15 million who grasp the message that success is not about personal accomplishment or material possessions?"

Only one-third of teenagers attending church today are likely to do so once they reach adulthood. [All statistics from “Barna Identifies Seven Paradoxes Regarding America’s Faith”, December 17, 2002]

In America today a large majority of people describe themselves as “followers of Christ” and believe in the accuracy of the Bible, yet they also believe there is no absolute moral truth and argue that truth is always relative to the individual. [Barna: “Americans are more likely to Base Truth on Feelings.”]

“While most believers have heard of spiritual gifts, half of all born-again adults either do not know what their spiritual gift is or claim that God did not give them one.” [Growing True Disciples, page 74]

According to the Gallup polling organization in June 1990 74% of Americans describe themselves as having made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ [Awakening the Giant, Jim Russell, page 13], yet in the last few decades rates of illegitimacy and divorce have skyrocketed and unmarried couples have become a standard feature of our society. Over a million people are currently in prison, (statistics from Prison Fellowship) one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world, certainly in American history.

For several decades now most American churches have experienced declining attendance, increasing apathy and lack of spiritual development. The youth drop out en masse as soon as they graduate and adult men are difficult to find in pews on Sunday morning. Christian churches in America are becoming little more than social clubs for old ladies.

Christian influence in society has declined and we are pushed ever more onto the fringes. In the last sixty years abortion, pornography, and gambling have been legalized and praying in school has been outlawed. It’s legal and considered socially acceptable to support an on-campus homosexual club with tax money but a Bible club has to sue just to be allowed to meet on school premises. In three generations we’ve gone from a society where teaching evolution in a public school was illegal, to one where mentioning a creator is. All of these trends are clearly documented by statistics gathered by the Barna poling organization. In fact there’s a newly coined term for the increasingly successful advance of modern secularism. It’s been described as a culture war. And while the Church seems to be holding onto its market share, those of us who hold to the traditional worldview see our side is losing.

And it’s because we do not have a real sense of what being a Christian is. It’s no wonder things are falling apart if we don’t understand the most basic element of what it is to be a Christian – what’s the definition?

In America today a “Christian” is somebody who goes to church. It doesn’t seem to matter what church it is or what they teach. A “Church-ian” would be a more accurate description.

If another “Christian” finds out you’re one too, what’s the first question they always ask? “What church do you go to?”

But what should be the definition of “Christian?” (That will be the subject of my next blog post)

 

If you found this post interesting you might also like some of my books:

The Bible - Dead Letter or Message from Your Creator?

Revolutionary Discipleship What does Jesus expect from his followers? How did he train his disciples?

Has Christianity lost its cultural relevance? Has the Church’s misguided efforts to market itself to non-Christians doomed it to irrelevance? Is it time for a new Reformation?  Spiritual Embezzlement Made Easy

Of Myth and Magic A comparison of religion, philosophy and magick throughout history. Are all religions basically the same? Is there a way to Truth and contentment? 

Lilith of Gomorra is a noble Martian priestess who sees love as nothing more than an exercise in naked carnality. But when she discovers a higher form of love, her faith in the ancient religion turns to doubt and she must choose between her people and the man she loves. The fate of the Earth hangs on her choice. A Priestess of Mars - a romantic steampunk adventure that explores the meaning of love from a Biblical perspective.

And if you didn't like this post...well, there's always something on TV.

 

 


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Previous posts:

·  Should Christians Understand the Occult?

Cultural Posts    Philosophical posts    Steampunk Posts


Who is M.E. Brines?

M.E. Brines spent the Cold War assembling atomic artillery shells and preparing to unleash the Apocalypse (and has a medal to prove it.) But when peace broke out, he turned his fevered, paranoid imagination to other pursuits. He spends his spare time scribbling another steampunk romance occult adventure novel, which despite certain rumors absolutely DOES NOT involve time-traveling Nazi vampires!

