Answering The Question: What Is A Christian?

Pope Francis will soon institute the formal 'ministry of catechist' |  America Magazine

We were really enjoying ourselves. It was a Sunday evening and we were with four other couples in the one couple’s home. Refreshments were being served, and the prattle at the moment was about matters of the Christian faith. Everyone was a member of the same church we had recently started attending. This was called a Small Group or Cell Group within the Church. It is the modern answer to the old fashioned Sunday Night church service. Neither my wife nor I was the leader of this group, and in fact we were the “honored” guests that evening. As stated, we were new to this church, but I was known because of my book, and articles, and also because I was teaching in a local denominational seminary at the time.

As I remember, while the topic was about the Christian christian mysticism faith, it was centered on a missionary trip to Haiti that several couples were going to take. At one point in the all the talking, someone said, “I would like to hear our guest’s explanation of, what is a real Christian”. Okay, now I know why we were invited, because that won’t be my last question for the evening. Questions are like potato chips, you can’t have just one. Here is what I told them…

CHRISTIANITY

The reason why the world does not come to Christ, is not because of Christ or His teachings, but because of those who are called Christian. Now wait… I know how hard that sounds to most Christian’s ears, but the title is not a distinction between other religions, such as declaring you’re not a Muslim, Hindu, or an Atheist etc. therefore I say I am a Christian. It is rather a title of peculiarity that bears both an honor and a burden before God and humanity. It must never be used lightly, as we often hear it being used, especially among politicians. In the biblical age, the term Christian was never used without restraint and you will only find the title three times in the New Testament.

The term originated in the country of Turkey, as the citizens of Antioch saw how differently these followers of the teachings of Christ lived and died. The title Christian literally meant, to be Christ like-a resemblance of Christ Himself. As you see me, you see Christ. In the world, that meaning has never truly disappeared, and that is why so many are turned-off by those calling themselves Christian. In an ordinary sense it declares a person to be a believer in and follower of the Person and teachings of Jesus the Christ.

Prior to the term Christian, people who believed in and followed Christ as a Church were known as the “people of the Nazarene sect” (Ac 24:5), or more so, those who “belonged to the Way” (Ac 9:2; 19:9, 23;22:4; 24:22).

“Okay,” (potato chip number two), someone said, “if a Christian is someone who believes in and follows Christ, what does it really mean to be a follower of Christ?”

A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST

Actually, this is rather an easy question, because Christ answered this one Himself. Because they were a church Small Group, they had their Bibles with them, I asked them to turn to Matthew 16:24. Because I’m betting you don’t have a bible immediately in your hand, let me quote this one verse to you: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me'”.

This is Christ’s call to discipleship. The first fact I want to point to is no one is forcing anyone to be a follower of Christ (Christian). He said “If anyone wishes…” implying we freely choose to side with Him. Go your way if you wish, because Christ only wants those who have an honest desire to be followers of Him. Freewill always contains a calling by the Spirit of God, but the acceptance is totally ours to make.

 

Answering The Question: What Is A Christian?
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