Bible Q&A: Are There Different Types of Christians?

Are there different types of Christians?

There are two ways to look at this question.  First, many members of denominations take a very ecumenical view of Christianity.  In other words, they hold to the notion that most if not all of the different denominations, sects and cults which profess to be Christian are legitimate in spite of their differences in faith and man-made doctrines which add to or take away from the Word of God.  Thus, they say that the different churches represent different kinds of Christians.  A Catholic is a Christian just like a Baptist is a Christian or a Mormon is a Christian; they’re just different kinds of Christians.

This view is incorrect because the Bible says that there is only one church as far as God is concerned.  That church is called the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), and there is only one body (Eph. 4:4); thus, there is only one church.  In contrast, there are many churches which make up the denominations, sects and cults of Christendom.  Yet as far as God is concerned there is only one church.

There is also only one faith (Eph. 4:5), and that faith is based solely on the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).  Denominations, sects and cults add to and subtract from God’s Word with their man-made doctrines and traditions, something which is condemned (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; 1 Cor. 4:6; Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 22:18-19).   Thus, the various faiths based on those man-made doctrines do not constitute the one faith God recognizes which is based solely on His Word.  This is why professed followers of Christ whose faith is based on man-made doctrines are not truly Christians in the sight of God.

God’s Word also condemns division among all who would be followers of God and demands that they all “speak the same thing” (1 Cor. 1:10-13; Phil. 2:1-2; John 17:20-23).  Denominations, sects and cults profess to be Christian, but they are divided in that they believe and teach different doctrines.  Those doctrines are man-made and thus do not constitute the “one faith” professed by those in the “one body” of Christ which is His one church.

Thus, the notion that the various denominations, sects and cults of Christendom make up “different types of Christians” is mistaken.

The second way to look at this question is based on the fact that there are Christians – members of that one body of Christ, His only church – who are consistently faithful and obedient…and Christians who consistently are not faithful and obedient.

The parable of the sower teaches that some would initially obey the gospel only to then either fall away completely due to trials or be distracted from bearing fruit due to worldly cares, riches and pleasures; these are marked in contrast from those who initially obeyed the gospel and bore fruit faithfully (Lk. 8:13-15).

The parable of the wheat and the tares teaches that some in the kingdom of Christ would be removed from the kingdom on Judgment Day due to being stumbling blocks and lawbreakers; these are marked in contrast from those in the kingdom who are righteous (Matt. 13:41-43).

Thus, the Bible teaches that there are different types of Christians in the sense that there are consistently faithful, penitent, obedient Christians who are diligently striving to grow in all areas into what Christ wants them to be…and there are consistently unfaithful, unrepentant, disobedient Christians who have “lost their first love” (Rev. 2:4), are “lukewarm” (Rev. 3:15-16), and will be cast out of the kingdom on Judgment Day if they do not repent and become faithful.

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