How To Know Who Is A Christian


Atheist ask me this question often and I find it fascinating. Apparently people are confused on how to determine if a person is a Christian. Are they what they say they are or are they not? And even better, how would we know the difference?

  • The term “Christian” originates from scripture found in the bible, thus the bible defines the term
  • It is only used 3 times in the bible
  • And it is only defined in one verse

Acts 11:26 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

A Christian is only one thing: a person who is a pupil or an adherent of Jesus Christ:

This is directly confirmed in scripture:

John 8:31
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

There is nothing a person can say that makes them a Christian, they can only be identified via repeatable observation, in adherence to scripture found within the books of the bible. Simply put, If they are not consistently following the doctrines of Jesus Christ then they are not Christian.

A Christian only has one kind of religion, no more no less:

James 1:27 
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

A Christian doesn’t judge:

James 4:12
There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Anyone that fits any part of this description is not a Christian:

Proverbs 6:16-19 16 These six things does the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren.

A Christian only treats you in the following ways:

Titus 3:2
to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Ephesians 4:32
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

1 Peter 4:8-9
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Christians never announce charitable acts:

Matthew 6:1-2
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

A Christian takes good care of foreigners:

Zechariah 7:10
10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

Leviticus 19:33-34
33 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Christians have no love of money or possessions just people:

Acts 2:44-45
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Proverbs 19:17
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Luke 6:30
Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

If someone claims to be Christian (even by faith) but you can clearly see that they behave in a way that goes against scripture, then they are what scripture says they are:

In Christian theology, works, are a person’s (exterior) actions or deeds, in contrast to inner qualities such as grace or faith.

Titus 1:16
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Matthew 15:7-9
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

A person can believe in Jesus and be saved but still not be a Christian. Salvation is given by grace not by works to those who reach out in faith. So salvation is a gift, one does not need to be a disciple (Christian) to obtain it.

Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Romans 11:6
6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace

A Christian can go to church but a person going to church does not make them a Christian. A building has no way of showing if you follow scripture since going to buildings is not a requirement in scripture. Christians do fellowship but there are no restrictions for those meetings. They can even happen online or with just a few people.

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Money has no connection to being a Christian, the opposite is true, the more money — the less chance of being Christian. Money given has no meaning outside of personal intention and sacrifice. This is to say that the money given has no value only what was in the persons heart when they gave it.

Matthew 19:24
24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

Even giving money to the rich is against being Christian and think about it… the rich oppress the poor.

Proverbs 22:16
Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Also keep in mind that people can be good to others… feeding the poor, helping those in need, and so on but not want to follow Jesus, so they are not disciples (Christian) by choice.

You now have a clear way to tell who is a Christian and who is not.

Categories: Religion Gone WildTags:

54 comments

  1. Based upon this post, no one I’ve ever known, now or in the past, is a Christian.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Best of luck convincing any one who calls themself a Christian with this list!
    The irony, of course, being that what the ”Lord” deems right behaviour derives from the mouth, pen , or chisel of men in the first place!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting way of looking at it but there is no need for me to convince anyone of anything in the entire world.

      I’m just providing the answer to a simple question that repeatedly gets asked of me. An answer that wasn’t written by me, a long time ago.

      Like

      • Oh, inprincipal I agree with your answer. I was merely pointing out that, as the definition of what a Christian ”is”’ was defined and refined by men – initially in Acts which is now deemed to be highly dubious ( and I am being generous) – who claim to have been inspired by Yahweh just makes the entire debacle complete nonsense.

        Like

        • Arkenaten “Acts which is now deemed to be highly dubious “.
          Would you give your reasons for this statement – who is ‘saying’ this ?
          I’m simply unaware of this and my opinion of Luke and Acts is with scholars who believe the work is before the Fall of Jerusalem in 70AD.
          A good ‘review’ of this can be found here >
          Is the Book of Acts Reliable? – Greg Boyd – ReKnew

          Like

          • Sure, but before I do, and before I even open the link you have provided, or look up who Boyd is – and I give you my word I will not open it or look up who Boyd is until you have the chance to reply – are you a Christian?

