What is a RINO? Not a rhino, but a RINO. RINO is a political term that I heard several years ago. It is an acronym for “Republicans In Name Only”. (Don’t worry, this article has nothing to do with politics. This is just setting up the illustration.) It is a derogatory term meant to chide those who run for office as Republican so that they can be elected, but they are not “true” republicans; that is, they really don’t share the same values and interests. They are “fake republicans”; wearing the name, but the name only.
So what is a “DINO”? A “Democrat In Name Only”? Yes, that acronym holds true as well. But for the purposes of this article the acronym stands for “Disciples In Name Only”. Are you a DINO? I sure hope not. Do you know any DINO’s? I’m sure you do. A “Disciple In Name Only” is someone who professes to be a Disciple of Jesus Christ with their words, but really by their actions they prove they are not a “true” disciple.
There would be many DINO’s who would read that very sentence and be offended by it. “Who are you to judge my discipleship? To judge its validity and authenticity?”, they might declare reflexively. Many would bristle at the idea of there being “true” disciples and “fake” disciples. And of course, I want to be clear, I am not judging anyone, I’m just communicating the observations. The point is for us to judge ourselves according to the word of God before we stand in judgement before God and are judged for all of eternity. (Revelation 20:12-15)
The truth is, Jesus teaches about “true” discipleship. It’s not something that I, or anyone else, made up. “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’"
(John 8:31-32) Jesus clearly says that disciples are not just those who believe in Him, but those who abide (that is to say “continually live in”) His word! If you are not abiding in the words of Jesus, then you are a DINO.
This truth of discipleship is a consistent theme of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) Who would call Jesus Lord? This signifies/implies a disciple is calling Him that. A “true” disciple both calls Jesus Lord and does what He says. A DINO may call Jesus Lord, but does not do what He says. That goes for both becoming a disciple and being a disciple.
Jesus said to His apostles, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20) Jesus, the Lord, says make disciples baptizing in the name of God. But many people today don’t follow that teaching. They do not do what Jesus says to become a disciple. They may do what their priest says, or their preacher says, or their pastor, or family member, or friend; but if what they are taught is not the same as what Jesus said, then how can they be a “true disciple” (follower) of Jesus? The true gospel makes true disciples. Any other gospel (which automatically makes it a false gospel—Galatians 1:6-9)) makes DINO’s.
Likewise, in living as a Christian (which the term “Christian” originated from being a disciple of Jesus (Acts 11:26)) we must also continue to do what Jesus says. We must continue to obey the word of God. Sometimes people are baptized as Jesus said but they don’t live as disciples as Jesus taught; by loving God (Mark 12:30), loving their neighbor (Mark 12:30), worshipping as they should, living as lights of purity and goodness as they should. (II John 4-6) These are not true disciples, they are DINO’s.
Sometimes people are DINO’s when it comes to parenting by professing to be Disciples, but not diligently bringing their children up in the Lord as they should. (Ephesians 6:4) Sometimes children are DINO’s in that they obeyed the gospel but then they don’t obey their parents as is taught in the scriptures. (Ephesians 6:1-3) Sometimes men are DINO’s when they profess Christ but they don’t love their wives as Christ loved the church and they don’t provide for their families as they should. (Ephesians 5:25; I Timothy 5:8) Sometimes women are DINO’s when they don’t respect their husbands and submit to them as the church does to Christ. (Ephesians 5:22-24) Sometimes we are DINO’s when we aren’t the employer’s/employee’s of honesty and integrity that we should be. (Ephesians 6:5-9) Just “going to church” doesn’t make you a “true disciple”. Living as one does.
So you see, it’s not about sharing/wearing the same title of Jesus the Christ as a Christian; it’s about sharing/wearing the same values and interests. True disciples put on Christ more than in “name only”. They put on Christ in obedient faith of baptism (Galatians 6:26-28) and a continued obedient faith of living the values of Christ in your life. (John 8:31) Be a “True Disciple”!