What Is A Christian?
This is a follow up to my recent post “Not Ashamed.”
In that post, I was simply responding to the ways conservatives in general and the Republican Party in specific has twisted the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When people wrongly use the gospel for their own political or personal agenda, I find it as a serious Jesus follower to point it out and call people to following Jesus of the bible. When we make Jesus, God, the gospel, or the Kingdom of God into our image, liberal or conservative than we are worshiping and following our own agenda and preferences, I do this at times, and force myself to look deeper at the text. I don’t find conservatives doing this, at least in general. I have a few conservative friends who are true Jesus followers and want to live as the bible tells us we should live. I think we need to dialogue with one another, learn from one another and be open to others views and ways of following Jesus. That is of course one of the reasons we need to be in community with other Jesus followers.
I am not apologizing for what I wrote, if anything I am re-affirming it.
Yet, there is more to look at, to wrestle with, and understand. My pastor helped me see this greater perspective. I thank him for it. He is always pushing and prodding me trying to get me to wrestle and question more than I do.
In a response to my post “Not Ashamed”, he wrote:
For example, in your article are you saying that anyone serving in the military is not “being Christian?” What about someone who is convinced that an abortion doctor is killing babies? Would that not put the doctor in the same boat as others “doing violence?” Shouldn’t as a Christian we stand up to folks we believe are practicing evil? I was left wondering… we’ve both talked about not liking when social conservatives make their “political agenda” speak for God…. but in this article are you making some of your “social liberal beliefs” part of what it means to be Christian? I only ask because it is something I wrestle with all the time myself! Is this “thing” or “that thing” what all Christian should do…. or is just what I want all Christian to do! Just food for thought!!
I spoke with him in person about this and I would now like to post my response to him.
I was not trying to call those who serve in the military as not Christians. Yet, we must look at the biblical evidence when it comes to war. Is war a why a Christian should behave? War is not a good thing and I don’t think God wants us to act in those whys. However, I would not deny anyone’s Christian commitment just because they were serving in the military. I thank them for their service. I pray for a time when we don’t need or want to go to war. We need to understand that sometimes war is necessary. I was happy when I heard we found and dealt with Osama Bin Laden. I am happy and thankful that we have men and women willing to protect our nation, yet I must question if all of our recent military actions were necessary. If I offended anyone who served or their family members than I am sorry. I am not questions are military men and women who claim Jesus as Lord and savior. I am questioning if war is always necessary and the way we should interact with our international neighbors.
I have not formulated my thoughts on abortion, though I would prefer we leave it in the mothers hands. I think it is better to offer abortion than not, because if someone wants an abortion badly enough they would get it one way or another. I am against murder. I don’t see how killing a doctor who provides abortion can help restrict abortion. There may be reasons to murder someone. Bonheoffer made a decision to kill Hitler and who knows how may would’ve been saved had he completed his action. Yet, I would not put a doctor in the same category with Hitler. Bin laden, yes, not a doctor.
Yes, we should stand up to evil. Doing more evil to get rid of evil will do nothing but create more evil.
We need to understand more deeply and live out that understanding of this verse from Matthew 5: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ However, I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
I think some of the things I write are things I want more than what the bible text says, but also maybe not. I would agree that I do need to question, wrestle, and look deeper at what the bible says and not let my thinking impinge too much. I do take my relationship with God seriously and want to learn how to follow Jesus. I do not just want a ticket to heaven I want my life to be transformed by my Christian commitment. There may be things that not all Christians need to do, but taking care of the poor, needy, and hurting is something everyone should do. Over 2,000 verses in the bible that say this, however I should not merely point fingers at others saying do this while I read books and write down my thoughts. I need to act more, to live my faith and not just talk about.
I am that purple marble in the bag of black and whites.
I am a liberal, but I don’t see God as a mere cosmic principle and take the bible seriously (not literally).
I am an Evangelical, but I don’t think God hates gays, or excludes anyone from His unlimited and limitless grace and love.
I am a Christian, but I am not close-minded or anti-scientific.
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