Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Are the Coptic Christians Really Christians?

Jack Wellman, senior writer at What Christians Want to Know,wrote in October of 2013 the following:

"No matter what Christian persuasion you are, you belong to Christ.  Differences in beliefs that are not different in the essentials should not divide us."

Is this really true? Or, does it really matter at all? Is this a very misleading and dangerously deceptive attitude?

I am as angry as any other sane and humane person in this world in regards to ISIS and their barbaric practices of torture, mayhem, and murder. They are diabolical tools in the hands of the "Evil One" doing his bidding. Quite frankly, I believe that a united coalition led by the Arab nations need to hunt them down and exterminate them, (after a fair trial and all.)

My question however is theological - are those who were beheaded truly Christians? Is Wellman right, that all we have to do is agree to use Jesus name and love Him in order to claim that we belong to Christ?

What do Coptic Christians Believe?

Coptic Christianity is very similar to Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. They profess to be genuine followers of Jesus Christ and a part of His worldwide Church. But, as with Catholicism, they tend to emphasize meritorious works in salvation along with liturgical ritual rather than salvation through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. (taken from gotquestions?.com)

Why do I even bring this up? I already know that I am going to be at best poo-pooed and at worst vilified. Why do I do this to myself?

The reason is that I think we blur the lines of Christianity if we don't hold to bottom line, non-negotiable and static definitions of what Christianity actually is. We live in a culture where truth is now relative and there are no absolutes. I am both offended and grieved when I am aware of bible truths, such as salvation by grace alone, by faith alone, by Christ alone, for God's glory alone are trivialized by the addition of post-modern thinking.

Are there different persuasions of Christianity? Is OK to demand that Christianity is defined as one who has trusted in the atoning work of Christ alone for salvation or can one also be a Christian and trust in rituals and meritorious works? Are those merely different strains or persuasions of Christianity or are they diametrically opposed to one another?

Why am I exercising myself on this subject? I have seen the horrendous reports and stories of these brutal executions by these godless barbarians. I have also seen the reaction in the so called "Christian Community." One such response indicated that these vary "martyrs" are referred to in the letter containing Christ's revelation to the seven churches by the Apostle John. Are these ones whose blood is under the altar crying out to God for vindication?

I think this is one of the major reasons that we have so many tares and false "Christians" in the church today. We cannot dumb-down, redefine, or blur the lines of Christianity and not expect confusion among true believers and the church at large. This is what leads to the awful statement in Matthew 7:21 where many who believed they were Christians and Christ informs that they are not.


KC Bob said...

Knowing, I mean actually knowing, God seems to be the issue.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Bob - You are right. It does come down to knowing; first knowing God, but secondly, being known by God.

KC Bob said...


Scott said...

I agree. The Gospel cannot be compromised. Not all who claim to be Christians are Christians. And yet.... these folks were killed for even claiming the name. I can't help but at least feels some affinity with them, and pray for others who may be next.

Larri said...

As one who was raised Catholic, chrismated into the Eastern (Greek) Orthodox religion, and saved by Jesus in her teen years, I feel well-versed to answer this question...Yes and No.

Yes - there will be some like me, who even though they were raised in these religions, they found salvation through Jesus. They may go truly know Jesus & be saved, but they still attend that church for the sake of family peace.

No - there will be many who practice the religion, and never asked Jesus into their hearts.

My hope is those who were murdered are in the 'Yes' category. That they heard the gospel and took the steps to sit at the foot of the cross and ask for Jesus to save them from themselves.

PS...It's a perfectly reasonable question for a Christian to ask, Gregg. These religions do focus on works as part of salvation, pray to saints & Mary, etc. The bible is usually not taught, rather the dogmas of the religion are ingrained. One is not encouraged to read the bible. Until I was a teenager, I never had read a bible. Until I was an adult, I never had actually studied my bible. I am ever grateful for God's Holy Spirit to niggle my heart & ask for Jesus to abide in it.

PPS...these reasons/questions are why I choose to raise my children in a Bible-teaching, Southern Baptist church. While I respect the beliefs of our family members, I cannot willingly practice their faith with them nor expose my children to it. In many ways, I believe it's dangerous ground on which to walk.

Sorry for the long comment. Happy Thursday! :)