30 May 2023

Fake Christians.

I used to write about fake Christians a lot.

Probably too much, which is why I went cold turkey for a few years. It was getting a little graceless of me. I mean, based on my criteria, 15-year-old me would’ve been a fake Christian. And I wasn’t! Yeah, there was a lot of hypocrisy in my life. But I was legitimately Christian. A lousy one, but an authentic one.

So lemme ’splain what I mean by fake Christian: Somebody who claims to be Christian, or gets mixed up in Christian activities or the Christian subculture. But knowingly, deliberately, isn’t.

  • Like a politician who goes to church to win votes, or meets with pastors to get their approval. But in private he thinks Christians are easily-fooled idiots. After all, he just fooled ’em.
  • Like a business owner who puts a Jesus fish on her business cards to get Christians as customers. But she never goes to church. Privately, she has a lot of contempt for those who do.
  • Like a husband who goes to church with his family because he approves of the moral guidance religion can provide. But he never follows its guidance. Doesn’t think he needs to; he’s good! And would think you’re a fool if you ever seriously suggested it to him.
  • Like a woman who wants her neighbors to think she’s a good Christian woman, because they appear to be good Christian women, and she’d like to fit in, and not be rejected as the neighborhood heathen.
  • Like a man who’s offended because his coworker is living with his girlfriend “in sin.” Who’s offended when anyone’s gay or lesbian or bisexual, because “that’s a sin.” Who’s offended when someone figures they're nonbinary or trans, because “that’s a sin” too. But when anyone calls him out on his regular practice of sleeping with skanks every weekend, suddenly “what I do in my private time is none of your f---ing business, and who are you to judge me?”

Fake Christians aren’t interested in Jesus. They’re only interested in the fringe benefits of Christianity. And in predominantly Christian countries and communities, there are plenty of benefits! You fit right in.

  • “Fellow” Christians will automatically accept you!—’cause even though we Christinas are supposed to love everyone, loads of us suck at it.
  • “Fellow” Christians will unquestioningly endorse you!—’cause even though we’re supposed to test everything, loads of us suck at it.
  • “Fellow” Christians will often show you abundant grace!—’cause even though we’re supposed to show grace to everyone, loads of us suck at it. And don’t really extend grace to our own as much as we should.
  • Plus you can be as bigoted as you like, but say it’s really because you’re offended by “sin.”

If you're a con artist of any level, we Christians are easy pickings. Too easy.

Is it a fake Christian, or just a bad Christian?

But though fake Christians are most definitely hypocrites, it doesn't automatically follow that every Christian who’s a giant hypocrite is automatically a fake Christian.

That’s where I used to go overboard too often. I’d assume any fleshly Christian hypocrite must automatically not be a real Christian, ’cause real Christians actually follow Jesus; whereas fake Christians don’t care and don’t bother.

And again, 15-year-old me wouldn’t’ve passed that test. I sucked at following Jesus at that point in my life. I had the attitude that “Once saved, always saved,” and therefore I didn’t need to try to become a better person, because I was saved! Grace is amazing! Yeah, I sucked.

But if Jesus returned that very day, I’d’ve been thrilled. ’Cause I was a real Christian. I wanted his second coming to happen. Still do! He’s gonna save the world.

Whereas a fake Christian, like I said, isn’t Christian and knows they’re not Christian. Their first reaction to Jesus’s second coming? “Oh s---! It’s all real.” The jig would be up; they’d immediately try to go into hiding. A true Christian ultimately figures they’re on Jesus’s team; a fake Christian knows they’re really not.

And yeah, some of these “true Christians” might not really be on Jesus’s team, because he does care that we make an effort to follow him.

Matthew 7.21-23 NET
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many powerful deeds in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’ ”

Which is why we gotta encourage everybody to follow Jesus, Christian or not. But while true Christians might take Jesus’s words to heart and make the effort, fake Christians will only pretend to make the effort, or claim they’ve already made it and needn’t do any more; they’re good. Because they’re frauds. For them, it’s lies all the way through. They’re not the real thing, and aren’t gonna care what Jesus teaches.

So we need to be on our guard against ’em. Because they try to con us. Frequently succeed, too.

Detecting the fakes.

Most of the time we can figure out who the fakes are with some basic commonsense. If they only produce bad fruit; if they’re not even trying to develop good fruit on the grounds that people who love, are joyful, are peaceful, are kind, are patient, are gracious, get crapped on—yeah, you’re dealing with someone who either doesn’t have the Holy Spirit within them, or who’s actively rejecting him. Either way, not Christian.

Too often, fake Christians are painfully obvious in how they have nothing but contempt for Jesus’s teachings. I’m not just talking about Ayn Rand fans who claim to be Christian; I’ve met a bunch of them, who just love her philosophy even though it’s intentionally antichrist and consistently teaches just the opposite of Jesus. But I’ve met lots of people who know nothing of Rand… or of Jesus, and whenever I quote ’em a Jesus-teaching, they dismiss it as wholly impractical claptrap until I bluntly state, “No, but Jesus teaches that.” And even then they’ll argue, “Well Jesus can’t have meant that; I think you’re interpreting him wrong.” Any “longtime Christian” who’s clueless about Jesus’s most basic teachings, is effectively waving a giant red flag at you.

And of course you can ask the Holy Spirit. He’ll tell on people.

What do we do with this information when we have it? Well obviously we can’t trust them. If they lie about being Christian, they’ll lie about anything. If we accuse them of not being Christian, they’ll act offended; they’ll claim they’re very new at it and don’t know anything; they’ll claim they are so Christian, and maybe you’re the fake one; whatever it takes to get you off their back.

But yeah, we can’t trust them. So don’t put ’em in charge of anything! Definitely don’t put them in leadership. Don’t vote for them! Don’t even let them sell you a used car. And so forth.

Can the Spirit get them to repent? If anyone can, he can—and maybe only he can. You can try. Just remember—if they lie about being Christian, they may lie about newly repenting and turning to Jesus. Wait till you see real humility, and real fruit. Unless the Spirit tells you otherwise, don’t be quick to accept and embrace them as the real thing; you might fall for yet another scam they’re trying.