by Ernest Liu
about the author

  • Random Sniplets
  • Nominal Christianity

    Do you know what a nominal Christian is? Neither did I, thanks to my fail vocabulary. That’s okay though, because I will tell you what a nominal Christian is.

    Perhaps the easiest way to explain what a nominal Christian is is to give you a more familiar term – the Sunday Christian. That is, someone who displays a Christian face only on days they sit on a pew.

    But the phrase “nominal Christian” describes a person who may exhibit qualities expected from a Christian, but lacks true saving faith. Here is an interesting excerpt from Strachan’s Jonathan Edwards on TRUE CHRISTIANITY

    The truths of Christianity can appear beautiful on the surface level to the unconverted heart. They may elicit emotion and thus affect a person’s outward demeanor, just as a child’s smile, or a strong ethical conviction, or the promise of hope in a distressing situation may do the same without converting the heart. A person may out of a knowledge of biblical doctrine live a happy and hopeful life, trusting in God’s providence, living gratefully in some sense for Christ’s sacrifice. However, unless this knowledge is personally applied in repentance of sin and wholehearted faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, it does not save us from sin and judgment.
    (see James 2:18-26)

    Never before have I been more aware of nominal Christianity. I have seen my own peers, even those who exhibited signs of faith from church, swept away by the world’s tide. Many will shun the church while others indulge in heavy party scenes. Some will take pride in the inappropriate pictures they post online, despite their religious views claiming that “it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.” I have also had friends who have flat out rejected Christ and His word.

    This crushes my heart, shatters it into a painful reality that Satan is still hard at work. It also breaks me even more as I have become increasingly aware of Hell, an inescapable reality that awaits those who have not been saved from sin.

    Though it is difficult (even impossible) for me to determine who has true faith, God is the ultimate judge of that. However, I can’t help but imagine that a Christian’s faith should be very obvious. After all, how do you suppress the powerful Holy Spirit that lives within you?

    I look at people like Adonis, who constantly serves in ministry at the expense of being able to enjoy other things in life like casual gaming. I look at people like Kandice who risked her grade and lost tons of respect for refusing to do a project that would compromise her faith. I look at people like Pastor Steve who pursued the life of a pastor despite family disapproval. I look at people like Ryan who invests much of his time into the topic of apologetics, yet leaves ample room for growing towards God on an intimate level.

    I revere and look up to these individuals, among others, for their amazing faith that shines because they live it out loud.