Not long ago, Chris mentioned in a message that he is passionate about people who go to church who are not Christians. He must have read our Book of the Month for September. It’s called Am I Really a Christian? The author, Mike McKinley, actually states that he is “aimed at convincing you that you may not be a Christian.” Most of the chapters actually begin with the words “You Are Not a Christian if…” And each chapter is full of valuable teaching for each of us.
After using the first two chapters to define what it means to be a Christian (a great explanation of being “born again”). McKinley then gives five tests of a true believer as follows:
- Doctrine: You are not a Christian just because you like Jesus
- Sin: You are not a Christian if you enjoy sin
- Perseverance: You are not a Christian if you do not endure to the end
- Love: You are not a Christian if you don’t love other people
- Stuff: You are not a Christian if you love your stuff
And he correctly says that you have reason to be concerned if you don’t pass these tests. Of course, no one is perfect all the time, but he talks about our “trajectory.” Are we on target? Is the pattern of our life showing progress?
Someone might object by saying that this all sounds like salvation by works, by our own efforts. But McKinley makes it clear that these five areas are criteria for evaluating your faith. It is the fruit of genuine faith. In chapter eight, he shows that the foundation of our salvation is in who Christ is, what He has done and what He has promised.
One of the great strengths of the book is the emphasis that is placed on the role of the church in helping Christians as they examine themselves. The last chapter addresses this topic specifically. But the end of each chapter has some great questions under the headings of Reflect – Repent – Remember – Report. With the Report section, it is suggested that you talk to someone else about how you are doing in what has just been taught in the chapter. This part of the book would make it a great RMG study. You could even take just one chapter every month or so and emphasize that test question over several weeks.
Now you know the questions that are on the examination, but are you ready to give the answers? You need to read this book. Everyone needs to read this book: non-Christian, new Christian, mature Christian. Chris is right to have that passion because there are people who come to church who are not really Christians, even at FBC. Am I Really a Christian? will help them, and it will help you.