A Christian in Name Only (abbreviated XINO), also called a cultural Christian, nominal Christian, or more often, a liberal Christian, is someone who professes to be a Christian in public but has a considerable lack of knowledge about the basic tenets of one's professed faith, often "knowing" it only from what is half-remembered from Sunday school or from pop-cultural osmosis. To put it another way, a Christian in name only is someone who "would call himself a Christian, or be so regarded by others, but who has no authentic commitment to Christ based on personal faith."
This includes ignorance of the contents of the Bible in general and may specifically include not being able to name the Four Gospels, the Ten Commandments, or even the fact that Jesus Christ gave the Sermon on the Mount. They may hold beliefs contrary to the teachings of Jesus, including considering abortion, special rights for homosexuals, social justice, gun control, adultery, and cohabitation between unmarried people to be morally acceptable and following situational ethics rather than the absolute morality of the Bible. They also might believe in other ways to attain salvation rather than accepting Jesus as one's Lord and Savior or otherwise dismiss core Christian doctrines regarding salvation, such as the need for forgiveness. They may themselves live according to lifestyle choices condemned by Scripture or hold up others who do so as good Christian role models, thereby rendering their Christian witness worthless or even damaging. When challenged on their views with quotations from Scripture, Christians in name only, if they believe in God at all, often respond with unsupported assertions as to what God really wants or with Bible passages that are "interpreted" beyond recognition. Christians in name only, especially those motivated by liberal politics, have proved to be such an embarrassment that committed Christians are now seeking new terminology to replace the terminology that Christians in name only have appropriated and thereby distinguish themselves from Christians in name only.
Christians in name only and liberal politics
Christians in name only are common in liberal politics. Sometimes, they may attempt to justify their liberal political views through loose paraphrases of the Bible and leaps of logic (e.g., going from the Christian communities described in Acts to a call for a welfare state). They may at other times abandon any pretense that the Bible has anything to do with their views, in some cases explicitly denying that it does, and identify as "Christian" solely for advancement in liberal political circles or for identification with a side in the Culture War. They also often attempt to turn Christianity into a purely or predominantly secular political movement, emphasizing social justice and other notions that are completely unmoored from Bible-based Christianity.
Opposition to the term
But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26 NASB
This can be taken to mean that there is no such thing as a deal breaker. If you are a Paulian Christian and accept the Epistle to the Romans as canonical, then the one true standard for receiving eternal salvation can be viewed as solely the result of the personal relationship with Jesus, something that cannot be measured from the outside by other people.
The counterargument is that Christ said that we will know every tree by its fruit and that only those who do the will of the Father in Heaven will be saved:
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:15-23 (KJV)
That is, evil fruit and not doing the will of the Father in Heaven are signs of a Christian in name only. The Bible also teaches us how to discern false conversions to Christianity, which are common among celebrities and others in the public eye.
List of individuals who either are, or give the appearance of being, XINOs
- Any practitioner of liberal Christianity.
- Ben Affleck – liberal actor.
- Alec Baldwin – liberal actor who also supports animal rights, gun control, and environmentalism.
- George W. Bush – Once claimed that there are multiple ways to Heaven, not just through Christ; member of the Council on Foreign Relations; blundered in the Iraq War.
- Anders Breivik – Mass murderer of seventy-seven victims in Norway.
- The Roman Catholic Church, especially Pope Francis.
- Jimmy Carter – 39th President of the United States. A Democrat who used his support from southern evangelicals to unseat Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election. In debate, Ford even claimed that he was unfamiliar with the term "born-again" Christian, which is specifically mentioned in the Bible. Carter left the Southern Baptist Convention to join the liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Carter claimed that Jesus would approve of homosexual "marriage" and certain abortions.
- Any practitioner of Christian Identity.
- Any corrupt church official
- Bill Clinton – 42nd President. A Democrat, he sang in the Immanuel Southern Baptist Church choir in Little Rock, when seeking the governorship there. Was seen on television by many Arkansas residents. Falsely claimed that his former pastor W. O. Vaught did not consider oral sex to be sinful.
