A PIG Exclusive
by: PIGster J. PIG's Professor of Piety
Some time ago, my friend Hambo asked me, as Professor of Piety for PIG, to write him up a list of the different "types" of Christians. It's taken me a while, but I believe I finally have it. However, before we get into that, let me share some info by way of introduction. I am, as you all hopefully(!) know, a professing Christian. Given the confusion that seems to come from that, let me make a few things clear as to what that means and what it does NOT mean.
What does it mean?
1. It means, first and foremost, that I am saved ONLY by the unmerited, undeserved grace of God. It's not because I'm a great guy, or because I got a break, or because I was chosen from time immemorial. (We all were chosen - some choose to not accept the gift) It means I'm an unworthy beggar who found the Bread of Life, and wants to show others where to find it.
2. It means that my job is to show the love and grace of Jesus Christ to other people, and the let God do the rest. It's not up to me to "fix," "save" or "change" anyone. That's God's department.
3. It means that I believe the Bible is the Word of God, and what it says is right is right, and what it says is wrong is wrong. From that, it also means that in a contest between "the church," "church doctrine" and Scripture, Scripture wins, hands down. One is from God, the other from man. No contest.
4. It means I have an obligation to answer honestly when asked questions about sin, or how Scripture defines it; but it also means I have a responsibility to do it in a loving, kind way instead of a thundering, down from the mount, "YOU WILL BURN IN HELL!!!!" kind of way. (The Duck Dynasty guy, for example, might have been right in what he said, but I saw very little love or compassion in how he said it. Trust me on that one. I'm a master of being long on 'right' and short on love and compassion for a lot of years. Only God's grace and His patience with me has shown me a better way)
5. See #2. Yes, it's that important - and it's something we see very little of, today, from a great many people who call themselves followers of Christ.
What does it NOT mean?
1. It does not mean I am better, smarter, wiser, or more pious than anyone else. See #1 above.
2. It does not mean I understand all of Scripture and all the mysteries therein.
3. It does not mean that I am obligated to prove, explain, justify, or answer any other challenge to someone else's satisfaction. I didn't see Christ do that, so I'm not sure why we think we have an obligation to.
4. It doesn't mean that if I don't work "Jesus," "God," "the Bible" or something similar into every sentence, or shout my beliefs from the rooftop every time I refuse to do something that I consider wrong, that I'm somehow ashamed of my beliefs, or of God. That's a guilt trip, friends, and a nasty one, which I refuse to have laid on me.
5. It does not mean I am here to judge others, their standing with God or whether or not they are or will be saved. See #2 in the first section.
6. It does not mean that in order to be a Christian I have to check my brains at the door, fold my hands, and simply accept everything I am told as true. God isn't threatened by questions, doubts, or things we really don't understand. Thomas (John 20:24-29) got a bad rap from US, remember - not from Jesus.
Now, from that, we can come up with some different names for different kinds of Christians, PIG-style. I believe that most people we see who call themselves Christians can be divided into 5 categories:
1. CINO - Christian In Name Only: Best exemplified by the Westboro Baptist Church, these are people who claim that they are God-fearing, Christ loving people, and yet do things like picket funerals and assure people that "God Hates Fags", "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," and other assorted loving and kind things. I will go out on a limb and say there is NO way - NO way - they are anything even remotely resembling a follower of Christ. Grab a Bible and see for yourself. If anyone from Westboro reads this, you're welcome to challenge me. You'll lose, but you can try. These are also the people mentioned in the satirical poem, "Three Dollars worth of God." These are the people who want just enough of God to keep them out of Hell, but not enough to make them want to change or actually follow Him.
2. CSTG - Christians, Smarter Than God: These are the people who say they follow Scripture, but either forgot, missed, or conveniently ignore the parts that say there are some things that only God knows. This would include people like Harold Camping (end of the world predictor), the Jehovah's Witnesses (there are FAR too many failed predictions for me to list here. Google it and see for yourself) and various other people who have added to Scripture as a result of some new revelation or information ONLY given to them. In every case, it's some significant change to Scripture itself, generally to either give one person or group absolute power, or to change some pesky part of Scripture that they found unpopular. (Current churches reflect this when they change or ignore parts of Scripture that call things sin that aren't socially popular/politically correct)
3. CTABTY - Christians That Are Better Than You: These are, unfortunately, the majority of people we see today who call themselves Christians. Call it "predestination," call it "the elect," call it what you will, it all boils down to the same thing; in some way, shape or form, they are better than you are. Maybe they were chosen by God from the beginning of time to be saved, or maybe they feel that their being saved somehow elevates them above you, these are people who forget that salvation was offered, freely, to anyone who would accept it. It was a gift of God, not having anything to do with anything we did or could do to earn it. That provides a perfect segue into...
4. JWNEC - Jesus Was Not Enough: These are the people who, despite Christ's repeated assertions that HE was the way, Truth, and Life, and that salvation was freely given to all, still feel that there is something we need to do (or in a worst case scenario, MUST do) in order to get to Heaven. Closely related to both the CSTG and the CTABTY, they possess elements of both in that they, being so amazingly cool, are not only smarter than God but they are able to actually earn their salvation, whether by knocking on doors, witnessing, working with the poor, or whatever. Don't get me wrong - it is a belief supported by Scripture that works come FROM salvation, but they are not the way TO salvation, nor do they EARN your salvation.
5. CRC - Christians. Real Christians: These are the people who actually read the Bible, do their best to follow Christ, and wholeheartedly thank Him for His salvation because they realize what they were and who they were before they were saved. They are quick to point out that they are not perfect, and are only forgiven. These are the ones who, generally, won't get their faces plastered all over the TV (because the media wouldn't find them interesting or controversial enough), and who quietly go through their lives spreading as much hope, love and kindness as they can. They generally don't argue Scriptural matters because they realize that the Bible doesn't need them to defend it, and have no problem with non-Biblical ideas being taught because they realize that the Bible is not, and never was meant to be, a science textbook. They are the ones who will pray for you, even if you're the most vile, evil person in the world, and will meet a need that they see with little fanfare, and then quietly fade into the background because they don't do it "to be seen of men." They realize that even people who, to them, would be "sinners" still have a heart, a mind, and deserve respect and courtesy. To them, "no" is a complete sentence when you say that you don't want them to witness to you, and they go their way. (And they'll still pray for you and love you anyway)
Hopefully this helps. Thanks for reading it!
PIGster J, Professor of Piety