Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The intent of this question is not to define 'what is a true Christian?', but to ask:

Given that each tradition has it's own well-defined understanding of what being a Christian means, how do they explain how their own adherants can (after fitting that definition sufficiently to be regarded as members of their visible church) transgress commandments to an extant that is manifestly inconsistant with that definition and yet remain regarded as 'Christians' (i.e. they are not ex-communicated for their behaviour).

Particularly, how would they explain such situations in the light of:

1 John 2:4, "The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

The answer sought is a short over-view from the perspective of different Traditions clearly identifying which perspective is in view and how it relates to the issue. Views are sought particularly from those tagged, but not necessarily limited to such.

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by Peter Turner, Jayarathina Madharasan, Affable Geek, Narnian, Mason Wheeler Jun 12 '14 at 4:53

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This is certainly a tough question to ask on this site as it looks like you are transgressing the 'hard boundary' of seeking to define a 'true Christian'. If either you or someone else re-edits somehow so that's in on-topic I would like to attempt an answer as 1 John is part of the bible I seem to be drawn to over and over. – bruised reed Jun 10 '14 at 2:41
I think this should go to the – Double U Jun 10 '14 at 2:50
Maybe you should limit it to a particular person you think didn't keep those laws. (Augustine?) – david brainerd Jun 10 '14 at 3:34
@bruisedreed maybe suggest some edits? I guess it feels like answering "well why did the inquisition torture people etc." by "well not everyone is a true Christian" is a cop out, and I would like to then ask, well so what do you know about true Christians and all the terrible things that people were doing to each other? It doesn't seem like you can just wave a hand and say "oh well the TRUE Christians are living now, and those pious churchgoing people from 500 years ago who enlisted to kill Jews were actually all liars" – Gregory Magarshak Jun 10 '14 at 3:40
@ Gregory Magarshak, Its not as much a copout as you want to make it since it was mainly Christians they were killing in the inquisition. So you can easily say "The people doing the killing weren't true Christians. After all, they were killing the true Christians." – david brainerd Jun 10 '14 at 3:48