It was a book I bought merely for the title. Preacher Craig Groeschel published in 2010 a book with the intriguing title of “The Christian Atheist” and the tag line of “Believing in God but Living as If He Doesn’t Exist.” Some of the chapters are direct and convicting. Things like, “When you believe in God but not it prayer, when you believe in God but pursue happiness at any cost,” and “when you believe in God but trust more in money.” In my years of ministry, I have experienced each one of these in the lives of people who called themselves believers.
Today’s post is not a book review. It is a statement about something that has bothered me for years and still exists today. I have listened to people say that they are believers in God and then have nothing in their life that demonstrates that belief. Sure, they might be a nice person to others and try to be kind when they would rather be mean, but there is little evidence that Jesus is transforming their life. They are, for lack of better terms, a Christian atheist.
Let me ask you this simple question as a test. If you removed Jesus from your life, would it make any difference? What would really be different about your life if you stopped telling people you believed in Jesus? What actions would change? What part of your speaking would change? How would it impact you as a spouse and a parent? What is truly different about your life because you believe in Jesus? For many so-called Christians, following Jesus is about getting into heaven, and even then, it is not about meeting Jesus. It is because we want to see our parents, siblings, and children.
A Christ-follower’s challenge is to mold and shape every aspect of their life to fit Jesus teaching and example. Showing up to Church on the Sundays we are not previously engaged is not all he desires of us. Jesus said, “If anyone comes after me, they must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) To be a Christian is to place our faith in God completely and allowing it to transform us into the image of his son. Anything less is a false faith and is correctly described as being a Christian atheist.