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Living in a Nominal Religious Context

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Nominal religious contexts do not mean the end of the church.

Many American Southerners still possess a religious terminology that expresses they were saved at the age of 8, baptized at the age of 10, and are on the membership roll at the Crooked Creek Pentecostal Church or the Sugar Creek Methodist Church. Many of these individuals based their salvation on being moral, decent, and upstanding citizens, who love their families, their country, and even their God.

Living in such a nominal religious context presents some dangers, difficulties, and directives for believers who are passionately committed to king Jesus.

Dangers of Living in a Nominal Religious Context

The dangers of living in a nominal religious context aren’t the same as living in a zealous violent religious context like regions in the Middle East. Living in those areas can cost one their life. Living in a nominal religious context may not put one’s life in danger, but if not careful it can endanger a believer in other ways that are just as costly—just on a different scale.

There’s the danger of embracing a comfortable Christianity.

One thing about nominal “Christians” is that their faith doesn’t cost them anything. Their faith or belief is like a trinket or badge they wear. It doesn’t prompt them to give up guilty pleasures, to give generously of their time, talents, or treasures to the Lord or His church, or to vulnerably share their faith with someone else.

If not careful, passionate believers can allow such comfort to influence them so that they too become comfortable.

There’s the danger of domesticating the gospel. Lesslie Newbigin was one who landed on this idea when he came home from forty years of faithful mission work in India. Upon his return, he saw that the church, ...

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