            Like

            • Sorry, my intial comment – ‘ highly dubious ‘ does seem an odd turn of phrase now that I re-read it. I meant that is it little more than historical fiction.
              I would still be interested to know if you are a Christian and will wait for your reply.

              Like

                • So, why are you a Christian?
                  Are you a Christian as per the realitycoded posted … and
                  I stated that Acts is little more than historical fiction as this is what the critical scholarly view is of Acts,
                  Now I shall go read your link.

                  Like

                  • Arkenaten
                    October 28, 2020 • 4:26 pm
                    “So, why are you a Christian?
                    Are you a Christian as per the realitycoded posted….”

                    First, I was raised in Christian Church with Baptists and joined ….long ‘story’ and rather involved…there’s more involved because there’s “personal experience” beyond ‘The Bible’ …..but as a Baptist we use the Bible as the ‘ground’ for ‘our common experience’ ( yet not ‘every Baptist’ would necessarily understand this ….anyway, i would consider anyone who says or identifies as Baptist as being a Christian -but ….

                    see how ‘involved’ this is ?

                    But I’m simply trying to find out about this apparently ‘new’ attack on “Acts” which I’m unfamiliar with. I tried a search and still clueless ?

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • What attack? You don’t honestly consider it to be historically reliable, surely?

                      Like

                    • “What attack?”
                      Again, “that which is deemed highly dubious ( and I am being generous)”.
                      And if you simply read the link I provided you will understand my basic opinion on this.
                      Briefly the answer is yes – it is ‘historical’ and Luke is telling the truth.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • You Stated — “But I’m simply trying to find out about this apparently ‘new’ attack on “Acts” which I’m unfamiliar with. ”

                      My Response — Is a difference of understanding or belief an attack? If so why?

                      Like

                    • RE >Lander7
                      October 28, 2020 • 6:45 pm
                      You Stated — “But I’m simply trying to find out about this apparently ‘new’ attack on “Acts” which I’m unfamiliar with. ”

                      My Response — Is a difference of understanding or belief an attack? If so why?

                      Your ‘response’ is a question in the abstract ?
                      My response is “of course not”.

                      My inquiry was in response to Arkenaten’s statement which seemed/seems to suggest to me that he had recently read some new scholarly work on/about the book of “Acts” which in his use of language suggested a complete ‘destruction’ of Luke’s veracity – ie ” in Acts which is now deemed to be highly dubious ( and I am being generous) “.

                      In my opinion this is not a statement that is anywhere near a simple “difference of understanding or belief “.
                      It is a statement from someone hearing Bart Erman for example, and I simply wanted to know who he was referencing in his statement.

                      The article I referenced was in specific regard to these considerations. Boyd’s article discusses the primary question among scholars as to when “Acts” was written (and of course this is in the context of all the Gospels which for years have been taken to have been written in the 2nd century ….

                      Is Erhman, now being a ‘devout’ atheist, only now ‘unbiased’ enough to express his views on the Gospels ? (just an abstract question …..

                      btw Curiously, Boyd and Erhman were good friends in college …..I’m not sure how ‘close’ they are now, but their “difference of understanding” hasn’t made them enemies as far I ‘m aware.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • You Stated — “in his use of language suggested a complete ‘destruction’ of Luke’s veracity”

                      My Response — Given that he is an atheist he applies no validity to any scriptural document. His view point is in full opposition at all times (with or without reason).

                      But does that make his views (or supporting references) an “attack” since they are relentlessly opposing to your understanding?

                      If there is, as you say, a ” ‘new’ attack on “Acts”” does that make him an enemy?

                      You are indicating that he is partaking in an aggressive and violent action against scripture.

