Different Christianity Different Fruit, Part 2

Different Christianity Different Fruit, Part 2 April 24, 2024


As we continue our consideration of how different expressions of Christianity produce different fruit in our lives and society, the metaphor used in this week’s “I am” saying is a metaphor of plants, vines, canes, branches. The message is that beliefs held, ethics subscribed to, and values embraced intrinsically produce fruit in our lives. We’re called to asses whether the fruit being born out of these beliefs, ethics, and values is life-giving or death-dealing fruit.

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(Read this series from its beginning here.)

And this imagery is not unique to John’s gospel. It’s found in the synoptics as well. Consider the following examples:

The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10; cf. Luke 3:9)

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8; cf. Luke 3:8)

Notice that these pssages discuss the nature of the fruit. The kind of fruit we are producing or what we are believing is producing is telling. Our fruit reveals the quality of whatever we are holding onto that produces that type of fruit. This is the litmus test offered in the synoptics. The test of whether something is good is not how many Bible verses prove it or even whether it’s Biblical at all. The test is what kind of fruit it’s producing in your life. In other words, what kind of human are your ethical beliefs shaping you into?

Consider how the gospels teach this point:

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew 7:16-20)

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. (Luke 6:43-44)

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33)

Textual gymnastics can show almost anything to be Biblical. But we have to ask whether our interpretations produce fruit that is healing, liberating, and life-giving.

I live in Appalachia. We have different kinds of Christianity here in these hollers. I’m sure this is true of other areas, too. We’ll consider a couple of those different expressions of Christianity and the fruit they often produce, next.

(Read Part 3)


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About Herb Montgomery
Herb Montgomery, director of Renewed Heart Ministries, is an author and adult religious re-educator helping Christians explore the intersection of their faith with love, compassion, action, and societal justice. You can read more about the author here.

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