4/15/2003 | Share this article: View CommentsI was guilty of this. I admit it.
It was a favorite apologetic of mine, while serving my tenure as a fundified believer, to lightly dismiss any embarrassing history of Christianity with a thoughtless wave of the proverbial, "They weren't real Christians."
How easily I disallowed centuries of the undeniable evidence of terrible behavior by Christians as their faith was played out in real life. I simply judged them as not having a "real" faith, or not being "really" saved.
Of course whenever I condemned and dismissed those "false" saints of the past I was also subtly congratulating myself for my "real" and "authentic" salvation that was plainly witnessed to me by the power of the Holy Spirit in my day to day life. I rested in the assurance that I was blessed with true enlightenment and grace, while those poor so called believers from past generations, especially those who participated in the heinous "Crusades" and other such atrocities, were either charlatans or perhaps vessels unto dishonor (Romans 9:2).
I could also easily negotiate the distance between the past and present day to find fault with contemporary professing Christians. It is not a far jump in fundie logic to suppose that If there were vast numbers of "tares" (Matthew 13:30) in the middle ages "Church", then quite apparently today's "Assemblies" are undoubtedly filled with as many fakes, if not more. I had the confidence that I was not a tare, because I bore fruit! Any true Christian can ultimately tell a false believer from the real thing. How? -by their fruits! (Matthew 7:20) - just ask them!
I remained staunchly virulent in my negative estimation of ancient Christian's professions of faith until a certain fog of ignorance was lifted.
The following three letters were penned nearly one thousand years ago. They reveal the personal faith and convictions of three professing and devoted Christians as they fought the good fight of faith against what they called Moors and Turks, which we would now call Islamics.
Were the writers of these letters real Christians or not? You decide!
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