Categories Menu

Posted by on Oct 4, 2015 in About Blackacre, Faith, Leadership, Love, Religion | 20 comments

Guest Blog, “I Am a Christian …. Now What?”

Forward

Last week we posted an essay entitled, “The Heathen in Search of God”. The post produced its fair share of comments, one of which is the following article from Reverend Betty Anderson, a good friend and loyal member of the Blackacre family. Having found her God long ago, Reverend Anderson is a strong Christian. Her post however, is not directed at Heathens or even marginal believers. It instead aimed squarely at those who have found their faith, specifically Christians.

We advocate no particular religious point of view. Let each man search for and find the Divine as he sees fit. Moreover, we struggled with whether to make editorial changes to the Anderson essay. But in the end, we decided against it. These are Reverend Anderson’s words that express her heart. As such, they need no editing, interpretation and/or filter. So without further adieu, we present the guest essay, “I’m A Christian…………Now What?”

Essay

“Many people who do not believe and trust in Jesus Christ consider themselves Christians simply because they go to church. But going to church, serving those less fortunate than you, or being a good person does not make you a Christian. The term “Christian” is a title that was originally given to us by the world, maybe this is the reason we have so many worldly Christians.

There are many, many professing Christians in every Church whose union with Christ is only outward. An appropriate name that might be given to this group of church members is “pew-fillers. Some of these pew-filler Christians are joined to the church and Christ by baptism and Church membership. Some of them go even further than this, and are regular communicants who are willing to get into heated discussions about denominations, and rules, and “God said”.

These “Christians” have no problem being loud talkers about religion because they are worldly. Pew-filler Christians all lack what is needful to be a true Christian – although they attend services, and listen to the sermons, although they partake of the sacrament – they need grace in their hearts, they need faith, they need the inward work of the Holy Spirit. Pew-fillers give Christianity a bad name because they are worldly people who are willing to compromise their already weak Christian values to be accepted both in the world and in the church. These are willing to say, “That’s the way the world is going so we might as well accept it”.

One major problem with “pew-fillers” is they bring a lot of focus to themselves and this give those who are seeking charges against church fellowship to use “hypocrite” as a title for Christians and it also gives them another weapon of justification for their criticism of church fellowship.

#church

Being a Christian is about what God has done for us, not what we do for Him; Being a Christian is loving someone as they are and not as they ought to be; Being a Christian is something that God does inside of you not just something you worked up through religious observance and compliance with church doctrine. Where there is no fruit of the Spirit to be seen, there is no vital religion in the heart.

There is a wide difference between believers and believers. In some things they are all alike. All feel their sins; all trust in Christ; all repent and strive to be holy. All have grace, and faith, and new hearts. But they differ widely in the degree of their attainments. Also, a lot of people who call themselves Christian are just mean, mad, and messed-up people with a little religious flavor thrown in for good measure, and, there are many mean people who call themselves Christians.

There are no good excuses for Christians’ bad behavior. We all misbehave from time to time. We all make mistakes and use poor judgment. We speak harshly to others. It happens. When we do it, we need to actually say, “I’m sorry.” However, too often we hear excuses that Christians use for bad behavior. One of the biggest excuses for Christians’ bad behavior is the idea that God forgives our sins.

It takes courage to stand out and be peculiar people for God. The term “Christian” is a title that was originally given to us by the world. In the rigors of different cultures and religions, the followers of Jesus were so distinct that they received a new name – Christians Of course, they meant it in a derogatory sense because they thought the people were odd balls because they were so wrapped up in Jesus. Believers were “called Christians first in Antioch.” These believers spoke so frequently and affectionately of Christ that the world coined the term Christ-ians. Acts 11:26. 1 Peter 2:29 reminds Christians, But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. We have a special, unique calling from God to do good works.

“Where there is no fruit of the Spirit to be seen, there is no vital religion in the heart. The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus will always make Himself known in the daily conduct of those in whom He dwells. The Master Himself declares, “Every tree is known by his own fruit.” (Luke 6:44.) . Fruit is used to describe the best aspects of the Spirit a Godly character. In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul lists out the fruit of Godly character: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. —James 2:19. Some people may need to rethink – am I a believer or a Christian wantabe. Christians is so sweeping that it includes both believers and religious unbelievers. While a true believer is a Christian, one who calls himself a Christian may not necessarily be saved.

Master-of-Arts-in-Religion---Christian-Leadership

True Christians should always be mindful of what they do and say in the at all times, after all, we live in a small world and Christians are observed by both other Christians, unsaved Christians, and many unbelievers. Remember that for many unbelievers, the only time they encounter Jesus is when they seem Him represented in Christians. Therefore, the Christian should live his life lovingly, from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith (1 Tim. 1:5).”

Respectfully,

Leo Barron Hicks, Founder and CEO
Blackacre Policy Forum
www.blackacrepolicyforum.org

20 Comments

  1. 421135 860895I like this site so much, saved to favorites . 212966

    • Thanks.