- Hillary Clinton – A corrupt liberal. Took a lesson in voodoo for her honeymoon in 1975 and involved in the occult. At the October 20, 2016, Al Smith dinner in New York City, Clinton stated that salvation (justification) is by faith and good works, which contradicts the clear teaching of the Book of James on salvation and undermines her claim during the presidential campaign of being a real Christian.
- Matt Damon – liberal actor and friend of Ben Affleck.
- David Duke – former Louisiana state representative and racist who claimed to be a traditional Christian in his losing bid for governor in 1991.
- John Edwards – former senator from North Carolina, who cancelled out most of the votes of his conservative colleague Jesse Helms. Democratic vice-presidential choice in 2004.
- Allen J. Ellender – Louisiana segregationist who was baptized a Catholic and later considered himself a Presbyterian, though had no church membership in his adult life. He infamously defended incitement of violence by virulently racist Mississippi demagogue Theodore Bilbo.
- Emilio Estevez – liberal actor, brother of Charlie Sheen, and son of Martin Sheen.
- John Wayne Gacy – serial killer and child molester who was also an avowed liberal.
- Al Gore – 45th Vice President of the United States and member of the Democratic Party
- Billy Graham – Although millions of people experienced salvation through the long-running Graham Crusades, the evangelist denied some key Christian doctrines, such as faith in Christ alone for salvation. Active in the ecumenical movement, he treated Roman Catholics and Jews as spiritual equals and entrusted them with new believers. He has made numerous unbiblical, watered-down statements such as supporting abortion in the case of rape. He was a 33° Mason, which "take[s] sworn oaths to a pagan demonic god." Was an early admirer of Bill and Hillary Clinton, defended Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and was also close to nominal Quaker Richard Nixon and Disciples of Christ adherent Lyndon B. Johnson. His son, Franklin Graham, head of the charity Samaritan's Purse, is considered more conservative in matters of theology and political issues than was his father. Franklin Graham in 2018 released a new book, Through My Father's Eyes, based on how his father's teachings impacted him.
- Amy Grant – Contemporary Christian artist. While married had an affair with country singer Vince Gill (also married); they then both divorced their spouses and married each other.
- Ted Haggard – disgraced former pastor of New Life Church.
- Adolf Hitler – leader of Nazi Germany. Responsible for the extermination of over 6,000,000 Jews. In reality, Hitler was a Darwinian secularist who believed in adult fairy tale of evolution, hated and despised Christianity, and attempted to warp Christianity into a XINO organization that adhered to Nazi beliefs.
- Jesse Jackson – media-seeking civil rights activist who claimed to have held the dying Martin Luther King, Jr., at the 1968 assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. The South Carolina native who has since lived for years in Chicago, is a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Like Bill Clinton, who he mentored, Jackson has himself been involved in adultery.
- Jehovah's Witnesses
- Jim Jones – cult leader from California.
- Helen Keller
- John Kerry – Democratic senator from Massachusetts and 2004 presidential nominee. Later as secretary of state failed in most of his missions.
- Joseph Kony
- The Ku Klux Klan
- Timothy McVeigh – perpetrator of the Oklahoma City Bombing and professed agnostic.
- Michael Moore – anti-capitalist liberal film maker.
- Barack Obama – 44th President of the United States, progressive socialist and member of the Democratic Party 
- Joel Osteen – runs a large "New Age" church in Houston, Texas; seems more concerned about making people feel good about their state of sin, instead of accurately teaching the Word of God. This is called "the prosperity gospel."
- Nancy Pelosi – Democratic House Minority Leader from the San Francisco area; liberal Roman Catholic originally from Baltimore, Maryland.
- Sean Penn – liberal actor who portrayed on film the homosexual figure Harvey Milk.
