I read and listen to plenty of Christian news, sermons, and writings- and something that always irritates me is the widespread use of the term “Bible-believing Christian”. What exactly is a Bible-believing Christian? Are there “non-Bible-believing Christians” out there?
Via Webster’s online dictionary, I tried to search for a definition of “Bible-believing Christian”. The only response I received was “The word you’ve entered isn’t in the dictionary,”. Hmmm…
Given how many words are actually in today’s dictionary, it’s clear that this term must be some form of slang. I searched further online, and I came upon this definition of this term: “In order to be a Bible-believing Christian, you must believe everything and every doctrine that is in the Bible,“. This opinion was stated via the website www.bccmnm.org, by Pastor Matthew Norville, Sr. (an Illinois pastor). Now, this is one man’s opinion and definition- but seems to fall in line with my preconceived notion.
The problem with this singular definition is that even this is not entirely correct. There are doctrines and dogma in the Old Testament which I believe most 2013 Christians do not follow and are not held to be valid Christian doctrine. Consider some of the Levitical requirements. (I realize some of this is semantics, but it is certainly debatable.)
Getting back to Webster’s, what is the actual definition of “Christian”? It is: “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ,”. That seems accurate to me.
Did Jesus teach about following the Old Testament, and also following His own words and teachings? Yes, he did. Thus Jesus taught that his followers must believe in the Bible.
So, by definition, a Christian is someone who believes in the Bible. One cannot be a “Christian” without believing the Bible. There may be those who confess being Christian, but do not believe the Bible. Those persons are not actual Christians. Being Christian is based upon belief, not upon how often one attends a local building and recites some words.
What one must understand and acknowledge, within this discussion, is that many different people can “believe in the Bible”, yet come up with different doctrine and interpretations of what is written in the Scriptures. That is evident when studying the myriad of Protestant denominations. Do some of these churches believe in the Bible more than others? I don’t think so.
As for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, these are also “Bible-believing Christians”. Both groups believe in, read, and profess the Holy Scriptures. Both churches use the Bible consistently within their church services and sermons. I have never been to an Orthodox service, but I can attest to Roman Catholic services. Though there are not many Bibles in the pews, the service guideline, the “missal”, includes readings (every day) from the Old Testament (especially the Psalms) and the New Testament.
Thus, I see no groups that call themselves “Christian” that are not also “Bible-believing Christians”.
Can we rid the use of this term? I believe what some are meaning to say is “Bible-ONLY believing Christian”- meaning that they believe everything written in the Bible AND also only believe in the Bible and do not give any credence to Apostolic Tradition, church history, etc. If that is the case, that is okay. Let us now begin the use of this new term.
(I hope no “Bible-only believing Christians” are offended by this opinion column. If you have a difference of opinion, please feel free to share in the Comments posted below. God Bless, to all.)