Friday, December 28, 2007

Genuine Christianity

Genuine Christianity: Essentials for Living Your Faith by Ron Sider is a helpful guide for responding to James 2:16-17

If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Sider is president of Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA), and in this book he fleshes out eleven characteristics of Genuine Christians, those who follow Jesus in faith and deed everyday.

To set up these characteristics he imagines a conversation between Jesus and the messenger angel Gabriel:
"You mean," Gabriel asks in amazement, "your whole plan to save the world depends on that ragtag bunch of fishermen, ex-prostitutes, and tax collectors?"
"That's right," Jesus replies.
"But what if they fail? Gabriel persists, with growing alarm. "What's your backup plan?"
"There is no back-up plan," Jesus says quietly.

Characteristics of Genuine Christians
1. Genuine Christians embrace both God's holiness and God's love.

2. Genuine Christians live like Jesus.

3. Genuine Christians keep their marriage covenants and put children before career.

4. Genuine Christians nurture daily spiritual renewal and live in the power of the Spirit.

5. Genuine Christians strive to make the church a little picture of what heaven will be like.

6. Genuine Christians love the whole person the way Jesus did.

7. Genuine Christians mourn church divisions and embrace all who confess Jesus as God and Savior.

8. Genuine Christians confess that Jesus is Lord of politics and economics.

9. Genuine Christians share God's special concern for the poor.

10. Genuine Christians treasure the creation and worship the Creator.

11. Genuine Christians embrace servanthood.

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