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Reply #4: Thats the tricky part MM [View All]

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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Thats the tricky part MM
and this is why I think the NTS fallacy is not a fallacy at all.

"The bottom line is that if someone tells me he or she is a Christian, I take his or her word on it. The label doesn't really matter, since it is the behavior of the individual that determines my opinion of that individual."

To take an extreme example, if a person calls themself a Democrat but consistently votes for Republicans, opposes a womans right to choose, supports corporate personhood, opposes unions, favors the dismantling of SS and Medicare/Medicaid, supports the continued occupation of Iraq, etc etc, can we call them a Democrat? They say they are, but ARE they?

Likewise, there are some who call themselves Christians but I think they do not walk the walk. I believe Jesus foresaw this:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:21-23

So according to my interpretation of Scripture and my own understanding, there are some who call themselves Christians but who are 'unknown' to the Lord, that is, not part of the body of Christ. My job as a Christian is not to judge others and say they are NOT Christians; the role of judge is to Christ alone. My job then is to understand as best I can through reading & prayer, to act on what I believe, and to tell others what I believe and why. There is definitely room in Christianity to correct what we perceive to be wrongdoing among our brothers & sisters in Christ, but I should do so without judgement that they are a 'failed' Christian. Its a fine line; judge actions, not people.

As a teacher I am given opportunities to practice this. When a student behaves improperly, I am not to see them as a 'bad' kid but one who is in need of correction. I had a student this semester who fit everyone's definition of a 'bad' kid: he was rude, physically and verbally abusive, constantly lying, cheating, etc. I took this kid out into the hall on many occasions and said, "Look, I dont have a problem with YOU. I have a problem with your behavior. If you are going to be a member of this class, there are certain rules you must follow. If you break these rules, there will be consequences. Its not because I dont like you; I would do the same to my own kids." It worked! The child began to realize two things: 1) I like him and am trying to help him 2) I will not tolerate certain behavior in my class and crossing the line leads to consequences. He just kind of started to figure it out toward the end of the semester and now he is moving on so I wont get to follow his progress as closely. It was still a good feeling to see him change his behavior in response to rational dialogue and consistent enforcement of classroom rules.
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