A former member of the British Society for Psychical Research, he is a long-time student of the occult and a committed Christian who sees himself as a modern-day Professor Van Helsing equipping Believers for battle against the occult Principalities and Powers that rule a world in darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)

The author of three dozen books, e-books, chapbooks and pamphlets on esoteric subjects such as alien abduction, alien hybrids, astrology, the Bible, biblical prophecy, Christian discipleship, conspiracies, esoteric Nazism, the Falun Gong, Knights Templar, magick, and UFOs, his work has also appeared in Challenge magazine, Weird Tales, The Outer Darkness, Tales of the Talisman, and Empirical magazine.

*I'm often asked how I square my Christianity and "messing around" with the occult, as if I'm partial to bestial things with a goat under the amber light of the moon or something. No so. I'm a student, in the same way I used to study Soviet weapons and tactics back when I was a US Army officer. This gives my work a unique perspective no matter what your belief system. I don't judge. I just present the information and let the reader decide.

Cool Links:

Crimson Frost Books

Armstrong Economics Blog

Christian Fiction Online Magazine

Tales of the Talisman magazine

Weird Tales magazine

Indie Books R Us

Society for Psychical Research

Ghost Hunting Theories (+ Bigfoot)

Gnostalgia (the Esoteric Steampunk Lodge of the Retro-Future)

Where the Map Ends

Why Star Trek is dead. (Postmodernism killed it)

Smashwords is great place 2 get e-books, 7 different formats, Nook, Kindle, EPUB, & more! Many are FREE. Check it out!!! https://www.smashwords.com/


The Struggle of Nations Game  

(This could be you)

Ever wanted to rule your own nation? Now you can! The Struggle of Nations is a historical play-by-e-mail game where each player is the leader of his own nation. Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing government or rebel faction. Weekly turns represent the passage of a year in game-time. During each week you can plot, plan and scheme, then turn in your national budget and orders by the deadline. Track your progress using the economic report and full-color maps on the web site. Read about your exploits in the weekly newsletter!

The game accommodates busy players by enabling you to spend whatever time you like during the week conducting diplomacy with the other players via e-mail and determining your budget and orders, as long as they are finalized and submitted by the weekly turn deadline. You devote to the game exactly as much or as little time as you choose. 

The rules are realistic and complete yet with a human referee to allow customized options. Players can manipulate tax rates, social programs, propaganda, and forge a customized military with secret weapons of their own design. The possibilities for economic growth, conquest, colonization, exploration, and research are endless.

Set in a 19th century steampunk Victorian world, The Struggle of Nations allows players to develop their countries as they see fit, accommodating any ideology or style of play. The game only ends if one player manages to conquer (or destroy) the world. In previous sessions the game lasted until the early 21st century as players began to explore and colonize the solar system. What could YOU accomplish if you ruled a nation?

Find out in The Struggle of Nations! Choose any nationality or secret society you like.  Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing nation or rebel faction. Just contact the Game Master by sending an e-mail to "son@cox.net." For the rules of play, click on The Player's Handbook below. The game is FREE (although we request a donation of $5 per turn.) Sign up today!  


The links below lead to the Player's Handbook, and other useful documents. The player's handbook helps players fill out their order packets correctly so their orders are not misunderstood by the Game Master. 

Player's Handbook        

Understanding Technology    Tips for Small Countries     

 Military Equipment:

TL1-6    TL7-12    TL13-18

Current Economic Report

Current Maps: 

Europe    Asia    Africa    

North America    South America    The Pacific   

Game Newsletters:

1856    1857    1858    1859    

1860    1861    1862    1863    

   

The new Hanoverian Hippomobile (dealerships are available.)

 

The fall of the Heavenly capital 

Montigny_Mitrailleuse.jpg

 

The new Spanish flagship, the British-built Hispania

a central battery ironclad

 

You can join the game discussion group by using this URL:

http://groups.google.com/group/the-struggle-of-nations?hl=en

All attached documents are Copyright 2012 by Michael E. Brines