No True Christian

One of the more famous fallacies is that of the No True Scotsman – a simple version might be this:
Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
Person B: “But my (Scottish) uncle Angus likes sugar with his porridge.”
Person A: “Ah yes, but no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
The NTS fallacy is often overused in religion:
Person A: “No Christian would embezzle from the church.”
Person B: “Here’s a newspaper page full of embezzing Christians.”
Person A: “No true Christian would embezzle from the church, those examples are all, false, counterfeit so-called Christians.”
Person A: “No Christian would beat his wife.”
Person B: “Statistically, domestic violence rates are quite high, even in Christian homes.”
Person A: “No true Christian would beat his wife. Any man who does isn’t a true Christian.”
On and on and on … as it turns out, a genuine, true Christian who is …
A spirit-filled Christian …
1. Couldn’t possibly disagree with me, so anyone who disagrees must not be filled with the spirit.
2. Would be able to discern the truth of scripture so anyone who doubts the bible must not have the spirit.
A Bible-believing Christian …
1. Couldn’t possibly not believe in inerrancy!
2. Couldn’t possibly misinterpret Scripture!
It seems to me that it’s easy enough to say that everyone who doesn’t believe exactly the right things and behave in exactly the right way, isn’t a true Christian. We can back that up with Bible verses that say as much – if that’s how we interpret them and since Scripture is inerrant we couldn’t possibly be wrong.
So somewhere out there, somebody’s probably saying the same thing about you – no true Christian dresses like that, or drinks, or eats too much, or believes the wrong things.
Same can be said of various facets of our beliefs. “No true Calvinist …” “No true Complementarian …” “No true Dispensationalist …”
What we’re left with a religion full of false, counterfeit, untrue believers and a handful of genuine believers, the elite who are true and truly saved. It sounds exhausting. The truth of it all is that that there are true Christians who do terrible things and believe in the wrong ideas. There are true Christians who are human through and through – making mistakes, sinning, and being unique. Perhaps we should stop trying to quantify and classify what makes true Christians – because odds are there isn’t an example of one whose perfection is undeniable. Perhaps: “No Christian is a true Christian.” And that’s a good thing – being true never was the key to our salvation.


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