                      If this is true it makes me wonder strange thoughts that don’t seem viable. Like, “Is scripture in danger?” If it can be attacked then it must be in danger.

                      I myself never see scripture as, “being in danger”, thus it can never be truly “attacked”.

                      To me it’s like watching a person aim a water hose at the sun and then someone running over in fear of them succeeding in dousing it’s flame so they club them to death to prevent disaster.

                      I do see where I as an individual could be attacked for my belief in scripture and thus must be ready to defend my belief, but the scripture itself is far from danger.

                      So I find your statement very curious. Do you see scripture as being in danger of being destroyed?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • 1. It’s important to note that for me
                      the ‘idea’ wasn’t his and I had no ‘evidence’ that he was an atheist.
                      He might have any kind of belief or simply be in a phase ‘entertaining’ some
                      new found skeptical ranting …
                      So I asked ‘who was saying this’ and
                      thinking it might be Bart Erhman who has been active again lately, I thought he might find
                      Boyd’s article on Acts a reasonable ‘response’ to his specific mention of “Acts”.

                      And again, I found it curious that he singled out “Acts”. Why ??
                      He writes, “ initially in Acts which is now deemed to be highly dubious ( and I am being generous)”.
                      He doesn’t say that “he” ‘believes this’,
                      he is saying some ‘experts’ have “deemed” this. ( So is he suffering a spiritual crisis and
                      he might be seeking answers and taking the critical view of the ‘usual suspects’).

                      Therefore, I want to identify ‘who’ is actually saying these things – who is this
                      ’scholar’ influencing his views which he hasn’t named yet.

                      With with all the quotes you give from NT he has singled out “Acts” ?

                      At this point I was simply interested in who/what he was referencing.

                      2 When he responds with ,
                      “So, why are you a Christian?
Are you a Christian as per the realitycoded posted …
                      and
I stated that Acts is little more than historical fiction as this is what the
                      critical scholarly view is of Acts,
Now I shall go read your link.”

                      He has stated clearly now that “Acts” is fiction according to “the critical scholarly view”,
                      yet he hasn’t named his ’source’. YET It’s getting a little weird because he wants to know
                      if I’m a Christian ….?

                      3 Furthermore, another factor enters into this discussion because my reference and
                      one of the most ‘popular critics’ of “Jesus” as “fiction” were friends in college ….

                      4 This opens up more issues including ‘the Prodigal Son’, the “Elect”,
                      “once saved “ and who might any of us be on this stage…

                      5 Scripture under ‘attack’ ?
                      Well, does anyone really “need” scripture? What about those from other lands and cultures who never heard of the Bible and so on ….
                      Like Paul said, ‘all scripture is worthwhile …’( and notice, he certainly wasn’t thinking that letter he was writing then was “Scripture”. The Bible is the ’stage’…

                      Isn’t it curious Jesus “always” taught in parables ( quite unlike Paul), in other words, little stories, fictions – there was no “Prodigal Son” ….
                      He never wrote a book.

                      We are blessed with the ’stories’,
                      and the Truth of Love that is forgiveness …

                      We are like children and cannot ‘understand all’ but we can ‘know’ the Love and the Holy Spirit and the ‘conviction of sin’.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Ahh.. understood.

                      We can easily solve the mystery of why he is focused on Acts — it is the first reference in my post and the only verse in the entire bible that defines what a Christian is.

                      So to be clear, you do not believe that scripture is under attack, you were just using a common vernacular in debating?

                      Like

                    • “So to be clear, you do not believe that scripture is under attack,
                      you were just using a common vernacular in debating? ”

                      I’m using “common vernacular” and consider it a ‘fight’ …..but really don’t know what the results will be in the end .

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Re: ”Attack” See my reply below.

                      Like

          • @MikeV h
            Hope this reply ends up under the right comment.

            Boyd is a Christian. That is an obvious bias straight away.
            His thesis(?) tends to focus on the historical aspects, names of (certain) people, places, a few examples of which are mentioned by Josephus, lending a modicum of support.
            However, Acts is riddled with many implausible tales and this does not even take into acount the miracles claimed to have been performed, of which I did not notice Boyd making mention.

