Even King Solomon would have a difficult time with this question. When he ruled Israel, no one had ever heard of a Christian. But, suppose he were alive today. Having studied his people’s history throughout the intervening years, particularly regarding the way they have been treated by so-called Christians, my guess is that he would lean toward “no.” Being eminently wise, I would also hope that he would ponder what has been declared to be Christian, but is not.
One can be Jewish by birth. Individuals from other ethnic groups may convert to Judaism and worship as a Jew. In effect, they become Jewish by faith, but their DNA is not that of a Jew.
There is no earthly lineage of Christians. No one is born a Christian. The only way anyone can be a Christian is by becoming one by choice. That is what makes the question so difficult to answer.
“G-d looks on the heart , but man can only see the outer man and hear what that man says.” (I Samuel 16:7)
The problem comes down to this: Anyone can claim to be a Christian. Some people claim to be a Christian, but they are not. Just because someone claims a label for themselves, that does not mean that they are really what they say they are. Even Samuel could not, at first, recognize whom to anoint as king until G-d allowed him to see the young shepherd who was “a man after God’s own heart.” (I Samuel 13:14)
The Matter of Christian Governments
Since being a Christian is a matter of personal choice, there can be no such thing as a Christian government. Unless this truth is understood, history is a quagmire of confusion.
Many have touted America as a Christian country. It is not. Nor should having American values, ideas, or actions be construed as Christian. The framework of the United States government is a constitutional republic established on Judeo-Christian principles and the French Enlightenment, but it is neither a Jewish nor a Christian nation and, especially of late, often does not seem to be guided by those principles.
George Washington was still President when the Treaty of Tripoli was ceremonially signed on November 4, 1796. Then President John Adams signed the treaty into law on June 10, 1797. Article 11 of that treaty reads, in part, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
Neither have, at any time, the United Kingdom, the Holy Roman Empire, or any other government been Christian. By implication, neither can any political party be Christian. The Jewish people have been persecuted mercilessly throughout most of the past 21 centuries. Unfortunately, often in the absconded name of Christianity. Amidst pogroms, inquisitions, and Holocaust, however, there have always been a few righteous among the nations who demonstrated kindness and love toward the Jewish people, even when their governments were not. Most of these people were Christians.
The Matter of Pseudo-Christians
For whatever reason – because it is in vogue, to socialize, or to network, to name a few – there exists significant numbers of people who say they are Christians, but are not. In his book, Hard to Believe, Dr. John MacArthur suggests that the number of pseudo-Christians (my terminology) is much greater than most people believe. Pseudo-Christians range from church officials to carousers and womanizers who know nothing about the Scriptures or just choose to ignore them.
This makes the matter even more confusing. For my part, I do not understand how one of America’s mainline denominations could support the boycotting of Israeli products or American companies that have a substantial economic presence in Israel. This does not align at all with how G-d wants the apple of His eye to be treated.
How Can a Jew Know Who Is a Real Christian?
It is no easier than it is for a Christian to tell who else is a true Christian, but, here are a few guiding principles.
- He is a person after G-d’s own heart.
- He loves the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he loves their descendants.
- He has no other gods. (Deuteronomy 4:19)
- He lives in obedience to the principles of the Scripture
- He trusts G-d with all his heart and mind and soul and strength.
So, the issue is not whether or not Jews can trust Christians. The issue is how to identify the real Christians among the many who claim to be but are not. You’ll know us by our love.