Monday, February 12, 2007

"I'm a Christian"...Does It Matter?

Maybe I am more naive than I thought. Many will read this and say, "You should have known better." I'll admit... I do take people for their word and often get burned. For me, when someone says they are a Christian, I assume they mean what they say. And in fact, they probably do mean what they say...they just don't know what it means. In our culture today, the term "christian" can be attached to so many things, many of which have nothing in common with the identification of a follower of Christ - God incarnate.
Christian Science has it in their name yet they openly confess that Jesus is not the Messiah and is not one with God. When interviewed, Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism), said: "We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we are not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ." Jehovah's Witnesses claim to be Christian and yet teach that Jesus is not The God, Yahweh, but "a" god. They will go as far as to say that the modern translation of the Bible is inaccurate because they (the translators) left out important participles as in John 1:1 where the inspired Apostle writes, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." No, they should say, "...the Word was a god." One letter makes all the difference in the world.
More practically, I recently interviewed a candidate for a job who came with glowing references. They spoke openly about the "strong faith" and "integrity" of this individual based on their "unwavering Christian values". I wanted to hire this person on the spot. They said all the right things and looked impressive from every angle. Yet the decision was not mine and those who made the final decision chose someone else. The wrong person in my opinion! But because of this persons confession as a Christian, I found them a job somewhere else. Only to learn that 2 days after the hire, this individual walked in and quit. No notice, no warning! Her husband got a transfer (supposedly). So much for "integrity" and "unwavering Christian values".
Another employee, also a professing Christian, is living with the father of her child and is trying to decide whether to get married or not. She too made an unexpected job change because she has been praying about it and feels like "God is leading her" to this new job in order to protect her family in case her relationship "doesn't work out."
Stop! Just Quit! I've had enough! When we are proclaiming the name of Christ and walk in a manner inconsistent with what we are saying, we are a liar and the truth is not in us!

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 Jn 1:6)

The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1 Jn 2:4)

Now, I understand we all make mistakes. That is why the author of 1 John follows these warnings with the promise, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
But for Christs sake (literally), don't walk in sin, and then claim that God is hearing your prayer, ignoring your sin and leading you in a path of continued unrighteousness. To walk in sin and proclaim God's leading in your life without a change in direction is incompatible with the truth of Scripture. To use the name of Christ to pad the resume with no evidence of living as the name suggests is blasphemy.

"We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us. (2 Cor 5:20)

Isn't it sad...the name Christian has absolutely no value today. You can't trust it. It means too many different things, and so many have nothing to do with the Christ of the Bible or those who choose to follow Him.
Isn't it sad...that we hesitate to be known as a Christian because so many people have corrupted what the name means that we don't even want to be associated with such a defiled title.
Isn't it sad...that the open denial of Christ continues today just as it did with the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Those who claim to know God are often the ones who discredit Him most.
Maybe I am naive, but this all hurts me deeply.

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