            So, I will stand by my assertion that Acts is little more than historical fiction.

            Like

  3. I think this is an excellent list, and some of which, I have quoted, while others were new to me or overlooked/misunderstood. Nicely done. ❤️🦋🌀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a Baptist, that’s the kind of thinking and presentation I like to see, well done.

    ( And sorry to say there’s many Baptists who will face the words “ I never knew you”.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One thing I have not read yet, either in the post or in the comments, is this: A Christian repents and asks for forgiveness when the Holy Spirit convicts him or her of sin, whether in words or actions. Ephesians 4:32 is the cited verse that comes closest in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You Stated — “One thing I have not read yet, either in the post or in the comments, is this: A Christian repents and asks for forgiveness when the Holy Spirit convicts him or her of sin, whether in words or actions.”
      My Response — That is because this post is about, “How To Know Who Is A Christian”
      Seeing someone pray doesn’t tell you if they are Christian. Seeing someone repent doesn’t tell you if they are Christian. The scriptures provided in the post clearly tell you if a person is Christian via observation of their actual behavior.
      Example:
      A slave owner who spends each day beating and raping his captives but prays and repents each night does not in any way meet the clear scriptural criteria of a Christian, even though he claims to be one.
      Titus 1:16
      They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

      Try these two posts

      https://realitydecoded.blog/2019/07/02/the-loved-slave-ship-jesus-of-lubeck/

      https://realitydecoded.blog/2020/08/24/remember-when-christopher-columbus-gave-a-child-as-a-gift-for-sex-and-sold-children-as-slaves-but-was-also-a-very-serious-religious-leader/

      Liked by 1 person

      • In regard to prayer, you’re right; that doesn’t tell anyone if a person is a Christian. However, when I have offended someone and then asked for their forgiveness, it has almost always had a profound effect. The main reason is that when we do this, we are showing humility, which is in short supply in society at large.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You Stated — ” when we do this, we are showing humility”

          My Response — Humility is part of what would have to be seen to identify a Christian.

          BUT

          A person that is humble to me but not to the waiter is not a Christian. Humbleness in a vacuum is hypocrisy.

          There is nothing a person can say that makes them a Christian, they can only be identified via repeatable observation, in adherence to scripture. Simply put, If they are not consistently following the doctrines of Jesus Christ then they are not Christian.

          Like

          • When I apologize to a waiter for my rudeness, that has a strong effect on him because so many customers are demanding. And make no mistake: other customers that overhear my apology also take notice.

            You’re right about long-term observation of behavior, and all of the things you mentioned in your post are marks of a real Christian; just don’t discount the power of healing words.

            Like

            • If you believe god then believe this:

              James 2:1
              My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

              If you are observed being humble to one and cruel to another, make no mistake: others that overhear take notice.

              You are not being seen in a vacuum, it is not a moment in time that you are being observed. You are being seen as a whole, your actions collected over time. A healing word that is only heard by one is a dagger to those ignored and it breeds hate.

              There is no love in partiality only hypocrisy.

              “Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.” – Christopher Columbus

              A letter written in October of 1495 by his crew member Michele de Cuneo told a normal story of life at sea with Christopher Columbus.

              “When I was in the boat, I took a beautiful Cannibal girl and the admiral [Columbus] gave her to me. Having her in my room and she being naked as is their custom, I began to want to amuse myself with her. Since I wanted to have my way with her and she was not willing, she worked me over so badly with her nails that I wished I had never begun. To get to the end of the story, seeing how things were going, I got a rope and tied her up so tightly that she made unheard of cries which you wouldn’t have believed. At the end, we got along so well that, let me tell you, it seemed she had studied at a school for whores.”

