What makes a Christian?

I’ve just read an interesting article where it raises – somewhat tongue-in-cheek – how you can check if someone is a Christian – or not – using maybe a written test, would you believe, as in my header image above!?

And of course, as you might have guessed, it’s not quite as straightforward as you might think. From the ‘man-in-the-street’ who makes the judgement on someone, ‘He calls himself a Christian? Huh….’, up to the high theologians who plumb the depths of ancient manuscripts in search of the detail – no, its not that easy, is it? Click the logo below to go and take a look at the article and see what you think:


It’s a great article, I thought; and it’s interesting, but it’s important to realise that the Bible does not really define what makes a person a Christian. This is of course one of the reasons why there are so many denominations of Christianity.

I believe this (the lack of any definition) is deliberate, in that God allows each of us to come to Him in our own way. The things the Bible does say is that people come to God via Jesus, and that believing in Him is the way to the Father. And, given that the people who were first called Christians (in Acts 11:26) were people who believed in Jesus, that all seems to fit. But other than that, really, things aren’t really all that well-defined.

In fact, it is this very lack of definition, and conversely the multitude of opinions of believing Christians, that convince me that God actually isn’t all that bothered about the exact ‘method’ people use to approach Him. I find it impossible to believe that any one party, denomination or person has ‘got it all right’.

That said, to Christians, other Christians have a certain indefinable ‘something’ that makes them different. 2Cor2:15 says ‘For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing…’; maybe that has something to do with it.

But often it’s easy, though, for anyone to recognise those who hear God’s Heart. Jesus said, ‘By their fruits you will recognise them’. So if a person is all angry, graceless, harsh or otherwise nasty, most likely they are not really listening to Jesus all that much. They might be a Christian, but only God knows that for sure. On the other hand, if there’s someone you know who is loving, merciful, Gracious and somehow reminds you of Jesus, chances are they’re someone who is close to His heart and therefore worth listening to. To me, their opinions would hold much more weight. That’s not what makes them a Christian, but it’s easy to tell that they are already one because you are seeing their fruit.

And they would pass the test, don’t you think? 😉

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