How to be a Christian

I’ve noticed that some Evangelical Christians have a very specific list of things you must do in order to be saved. But they are also the people who would deny most vehemently that Christianity is a list of things to do. It’s grace from Jesus, they say. Nothing we can do ourselves.

“So you see, it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship! All you have to do is pray the sinner’s prayer, and believe in Jesus in your heart, and follow him and you’ll be saved!”

“Great! Sounds simple enough. I was afraid you would have a list of rules for me to follow or something.”

“No, nothing like that! Well, that’s great you’re saved now. See you on Sunday at church!”

“I’m not coming to church. Sunday mornings are my fishin’ time.”

“But you have to come to church. It says so in the Bible! You need the fellowship of believers to build yourself up, and you can meet the Holy Spirit there, it is very important to come to church.”

“You just said this wasn’t about rules and requirements.”

“It’s not required that you come to church in order to be a Christian. It’s just that, you have to do it, or you don’t love Jesus.”


“And we can help you in your struggle against sin.”

“Struggle? I thought you said I was already saved from my sin.”

“You are, but you’re still going to sin. We all do. You have to become transformed by Jesus and give up your sins.”

“So I have to do what’s right to be saved?”

“No, it’s not about what you ‘have to do’! But yes, you do have to do what’s right.”

“Well, with all this talk of the holy spirit and the power of Christ, I suppose it will just come naturally for me to give up my sin.”

“No it’s really hard. If you are addicted or have developed bad habits they’ll be really hard to kick, just like it is for non-believers. Here’s some rules you can follow, or some people you can be accountable to, to help you change. But remember, it’s not that you have to change in order to be a Christian.”

“Right. Well at least you leave room for conscience. Your scripture says God will ‘write his law on my heart’, so I’m sure I can seek out what’s right on an issue and honestly follow my conscience.”

“Actually, we have this list of things you need to affirm to be absolutely true. We need you to be against abortion in all forms, and soon we may require you to hate birth control also. You need to believe men and women are fundamentally different and must be treated different, we need you to oppose gay rights in all forms, and we have a list of candidates you need to vote for.”

“But what if in my heart the Holy Spirit is telling me this is wrong?”

“Then you’re not hearing the Holy Spirit, and you need to read some different books and listen to some different preachers until you agree with everything we say.”

“And these are all the things I have to do to be a Christian?”

“You don’t have to do anything to be a Christian! You just aren’t a Christian if you don’t do them.”


3 thoughts on “How to be a Christian

  1. Captain Cassidy

    I had a conversation almost exactly like this after joining a Pentecostal church. It began with a church elder telling me, with a snort of a chuckle, that “god would have to convict me about wearing pants.” For a church touting itself as filled with grace and not adhering to rules, it sure had a lot of them–even down to handbooks written for young women about how to dress and fix their hair.

    1. The_Physeter Post author

      Ha. I guess it would have been nice if GOD could convict you, but God’s kind of busy; fortunately he had his True Believers to explain to you exactly what he wanted.


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