Are You a Christian in Name Only?

RINO is an acronym used in the political world. Is it possible to be a CINO—a Christian in Name Only? How can you avoid that and practice genuine Christianity?


While driving recently, I listened to a (at times) heated radio debate on the topic of which politicians are truly Republicans. Were they of the “Tea Party” wing of the party, or were they RINOs (Republicans in Name Only)? In other words, did they really believe what some consider to be the core tenets of this political party?

But this acronym could be changed to stand for Religious in Name Only, and it would accurately describe many people in today’s world. How many just give lip service to religion? Millions of people label themselves by the religion of their family, but care little about living or practicing even the basic teachings of their professed religion.

We could also get more specific and change it to CINO: Christian in Name Only.

A disturbing survey

A recent report from the American Bible Society titled “State of the Bible 2014” gives some interesting statistics. According to the fourth annual State of the Bible survey:

  • 19 percent are skeptical of the Bible. This number is up from 10 percent in 2011. The trend is more pronounced among 18- to 29-year-olds (Millennials).
  • 79 percent view the Bible as sacred (down from 86 percent).
  • 19 percent of Millennials believe that no literature is sacred.
  • 13 percent of all adults believe that no literature is sacred.
  • 35 percent of Millennials agree that the “Bible contains everything a person needs to know about the meaning of life”; 50 percent of all adults agreed with that statement.

An important question for you

This answer begs the question: Are you living a meaningful life? And if so, is it based upon the Scriptures that many are skeptical of? Or is it based on your personal definition?

Have you looked into the Bible and proved what it does say and what it does not say? The more you honestly study the Bible, the more you will be surprised that what it does say differs from what many who profess Christianity believe.If you claim to be a Christian, perhaps it is time to evaluate the roots and legitimacy of your profession.

There is an important verse to think about in 1 Thessalonians 5:21: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (King James Version).

Have you looked into the Bible and proved what it does say and what it does not say? The more you honestly study the Bible, the more you will be surprised that what it does say differs from what many who profess Christianity believe. Our Life, Hope & Truth website exists to help people clear away the confusion that exists in so many minds about the Bible.

We seek to help people genuinely understand the Bible and actually practice the truths contained in it! In other words, we exist to help people chaange from being a RINO/CINO to being a CIP: a Christian in Practice!

Where to start

In order to become a CIP, we must open our Bible and read it. Life, Hope & Truth offers many materials to help along the way. Here are three suggestions on where to start:

  • Study what the biblical definition of a true Christian is. It is much more than a profession! Our article “What Is a Christian?” provides many scriptures that show Christianity is an entire way of living.
  • Study what the Bible defines as the code of conduct a Christian should live by. Our articles on each of the 10 Commandments will help you understand the specifics of how God expects you to live your life. Pay close attention to the Fourth Commandment because it is the commandment most neglected by mainstream Christians.
  • Study the special days God has created for His people. Most people today keep holidays that are foreign to the Bible. But the Bible includes a set of festivals with rich meaning for true Christians.

Develop the good habits of a “Berean”

Studying the above topics and understanding what the Bible really says about them is a great place to begin. But becoming a Christian in Practice takes more. It takes developing the habits of regular Bible study—and then living by what you learn.

A group of people from the ancient city of Berea set an excellent example of this in the first century: “They received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11, emphasis added).

Christians in Practice regularly study their Bibles and then practice what they learn! Are you ready to change from being a Christian in Name Only to a Christian in Practice?

Life, Hope & Truth recently began publishing a bimonthly magazine designed to help you better understand and practice what is written in your Bible. Sign up for you free email subscription to Discern magazine.

About the Author

Paul Suckling

Paul Suckling

Paul Suckling is a pastor for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. He was born in England and now lives in New England. He is happily married to his wife of over 50 years, Jane. They have two children and two grandchildren.

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