Charles Barkley and Fake Christians

The following quote is from this story,

And I think these Christians, first of all, they’re not supposed to judge other people. But they’re the most hypocritical judge of people we have in the country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like they’re Christians. They’re not forgiving at all. — NBA legend Charles Barkley

Sir Charles was a great basketball player who is always good for a sound bite. As for his theological chops, well, his comments are reflective of someone who doesn’t know much about Christianity.

Christians are not supposed to judge those outside of the church, as the Apostle Paul makes clear,

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?

But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)

If unbelievers (“outsiders” as Paul calls them) want to engage in behavior which is clearly in violation of God’s Law it is not up to us to judge them, God will take care of that as Paul makes clear.

If this is what Sir Charles means when he says “judge other people”, fine and good. However, the problem lies when so-called Christians proudly engage in the type of behavior one finds prevalent amongst unbelievers.

Not only are we as members of the Body of Christ (the Church) supposed to judge, if such “Christians” remain unrepentant, then it is the church’s responsibility to disfellowship them.

To the unbeliever (and admittedly to some Christians) this may sound harsh and may even tempt him to judgmentally call Christians all sorts of unflattering names, but frankly it is a family matter and it does not concern them.

Yes, Sir Charles, the Christian is commanded to forgive but Jesus (you know the Son of God and all) laid out the way that the unrepentant “Christian” is to be dealt with, a cursory read of the process, as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20, might be of some use to you before you find doing the very same thing that makes you sick, a “hypocritical judge”.

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9 Responses to Charles Barkley and Fake Christians

  1. Ironic how a believer (you) and a non-believer (myself) could have arrived at a similar conclusion but through different processes. I too thought it somewhat hypocritical to denounce others from up high for the very same thing you are doing in the action of denouncing.

    For me the distinction between “real” and “fake” Christian does not register because the terms of the equation are meaningless. How am I to distinguish between the two? For that matter, how is a Christian? If Christians had an answer to that question we could have avoided centuries of sectarian warfare and bloodshed in many parts of the world. Some of it continues even today and I suspect that there will never be a day where Christians unite under one common creed. In fact, after reading your post, I feel virtually certain that it will never happen.

    After all, your solution to Christians who do not conform to your specific interpretation is disfellowship, which to me sounds like excommunication, although I do not care to argue the difference. The effect is most likely the same in either case: the non-conforming members are thrown away, disowned, or otherwise shunned (at least until they get their act together and conform). Now one can see how Christianity has splintered and fractured over the millennia.

  2. Jigg-O says:

    i think what mr barkley meant is that christians tend to shun away ‘sinners’. for example homosexuals, i’ve seen the most cheerful and warmest christians turn into something really hateful at the sight of a flaming homosexual. instead of embracing them as brothers and sisters they tend to be jerks towards them, calling them names that a ‘christian’ isnt supposed to say and basically condemning them.
    jesus himself sat down and ate dinner with thieves, tax collectors and prostitutes; the people who were shunned by the pharisees, who were supposed to men of God.
    the christians now tend to be more like the pharisees instead of following jesus.
    mr barkley’s idea of a true christian is probably someone welcoming and loving, which is actually pretty much what a christian is all about; doing good to your neighbor.

  3. Laz says:

    Proud,
    Thank you for your comment. I don’t think I’m denouncing Mr. Barkley (as you seem to suggest), though I can see how my attempts at delineating what God’s Word says on the matter can be misconstrued as such.

    What is a Christian? Well since you asked. The term originated among unbelievers, and was a term of derision. It literally means “slave of Christ” or “one belonging to Christ”.

    As for how to distinguish between the two. I’m afraid that wholly falls within the purview of God, for only He can see the totality of our beings, we humans are only privy to the external actions of a man. Though to be sure, Jesus does address how we can discern the genuine from the fake.

    The bloodshed you refer to has little to do with genuine concern for the state of the Church and much to do with the gain of worldly power and/or influence.

    The effect is most likely the same in either case: the non-conforming members are thrown away, disowned, or otherwise shunned (at least until they get their act together and conform). Now one can see how Christianity has splintered and fractured over the millennia.

    They are given opportunities to repent (turn away), but if they proudly continue to live (Paul lists several things here) in a way opposed to the way of Christ, God (by way of the Apostle Paul) leaves us little choice but to expel them. Not because we’re mean or “intolerant” but so their sin does not spread to the rest of the church (Paul uses the imagery of a bit of yeast affecting a whole lump of dough in the 1 Corinthians 5 passage).

    To illustrate, the Church is often called a “hospital for sinners”, I’m sure the phrase was born from what Christ said in Mark 2:17.

    But pray tell, what would happen in a hospital if a patient who harbored a fatally contagious disease went around unchecked and was spreading his pox? If no one did anything eventually others would catch his malady and die.

    The doctors, if they were worth anything, would catch the man, restrain him, try to treat him but if he refused this then the only choice they have is to ship him out so he does not infect them or others in the hospital.

    This is but a simple analogy but I hope it illustrates the point.

  4. j razz says:

    Good analogy Laz. Good thoughts on the matter too.

    j razz

  5. Luke says:

    Proud-

    You wrote: “I suspect that there will never be a day where Christians unite under one common creed. In fact, after reading your post, I feel virtually certain that it will never happen.”

    You are incorrect. There will be a day (which feels to be sooner rather than later, given the direction that the world is heading) when all Christians will be united under the banner of the returning, victorious Messiah. While the various denominations continue to bicker over details today, the only detail that will matter on this day of victory is who each individual has trusted with their salvation. Those who have trusted Christ with their salvation will be united under a “common creed” as you say. Those that have not, whether they profess to be Christians or not, will be united under another banner.

    Jigg-O-

    You wrote: “i’ve seen the most cheerful and warmest christians turn into something really hateful at the sight of a flaming homosexual. instead of embracing them as brothers and sisters they tend to be jerks towards them, calling them names that a ‘christian’ isnt supposed to say and basically condemning them.”

    First off, acting hatefully towards any human being is not proper behavior for a believer. Not saying that it doesn’t happen; it does all the time. I’ve been guilty of it and I would guess that most Christians have at one point or another. But just because it happens doesn’t mean that it is condoned behavior. Second, a Christian is not called to embrace a flaming homosexual as a “brother” or a “sister”. We are called to love them as a neighbor and to share with them the Word of God, but they are not a brother or sister until they have accepted Christ and been welcomed into the family of God by their Savior. As I stated above, there is no call to abuse them or act hatefully towards them, but it is not acceptable to treat someone who is flaunting their sinful state the same way that a Christian would treat someone who has trusted Jesus as their Savior and is actively working to minimize sin’s presence in their lives.

    Great analogy, Laz. Simple and accurate.

  6. ChrisR says:

    Jigg-O,

    The “real” Christians have to pick on the homosexuals, if they picked on the fornicators and adulterers, the churches would be empty. LoL

  7. Luke says:

    ChrisR-

    I’m not sure what church you’ve been attending, but it sounds like it’s time for a change.

  8. Jigg-O says:

    j-razz,
    wasnt saying every christian did it, just some. and yeah using the word ‘brother’ loosely.
    my point though, was picking on ‘sinners’ isnt very ‘christian’.
    just a few clarifications. =]

  9. Laz says:

    Thank you all for your contributions.

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