Have you, too, noticed an uptick in this phenomenon? Or maybe it has simply become easier to identify these pretenders in recent years. All you have to do is take the biblical stand on a current controversy and wait. Almost invariably, the Fake Christian will tell you how judgmental you are and how warped your idea of God is.
Never mind that your source of authority is the Bible itself, which is demonstrably the word of God. If you oppose abortion, or warn against behaviors that He calls an abomination, or suggest that salvation requires repenting of what He says is sin and trusting in Christ to have paid its penalty in full, the Fake Christian will be all over you.
“I am a Christian,” he or she will insist with the pride that God says He hates, “and He told me that there are many ways to heaven, and that He loves all His children no matter what they do or believe because He made them the way they are!” Included in this universalist hug-a-thon are the practically pagan, who deny everything about Christ, from His deity to His atoning sacrifice -- because, hey, Christianity doesn't mean I have to actually believe that Jesus is who He allegedly claimed to be and did what He allegedly claimed to have done. How arrogant of you to even suggest it!
I have yet to come up with an effective response to this sort of theology. I’ve tried simply sharing the Gospel. I’ve tried explaining how I know that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. I’ve tried addressing the Fake Christian’s primary objections. I’ve even tried asking the last-resort question, “What if you’re wrong?”
To no avail, apparently. It seems that thinking you’ve heard directly from God trumps every other argument – even if “directly” really means via someone as widely admired as Oprah Winfrey or Joel Osteen. That’s particularly true if the Fake Christian holds to a relativistic view of the world, absolutely certain that “what’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me.”
Perhaps the way to prepare for such situations is to spend some time with Living Waters University on youtube. Here, evangelist Ray Comfort demonstrates how to persuade unbelievers (including Fake Christians) of their sinfulness and impending judgment before a holy God -- and then explain why the cross is their only hope. Such an argument will normally be rejected, but not always. And perhaps we will have planted a seed or two that will be watered by the next believer and will ultimately germinate in the light of some crushing life circumstance.
Sadly, these days our world is jam-packed with Fake Christians who detest everything we stand for. But Jesus told us how to treat them: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45a).
And that means telling them the truth about the Gospel, whatever the cost. If we love them, it’s the least we can do.