They are not speaking about holding to Christian beliefs because both men have stated scripture as the basis for what they believe. They are referring to whether or not the other is a"real Christian." So on and on we go.
Now let's be clear, I didn't vote for the current President and I've not yet decided who I will vote for in the next election. But I do have a question for the two politicians debating whether the other is a christian or not. I have the same question for ALL candidates from whatever political party they might come. Is any one of them a "real Christian"? How would I know? Is it indicated by what they say they believe? Is it even indicated by how they act?
Maybe only Democrats are really Christian...wait, I mean...Maybe only Republicans are really Christian. Goodness...how can ANYONE really tell whether ANYONE is a "real Christian" or not? Can someone profess Christ and really not possess Christ at all? How are we to know who it is that is professing Christ and yet, in actual fact, is a hypocrite in the doing of it? [Pretending]
It is interesting to me that the scriptures indicate that there are two qualities that will be found in any person who is declaring themselves to be a true believer. Those qualities are faith and love. The writer of Hebrews said,"Without faith it is impossible to please God," [Hebrews 11:6] But then Paul himself said that while faith would ultimately pass away, love never does. [1 Corinthians 13:8]
So love AND faith are present in a true believer. No matter what we say we believe or how much good we do, it is the presence of love and faith that indicates the validity or realness of a relationship with Christ. [We can discuss monergism vs. synergism later.]
But...and here is the rub...it is a certain KIND of love and faith. It is an "unfeigned" kind as described by the NT writers. In fact, in that 1 Timothy verse Paul tells Timothy it must be a "sincere" kind of faith. That word sincere is translated "unfeigned" in the KJV and Darby translation. "Unfeigned" would simply mean.. "non-hypocritical" faith or.. "real as opposed to pretended."
The same is true of love as Peter declares..."That you love one another with an unfeigned [there it is] love. [1 Peter 1:22] Remember, the word means "non-hypocritical" or "real as opposed to pretended" love.
It is quite significant, I would think, that both Apostles would write about both love and faith to different people at different times using the same word to qualify each, UNFEIGNED or NON-HYPOCRITICAL. If nothing else, this shows that you can PRETEND to be a person of love and a person of faith and not really possess those two qualities at all.
NOW we can understand WHY Paul wrote to the Corinthians these words, "Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts and each man's praise will come to him from God." [1 Corinthians 4:5 NASB]
So..it is obvious that ONLY Christ can know what's in a person's heart. And He WILL ultimately reveal whether a person's love and faith are real or are just pretended. I think it is safe to say in THAT day the truth about every politician's Christianity will be revealed. [Along with all the rest of us as well.]
Maybe the Politicians had better leave that kind of assessment to a different Person for a different time.
Maybe we ALL should.