- Fred Phelps – Cult leader
- Harry Reid – former Democratic Senate Majority Leader from Nevada, who claims he is personally opposed to abortion but would not interfere with a woman seeking the procedure.
- Ben Roethlisberger – controversial NFL quarterback for Pittsburgh Steelers who committed assault.
- Much of the British Royal Family, who endorse homosexual marriage and have let the Anglican Church spiritually decline under their watch, as well as overall British culture. Conversely, Queen Victoria was a dedicated Christian when the British Empire was at its peak.
- Jerry Sandusky – retired head coach from Pennsylvania State University who was a convicted child molester and rapist.
- Susan Sarandon – liberal actress.
- Al Sharpton – hosts a show on MSNBC. Stirs up racial animosity throughout the nation.
- Martin Sheen – liberal actor.
- Charlie Sheen – liberal actor, conspiracy theorist, and son of Martin Sheen.
- Carrie Underwood – supports same-sex marriage and is a practicing vegan. Mocked President Trump on a country music awards show. Several of her songs espouse vengenance.
- Rick Warren – Operates a "New Age" style church in California. Gave the inaugural prayer at Obama's swearing-in as President. CFR member. Runs his church to gain members, not to preach the gospel.
- The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, formerly pastored by Fred Phelps.
- Oprah Winfrey – Talk show host, media mogul, and occasional host on 60 Minutes. Endorsed Obama in 2008 and 2012.
- Jeremiah Wright – Obama's pastor and preacher of Black Liberation Theology.
- Seventh-day Adventists
- Christians in Name Only?
- Are you a Cultural Christian? from the Christian Research Institute
- The Nominal Christian
- Christian Witness to Nominal Christians Among Protestants (LOP 23)
- The Cafeteria Is Closed.
- Celebrity Conversions that Don't Always Line Up with Scripture, from Conservative News and Views
- Williams, Thomas D. (July 9, 2018). Jimmy Carter: Jesus Would ‘Approve’ of Gay Marriage, Some Abortions. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- Gutierrez-Cachila, Suzette (October 27, 2016). Hillary Clinton: Both Faith and Good Works Needed for Salvation. The Gospel Herald Society. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
- West, Marsha (October 21, 2016). Clinton at Al Smith Dinner: “In Order to Achieve Salvation, We Need Both Faith and Good Works”. Christian Research Network. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
- Gibson, David (December 19, 2012). The Catholic takeover of the U.S. is almost complete. Commonweal. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
- Theodore G. Bilbo and the Decline ofPublic Racism, 1938-1947. Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
- To be precise, he's the head of the Church of Global Warming, that insists that man-made global warming is real, and you must give tithes to it.
- Johnson, Christopher J. E. (July 17, 2013). Wolves in Costume: Billy Graham. creationliberty.com. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
- Despite being raised Roman Catholic and claiming that Jesus was his inspiration, Hitler was only using Christianity to gain favor with the German people. His true beliefs were based off of his social darwinistic views.
- Hitler and Evolution. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
- John Baskette, Was Hitler a Christian?. Answers in Action. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
- Bergman, Jerry, Dr. (November 1, 1999). Darwinism and the Nazi Race Holocaust. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
- Hodge, Bodie (July 13, 2009). The Results of Evolution. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
- A rather radical Socialist from northern Alabama, founding member of the anti-Christian American Civil Liberties Union, and personal friend of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Most people know her, however, only from the inspirational film, The Miracle Worker, with Patty Duke.
- Barack Obama may be a special case. There is much evidence that he may be a Muslim who is practicing taqiyya, an Islamic custom which allows a Muslim to conceal his true religion if the adherent feels it would be beneficial to do so.
- The leader of radical hyper-Calvinist church that protests the funerals of soldiers killed on duty. Because of his indecent and Un-American, and utterly un-Christian nature of this activity, he would appear to be Christian in name only. He was once aligned with Al Gore politically.
- a liberal "Christian" and a New-Age-style occultist.