              Christopher Columbus has become a recurring topic leading to fights and conflicts across America. Statues of Columbus have been vandalized, decapitated, taken down, and/or destroyed in Boston, Massachusettes, Richmond, Virginia, St. Paul, Minnesota, Miami, Florida, and Camden, New Jersey.

              There are most likely so few Christians on this planet that I dare say they could all fit in one small building. The rest are lovers of words and actions so they can be seen and heard, whose only fruit is destruction via hypocrisy.

              Like

              • The standard is perfection, which we are unable to attain in this life; thus, the necessity of forgiveness.

                Regarding Columbus, you’re right that his described actions were not those of a Christian.

                Regarding the number of Christians: you can check out my blog (the second post in the Archive) if you’re interested in finding out the estimated number of Christians in the U.S., but yes, it’s a lot smaller than people think.

                Liked by 1 person

                • You Stated — “The standard is perfection, which we are unable to attain in this life; thus, the necessity of forgiveness.”

                  My Response — Isn’t the opposite true?

                  1 Corinthians 10:13
                  13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

                  I see no verse requesting perfection from Christians in scripture, can you point it out to me?

                  Christians are only asked a few things, most of which is to be good to others. What has Christ requested that requires perfection?

                  As for forgiveness that’s a gift offered freely from Christ, it makes the burden of those who choose to follow easier not harder.

                  You Stated — “Regarding Columbus, you’re right that his described actions were not those of a Christian.”

                  My Response — Which is why I stated that the slaves watching him be humble to the waiter are not lifted up by his words but rather filled with hatred by what he claims to be (a Christian). And how can he be something that he doesn’t match the definition of?

                  People are conflating being something with obtaining something. For example a person may want to be a Psychologist but talking to patrons while you cut their hair or serve them drinks doesn’t make you one 😉

                  A barber is not a Psychologist
                  A bartender is not a Psychologist

                  Anyone can pretend to be what they are not, but we don’t need to support or acknowledge such delusions.

                  Like

                  • We agree on Columbus as well as forgiveness in terms of making the burden easier. Regarding perfection: as I said, it’s the standard. That doesn’t mean we can attain it on this Earth, but it means we seek to imitate Christ, the perfect one. See I Cor. 11:1.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • You Stated — “Regarding perfection: as I said, it’s the standard. That doesn’t mean we can attain it on this Earth, but it means we seek to imitate Christ, the perfect one. See I Cor. 11:1.”

                      This is the verse you sited:
                      1 Corinthians 11:1
                      11 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

                      My Response — No perfection has been requested of anyone in that verse, isn’t the opposite true?

                      1 John 4:12
                      No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

                      Isn’t Love the answer? But if you want perfection now, has not a way been provided that it could be attained on this earth?

                      Matthew 19:21
                      Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

                      If you site Corinthians isn’t the same message repeated over and over again in the bible? To be good to each other.

                      1 Corinthians 10:23-24
                      23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

                      There is nothing a person can say that makes them a Christian, they can only be identified via repeatable observation, in adherence to scripture found within the books of the bible. Simply put, If they are not consistently following the doctrines of Jesus Christ then they are not Christian.

                      Like

                • Your blog shows deleted, you may need to link it.

                  Like

  6. Exactly. The fruits are always the key.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Nice article, thanks for all the Bible quotes and such. Some people are “practicing Christians”, though they seem to have a hard time shedding that largely-tainted label. I wrote an article 👇🏾 that breaks this down even further, and explains WHY these people should look for a better label.

    https://thealtnative.wordpress.com/2020/11/01/would-you-call-yourself-christian/

    Like

    • You Stated — “Some people are “practicing Christians”, though they seem to have a hard time shedding that largely-tainted label.”

      My Response — If a person is a Christian then they don’t care what label is given to them. Labels don’t feed the hungry. Labels don’t help the poor.

      Christian’s have no thoughts about what they are called, they only seek to help others as adherents of Jesus Christ.

      Anything past that has nothing to do with Christians.

      Like

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