Authentic Christianity: Authenticity vs. Sincerity

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au·then·tic [aw-then-tik] adjective

1. not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.
2.having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified: an authentic document of the Middle Ages; an authentic work of the old master.
3.entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy: an authentic report on poverty in Africa.
4.Law . executed with all due formalities: an authentic deed.

5.Music .

a.(of a church mode) having a range extending from the final to the octave above. Compare plagal.
b.(of a cadence) consisting of a dominant harmony followed by a tonic.
6. Obsolete . authoritative.

sin·cere [sin-seer]  adjective of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; earnest: a sincere apology.
2.genuine; real: a sincere effort to improve; a sincere friend.
3.pure; unmixed; unadulterated.
4.Obsolete . sound; unimpaired.
( Unabridged. Random House, Inc.)

It’s been a buzzword for a while.  A search on Google for “Authentic Christianity” turns up book after book after book, Magazines, and blogs on the topic.  But just what is, “Authentic Christianity”?

If you read the blogs, books and magazines, you will get the impression that “Authentic Christianity” is not about the genuine teachings of Jesus as revealed in Holy Scripture.  It is not about Christ and what He has done and given and revealed to us.  It’s not about discerning the difference between the teachings handed down by the Son of God from the cheap imitations peddled in the world today.  Instead, in general conversation, “Authentic Christianity” is all about me.  It’s about my walk, my life, my relationship, my behavior, my actions and my thoughts.  It’s about whether I “walk the talk.”

In reality, the term “Authentic Christianity” as it is used in so-called “Christian” books and magazines and blogs has nothing to do with authenticity or, very often, with Christianity for that matter.  It has nothing to do with the truth and genuineness of the teachings proclaimed as “Christianity.”  Instead it has to do with the sincerity of an individual who self-identifies as “Christian.”  It has to do with with whether or not a person lives according to their own definition of what Christianity is or what they desire Christianity to be.

It doesn’t matter whether what they believe is correct or incorrect, so long as it is strongly believed and so long as that belief is acted upon and finds expression in real life.  You see, sadly, many who believe themselves to be Christians because they are “authentic” in their faith have been deceived.  Though they are sincere and passionate about their faith, that faith is not itself “authentic.”  What they believe to be true simply isn’t.  And too many people who call themselves “Christians” have failed to analyze what they believe according to what God has said to be true.  What makes matters worse is that most are unwilling to do so because it will mean that to truly be an “Authentic Christian,” that is – a genuine and true Christian who holds to the genuine and true teachings of Jesus – they will need to admit they were wrong and give up sincerely held beliefs.

The Christian faith has a specific content.  It is not whatever we want it to be.  There was a man who came from God and taught the eternal truth about God and man and life in this world and the world to come.  He set down for us the standards of both what is to be believed and how one is to live.  He caused it to be written down and delivered to us so that we may know these things with certainty.

In the Scriptures, God tells us not only what the authentic, genuine and true faith is but how it finds proper expression in our lives.  Only when we give up our personal idiosyncratic views about what is real, who God is, who we are, and how we are to live as His creatures can we claim to have real faith and be “Authentic Christians” because only then will what we think and do conform to the reality that God has created.  Until then, we are merely pious and sincere believers in the personal idols that we have created and put in the place of God.

This series is intended to help clarify just what “Authentic Christianity” is.  In the next post, we will look at “the author and perfecter of our faith,” Jesus and what He sent His representatives to teach and proclaim and describe how that faith is lived in a world that has been overtaken by false belief, false believers and imposters who claim to teach the faith but lead people to destruction instead.

In our next post we will look at the source of “Authentic Christianity” as we learn that “Authentic Christianity” is the legacy that Jesus left.

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