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Discussion Forum : General Topics : How to relate to nominal Christians

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Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 1014
Germany NRW

 How to relate to nominal Christians

Triggered by today's reading of Oswald Chamber's "My Utmost for His Highest" entitled "The opened Sight" which Greg posted today I would like to open up a discussion about nominal Christians. Churches always have and will have nominal Christians. Especially in these last of the last days I see an increase in their proportion in evangelical churches.

I am talking about people who have had some kind of conversion experience but who do not have saving faith and they do not know the Spirit of God. They basically pursue their own life but have a form of godliness though lacking its power. They are constantly defeated by sin and may have given up the battle against it. They like the songs of Zion, the preaching eases their conscience. They hear and hear but have not come through yet. They enjoy the fellowship of the saints and the feel loved and accepted among them in a world that is increasingly growing cold and dark. They see the church as a safe haven from all the ungodliness around them. They love to participate in some charitable events and shake the hand of the pastor at the door. They feel good about themselves and seek affirmation every sunday. They do not really shed tears for the lost, they know no agony of the burden of the Lord. They shed not many tears for their sins. They love little and do not hear the Lord's voice. Are they really his? Are they the elected beloved children? They hover in a no-mans land between heaven and hell. They escaped the world of sin but have not really entered the promised land. They have not died to themselves. Their old EGO is still alive and demands to be satisfied.

The bible is discriptive of these people. I see them in 2 categories.

It says in
2. Tim 3:5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

I also see Paul targeting these people in Thessalonica and Athens will some success:
4Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.

So there seem to be those in the spectrum of nominal Christians those who are can be brought to saving faith and on the other hand there are those who are used by the enemy to wreak havoc in the churches.

Jude mentions both groups:

17But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." 19These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.
20But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

This is an issues that I am pondering a lot about in the recent months. We should be gracious to help those who are ignorant yet, but stay away from the other group. There are those who are like the men who was blind and Jesus laid hands on him with the result that he saw men like trees walking.
Mark 8:24. He could have settled for that. This way a lot better than blindness and meant a big improvement. Yet, there was more to it. His honest answer that his sight was somehow incomplete was the key for receiving full eyesight. Is it not a wonderful display of grace to help such a person to receive complete eyesight?

It would be said if we in a blank statement would severe all ties to nominal Christian. There are many that can be saved through thoughtful witness to them. I also see that we have to beware of those in the second category who are used by the devil.

Your comments and experiences are welcome.

 2010/1/10 12:58Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 1971
Joplin, Missouri

 Re: How to relate to nominal Christians

I think this topic is really more complex than it seems on the surface. I have seen many "classes" of people who are part of or claim to be part of the body.

There are those who have said, "let us make God in our image". They have the trappings of Christianity, but invent their own unique religion that suits their own desires and beliefs. Rather than conform to the word, they seek for ways to make the word conform to themselves. This is becoming increasingly prevalent in our post-christian American society. We must be led of the Holy Spirit any time we are dealing with others. There is no blanket response for all situations. But I think this class must usually be dealt with by a head on declaration of the truth, not as we see it, but as the Word of God plainly says it. Expressing your opinion of the way it is to these people is seen by them as just another equally valid opinion that each of us has the right to hold. They must come face to face with the written word, with a minimum of interpretation and explanation.

There are those who are genuinely born again, but are ignorant. They have either never been taught, or have been taught wrongly. These must be taught with love and patience. They must be fed milk and then weaned to eat solid food. I have heard them say things like, "I was born again and loved God with all my heart but never considered that __________ would be displeasing to Him." They must be transformed by the renewing of their minds.

I guess our relationship with each of these classes, and perhaps there are many more, is determined both by the spiritual condition of the "nominal believer", and by the leading of the Holy Spirit. He can give us the discernment to know the differernce.


 2010/1/10 13:29Profile

Joined: 2007/6/27
Posts: 1573
Omaha, NE

 Re: How to relate to nominal Christians

Many Christians have not discovered GOD'S calling,
and do not realize GOD has a purpose and will for
their lives because they do not know Jesus Christ
as a living, personal, true Savior!!

Martin G. Smith

 2010/1/10 15:34Profile

 Re: How to relate to nominal Christians

How to relate to nominal Christians


Serve them...

 2010/1/10 18:02

Joined: 2005/8/1
Posts: 19



How to relate to nominal Christians


Serve them...

Bingo... Daniel 12:3 talks of those who lead many to righteousness. Let's be ones who lead like Christ did. By serving...

Mikey Revis

 2010/1/10 18:30Profile

Joined: 2009/11/19
Posts: 31
Webster, Texas

 Re: How to relate to nominal Christians

22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

I see nominal Christians as those who are weak in the faith. This can be from a lack of discipline or it can be from a lack of discipleship. I've wanted to grab people by the throat and scream "Don't you understand?". That is obviously not the correct approach. Most of us have been like that at some point in our walks. I think 2 Timothy 4:2 is what we need to concentrate on when dealing with these kind of Christians, preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with GREAT PATIENCE and instruction (NASB). We must tell them, and we must be prepared to tell them a few times. It took me a while to get it, and I'm still getting it. 2 Corinthians 13 applies here as well. We just have to keep at them until Christ returns, or one or both parties goes to be with Him. I think by not seeking them out we are judging them. We are saying, "They are beyond hope!" I don't want to answer for that on judgment day.

 2010/1/10 23:31Profile


Paul Washer stated in his address to the Baptist youth that there was no such thing as a nominal Christian. I agree.........Frank

 2010/1/10 23:53

Joined: 2007/1/15
Posts: 364


It has always bothered me when church folk don't want prayer meetings, fasting or worse still, bible study.
But the Lord has been giving me grace to lovingly pursue some into discipleship classes.

The unfunny part is they want to see the power of God at work in their lives but somehow are unable to connect spiritual discipline and divine virtue....sigh

Honestly, there are some I'm not even sure are born again but lest i be accused of judging another's salvation, i leave the matter alone and just pray for them that there eyes be opened to their spiritual state, even as i pray that for myself.

As to the OP's question..just love them, with the Word. Let them see the risen Christ in you. Then, they decide whether to pursue that or not. Some people really don't want that sort of 'intensity'. Until a man sees his need of God, there's little anyone can do for that man.


 2010/1/11 10:58Profile

Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3392
East TN (for now)

 Re: How to relate to nominal Christians

How do we relate to nominal Christians?

let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
~ James 5:20

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
~ 1 Peter 4:8

Love towards those we "deem" as lesser should always be foremost in our thoughts and actions especially when trying to convert them (again) into a deeper walk.

As far along as you think you are, please remember to give them AS MUCH time as God has given you.

God bless,


 2010/1/11 16:10Profile

Joined: 2008/10/2
Posts: 203


I think 2 Timothy 2 :25 relates to some of the ideas that people have been sharing about on this topic :

"In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;"

So this verse tells us to provide instruction in a spirit of meekness, to people who are not following Christ whole heartedly, or not at all.

The phrase,"those who oppose themselves" is an interesting phrase. I'm not exactly sure what was intended by this phrase, but possibly it refers to both groups of people mentioned above.

In Jesus,

 2010/1/11 22:00Profile

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