This last summer, I’ve had one major thought: where have all the Christians gone? This led me to the next question: What really is a Christian?
This is the common definition people use; a Christian is someone who follows the teachings of the Bible. Well, I scrapped that definition, because, on a technicality, Jewish people will follow the Torah and their texts, and some of that is in the Bible, so I don’t know that this definition is really accurate. How about Christians are people who believe in God? Well, I don’t know that this one is good, either – a lot of people will believe in God, and the argument could be that “we all worship the same God with different names.” Well, that’s a false assumption, so I think this idea goes into the scrap pile.
So, what is a Christian? Well, I don’t know that I have the full answer, but here are my thoughts. First, we break down the word Christian into Christ -ian. I have found that in the group we call Christians, the major breaking point will be who they believe Jesus is.
If He was just a man, a good prophet, or didn’t exist, then I’d have to say people who state that are not Christians. If they call themselves Christians, they are saying they associate themselves with Christ, but if they deny His deity, they are basically saying, “I follow a crazy man who said he was god.”
Jesus clearly stated multiple times, “I am one with the Father,” “I am the I am,” and various other phrases that, through Jewish belief, cause Him to be God (which is why the Jewish culture of the day didn’t, and for the most part today, will not accept him as their messiah). So, bottom line, and the basis for declaring yourself a Christian is to say you believe Jesus is who He said He was, that being God in the flesh. When people deny this, the Bible says it’s because of the spirit of anti-christ. This doesn’t mean the person who denys Jesus is Satan, but they are in the same frame of mind in their denial. Check out 1 John 4:3
But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now.
I’ve heard some strange claims from people. They have said, “My parents and I go to church, therefore we are Christians,” but as the old saying is, standing in a garage does not make you a car. To people who claim to be Christians, my first question is, who was Jesus. If they deny Him, I have to assume they are not Christians.
The next component is asking what they think of the Bible. If, to these people, the Bible is not true, then they will almost certainly discredit Jesus’ work, and thus, there will be a division. Doesn’t the Bible say, in Hebrews 4:12,
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart.
Another oddity I’ve came across is the generalization of the North American culture. By this, I mean that people from different countries will just assume, because we are North American (or just white, for that matter), we must be Christians. This fails on these assumptions.
- Assumes that anglo-saxons originated Christianity
- North America is uniform in it’s beliefs
The worst part is that people will accept this notion. First, Christianity was started, excluded Connections with God, the Old Testament people and Jesus, by 11 uneducated Jewish Fishermen. They, like Jesus, were not anglo-saxon, but people seem to visuallize them that way. Unfortunately, through some disappointing history, Christians became known as being anglo-saxon, controlling people. This will have to be another post, because I may end up writing for a long time about this.
Secondly, North America is diverse and a melting pot, and through this course, Christianity has become a MINORITY. As you read above, ask your Christian friends if they believe Jesus was God, and that the entire Bible has been inspired by the Spirit of God and is true cover to cover. I can assure you the number of people that agree to both with be substantially less than what you think. So, being anglo-saxon or North American does not make you Christian.
Now, with this in mind, if you’re reading this, and your heart is convicted of living a false life, declaring Christianity and denying God, but you want to make it right, call out to God. Converse with Him, and ask Him to reside with you, and to grow you. God is in love with you, and wants to have a relationship with you – when you look in Genesis, we read we are made in God’s image – interpret that as you will, but I see that as we are built to be in relationship with Him. It is just a like a father wanting a relationship with his child. If the child, even knowing that the father provided their life, support and love, and the child leaves without a loving relationship, it is painful.
People are obsessed with a “sinner’s prayer,” and I am not. Cry out to God for Him to come to you, and He will touch your life. Confess your sin to Him, and, if you have done wrong to someone and you are able to make ammends with that person, go to them and give them testimony of God changing your life.
Don’t worry about what other people are doing, but encourage them in what is right. Christians are so bound up in rules and regulations, but I say that we were all in sin, and our lives haven’t and won’t always reflect God, but God is in the process of working on you.
I hope this finds people well, and do comment if you have any question or concern about what a Christian is.
Take care, and God bless,