Is Everyone a Christian Who Claims to Be a Christian?

Roger E. Olson | 4/2/2019 | Staff
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Is Everyone a Christian Who Claims to Be a Christian?

One of my biggest frustrations as a Christian blogger who is also a noted Christian theologian is that many people seem to think that “Christianity” is simply whatever a person who claims to be a Christian says it is. A slightly more sophisticated way of making the same error is to think, as many do, that “Christianity” is simply the consensus of people who call themselves Christians. Therefore, to take one example, it was Christians who carried out the medieval Crusades and pogroms against Jews and etc. Or, in some cases, people will say that Christianity is responsible for the environmental crisis or the presidency of Donald Trump or the genocide in Rwanda, etc.

Mistake - Today - Evangelicalism - Evangelicals - Anyone

The same mistake is made today about evangelicalism and evangelicals. It is simply assumed that anyone who says they are evangelical and/or once had a “born again experience” is an evangelical.

This is an example of a larger problem of faulty thinking on the part of most people today. There is little to no recognition or acknowledgement of the “essence” of a religion or an ideology or philosophy.

Moltmann - Claim - Talk - Believers - God

I believe Moltmann’s claim was “loose talk.” It was confusing. Other believers in God (which Moltmann clearly was and is) have claimed to be atheists because they did/do not believe in the god of classical theism.

And, of course, anyone who has studied church history knows that early Christians were accused of “atheism” because they believed in only one God and not all or many gods.

Examples - People - Meaning - Labels - Breaking

I could go on giving examples of people who have stretched the meaning of religious, philosophical, and ideological labels to the breaking point. My point is that too few people recognize what is going on or question it.

Christian thinkers (theologians, biblical scholars, philosophers) have always recognized and commented...
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