I wanted to talk about something that is dear to my heart, and is a reflection on my theological adventure so far: False believers and false believing.
There is plenty of evidence of the concept of “false believers” or in the New Testament. I’m not going to list verses, as you can find those on other websites. But the big thing is this: Those not chosen by God may be baptized, supposedly given the Holy Spirit, but are never believers. They show they are false believers by the way they live. True, though, is that all Christians struggle with sin, so it is virtually impossible for us fellow Christians to call out a false believer. We will NEVER know if someone was never chosen by God or if they’re just a struggling Christian, like the rest of us. JUDGEMENT will never be our job – that is only God’s.
The reason I bring this up is because I live in two different cultures: In rural, conservative Nebraska, and attending a liberal, progressive, dare-I-say-it heretical Seminary, which I attend online (UTS-Twin Cities). There will always be conflicts between these two locations, namely because I live in Nebraska, and go to school in Minnesota, online.
A serious conflict of cultures, I might say.
I’ve felt great tension between here and UTS, and it came to a head while I was having a bad mental health day, today.
I love my Nebraskan culture – I truly do, so I will not move to Minnesota, where I feel people are more hypocritical on their inclusion than we are.
So what am I saying? I just wanted to say this: You can be a false believer. I am Nebraskan enough to say that you can be a false believer, and believe that God chooses some and not others (I’m also Reformed enough to say that). BUT I’m also progressive enough to believe in critical biblical scholarship, queer rights, people-of-color’s rights, etc. I am also, for the most part, pro-choice. So the conservative Calvinist churches around here don’t fit me very well, so I’m attending a progressive PCUSA church here in York.
Like I said in the beginning, the signs of false believing are clear: Your life resembles someone God’s grace hasn’t touched. In this life, we are given grace to enable us to believe, endure, and obtain Heaven. If you were never chosen by God, then you will never be touched by God’s grace. Like I said, though, others still struggle with personal sin after grace, because we have free will, so while we might endure, we will struggle.
This is not blaming game of pointing fingers, saying “YOU are not a believer, while I am!” Rather not, this is a declaration to check your behavior and to ensure your election. This is a calling for you to push away personal sin, to love, to cherish, to not judge, all that. It is a calling to love your queer neighbor, your black and Native American neighbor, to advocate and fund for children of the border being reunited with their parents, all that. This is a personal call to push away adultery and promiscuity, and to follow Jesus all the way.
Thanks for listening to my rant.
Alleluia and Amen.