What does it mean to be a Christian?
I believe we have been lied to. Those of us that have grown up in a secular world know that there are some wild misconceptions about Christianity. The atheists and agnostics that I have now know do little to convince me otherwise. If I had to believe in their perception of god I would be an agnostic or atheist too!
I would like to highlight some areas that I think would be helpful to those on the outside looking in.
Christians Aren’t Perfect People.
Before I was a Christian I was an idolater, fornicator, liar, thief, a glutton and filled with pride and laziness.
Then God saved me.
And believe or not, I am still dealing with those things.
Sure, by Gods grace I am redeemed.By His power I am working through it all, but I am still a sinner just like everyone else. It isn’t anything that I do, it is God alone that makes me righteous. It’s all about Jesus.
All too often we Christians –intentionally or unintentionally –put out the idea that we are perfect, or that we don't accept imperfect people. We try to show people a better way but we make it sound like we no longer fall short of the glory of God.
Non believers can take it one of two ways and neither is good. 1.They believe us and think that they have to get their stuff together to be acceptable to Christ. 2.They don't believe us
because they can plainly see we are lying. As Christians, we need to articulate better the fact that we are just as broken as anyone else.
God saves us in spite of our sinfulness. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Let's not unintentionally (or intentionally) perpetuate the myth that we have to work for our salvation, or that there is a specific set of secondary doctrinal beliefs that need to be adhered to.
Christians Don’t Have To Believe Everything They Are Told.
Being a Christian does not mean that you must stop thinking for yourself. It doesn't mean we should stop asking the hard questions either.
Ecclesia semper reformanda estis a Latin term used during the split from the Roman Catholic church. It means "The church is always to be reformed". I think we would do well to live by this phrase and not assume that we have arrived, theologically speaking.
Christianity is not antiintellectual, we do not have to believe that faith and reason are mutually exclusive. To be a true follower you do not have to adhere to young earth creationism, or believe in eternal conscious torment, etc. You may chose to believe those doctrines but it is not a fundamental of the faith.
If we are being true to our search for truth absolutely nothing is beyond scrutiny, and that's not a bad thing. Christians can be skeptics too.
Too often being a Christian becomes more about what we are against rather than what we are for, but that's not right. Christianity does not mean you have to fall in line with neofundamentalist conservative Christianity (or anything else besides, as Paul says, Christ and Him crucified).
The Bottom Line. Jesus.
Jesus is the only fundamental element of the faith. We should look to Him for examples of faith and practice. Do not let anyone tell you that there is more to Christianity than Christ. I am willing to be open to many doctrines, but, the centrality of Christ alone to Christianity is something that I cannot deny.
The world wants a Christianity that we have to earn but that isn't the case, this truly is the scandal of grace. We humans are unworthy but made worthy in Christ. We are not made worthy by our own actions or the opinions of others. We are not saved because we know absolute truth. We are not redeemed because we have proper doctrine. Our knowledge does not sanctify us. Being a Christian doesn't necessarily make us better people.
What Do You Think Being A Christian Means?
I am curious to know what you think defines Christianity. What is it that people mean when they say “I am a Christian”. Leave a comment.
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