  2. “pew-fillers” are also “pocket-fillers”.
    i.e. they fill the pockets of head church staff with monetary donations. Without them, those pockets would not be filled, nor would the buildings they meet in, be paid for.

    I once attended a church in small town Texas community where the pastor had a regular job roofing.

    There are also those churches who meet in people’s homes or in building rooms they rent on Sunday.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all the monetary contributions Christians donated went to pay for outreach to those in need in their own Body of believers and to those less fortunate in the world, instead of to paying salaries and filling the pockets of head church staff and paying for loans on church buildings.

    • Absolutely. This is what I call faith in action.

  3. You have addressed the problematic issue in determining the validity of the statement, “I am a Christian”, in a most eloquent way. These “worldly Christians” you speak of have become the public face of Christianity. Many people have left the Church and opted to live a spiritual existence in lieu of being surrounded by hypocrites and, for the un-churched, they are poster children for why not to be a Christian.

    • I will relay your comments to the guest blogger.

    • I prefer the term, “Follower of the WAY”.
      Jesus is the WAY.
      That was what Christians were originally called.
      Saul/Paul (not one of the 12 Apostles i.e. Original 11 plus Matthias who replaced Judas) called it Christianity at Antioch.

    • You know that I make no pretense at understanding Christian theology. So I will accept your representations of the word.

    • I respect your preference to refer to Jesus in the manner of his early followers but I don’t think the nomenclature makes a difference in the point I was attempting to make.It is not about the name; “…that which is called a rose would smell just as sweet by any other name”(Shakespeare).My concern was and is contained in Dr.Anderson’s title,”I Am a Christian Now What”. Over the centuries, those followers of “The Way” that morphed into “Christians” seem to be lost at the “Now What” part. Maybe it is time for those followers who know “Now What” to come to the forefront and present the face of the Jesus who represented love, kindness, forgiveness,healing and tolerance with all glory being given to God.

    • Yes, yes, yes. It is not about a particular name or faith. God has no religion and not even Jesus was a Christian.

      It is the message of Jesus, i.e., love, forgiveness and redemption that is important. I just wish others would get it as have you.

    • It seems I have encountered a kindred spirit, Mr. Hicks, as I wander in my time. I too wish there were more of us; so many of the world’s problems would be easily resolved.It is neither naïveté nor cliché to say the world would be a better place if people jetisoned the doctrine and pomp and circumstance, and practiced the principles Jesus expoused.

    • Absolutely. Love is the core message of Jesus. Why do yo think so many who profess to follow him miss this central point?

    • I don’t know if there is a definitive answer to that question,Mr.Hicks.One reason is that the message of love is much too simple for those who want to set themselves apart as special.If others want to be a part of this special world, they must follow a complex formula or be rejected. In western culture we are conditioned to believe that we must work hard and pay a price for whatever we want to attain or achieve. That concept is present in our belief system also. The most important part left out is that we must also work smart. Salvation is free. John 3:16 confirms our redemption. The biblical and historical Jesus taught a message of love and tolerance . ” God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world,but that the world through him might be saved “(John3:17).That is ultimate love. The concept is too simple; they didn’t work for it so they complicate it and the message of love is missed

    • Interesting analysis. I agree with your comments regarding the desire to be unique but had not considered the simplicity of God’s message as being the reason some do not heed said message.

      Query me this however. Is the real problem that some Christians are fans of Jesus akin to being a fan of Beyonce, while not being followers of Jesus?

    • A fan as opposed to a follower; an interesting,even amusing theory, Mr. Hicks. Many of today’s “Christians” do fit the criterion of a fan. They go everywhere they think he will be (except inside their own existence), they quote him, and speak of him as if they know him. Unlike the “Jesus freaks” of the early 1970s who testified on the street about the love of Jesus and how it relates to us all, these neo-Christians seem to have developed a cult of personality around him.Jesus would not approve. Maybe it is the Church’s duty to lead these fans into becoming followers at whatever cost.

    • I agree as to the duty of the church. However the church is in large part responsible for the fan versus follower conundrum. Far too many church leaders are themselves fans rather than followers. How many of the wealthy pastors would give up their expensive homes, fancy cars and fine clothes and follow the Jesus example of poverty and service?

      I await your comment and invite others to weigh in. And if you would like to submit an essay, I will happily publish it with full attribution.

  4. Christianity is not about religion, conduct, nor good deeds. It’s all about a relationship with Jesus Christ. The apostle John expressed it quite well in 1 John 1 : 1-4, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our[a] joy may be complete.”

    • Thanks for your feedback. But tell me, can you intentionally do evil and still be in good standing with Jesus?

  5. What a blessed dialogue. This is good. Thank you Rev. Anderson. Thank you Mr. Hicks.

    • Always. We are still waiting for your essay.

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *