I think most of us had heard that title, in one form or another, at some point in our lives. I know that I, myself, used it as a mantra whenever anyone asked me what my own beliefs about Christ were; it was a convenient (and effective) foil with which to shut down further uncomfortable discussion on the subject. Now that I’m a committed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I tend to be more keenly aware of it being on the minds of unbelievers, if simply for the fact that for twenty years it was almost a motto.
Now, far be it for me to tell other Christians how to act—I am among the worst possible examples of what a “good Christian” should be, I’m sure. In addition to the pet sins that plague us all, I am still beset by bad behaviors, poor impulse control, bad manners and a general disdain for people who are rude for rudeness’ sake. I’m not willing to start digging at the speck in your eye with a garden trowel, when there’s a lumberjack planking wood in my own. But I do hope to raise a few questions that all of us can apply to our own lives and, if it turns out that we are falling short in some department, find answers that will help us on the road to self-correction.
Before we get too much further, and this being my first time out with this forum, it would probably be helpful if I defined a few things, first. Right off the bat, let’s start with the word, “Christian.” When I say that a man is a “Christian,” I mean that that person has had a transformative salvation experience in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am not going to be specific about denominations; those kinds of questions are best left to folks with a more thorough familiarity with theology and doctrine, than myself. For the most part, I think it is safe to say that most denominations, at their core, share the same beliefs and love for Jesus, if their methods of practicing that love vary somewhat (and occasionally a great deal). I will, of course, be rejecting the view that groups such as the Jehovah’s Witness, Mormons, et cetera are Christians, as well as any other “denomination” which rejects the deity of Christ or the Triune nature of the true God. This will be the standard across all of my remarks on the topic, and any time I use the term, “Christian.”
I will also not be using the term in the modern, politically-correct sense of one who attends church, gives to the plate every once in a while and claims the title because they are “trying” to live a good life. If one were to accept those terms, roughly ¾ of the United States would be practicing Christians, and 85% of those people would be going to Heaven when they die. All one has to do is turn on the television for ten minutes, to see the lie in that. Nor will I be excluding from its use, those who are in fact, “saved,” but do not act in accordance with the teachings of Christ and the apostles. As C.S. Lewis stated:
“There is no question of [the term, Christianity] being restricted to those who profited by [the teaching of the apostles] as much as they should have. There is no question of its being extended to those who in some refined, spiritual, inward fashion were “far closer to the spirit of Christ” than the less satisfactory of the disciples. The point is not a theological, or a moral one. It is only a matter of using words so that we can all understand what is being said. When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say that he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.”
(Mere Christianity, pref. p. 11)
So, while “Christianity” and “Christian” have practically become synonymous with “bigot,” “intolerance” and “hypocrite” to most of our society (which is ironic, given the number of people that insists on their heavenly aspirations), I will be using the term unashamedly in this forum, if only because it is the best word available to describe… well, us.
Finally, while the first several submissions that I make will concern what it means to be and act like a Christian (or, more accurately, what I believe to be appropriate, and what I, myself, aspire to), this will not be an ongoing series about what we are all doing wrong in our walk with the Lord. The purpose of this series is to invite discussion amongst the members of our church family, to exhort, encourage and hold each other accountable, and to learn from one another, as well as to stimulate the kinds of questions that we can bring to our church leadership in order to stimulate and further our growth in what the early Christians called, “The Way.” As we get further along, I hope that others will see fit to present articles of their own, on various subjects, and I will be presenting articles on things such as historical perspectives of certain books and events in the Bible, various views on certain biblical events and personalities, and Christian apologetics. In other words, this blog will be like a box of chocolates…
… you’ll never know what you’re gonna get.