I originally wrote the majority of this post two weeks ago, but now I see yesterday’s post about the Norway shooter as a decent segway into today.
Sometimes when I see an incredibly wealthy Christian at church who lives up on the hill and has a half million dollar home and more cars than I do extremities, I say a true Christian lives modestly and gives away what wealth they have.
Sometimes when I see a street preacher yelling about the “queers” or the abortionists I say a true Christian shouts love, not hate.
Sometimes when I see a Christian who is in the news for violence, I say a true Christian is a peacemaker who works toward reconciliation.
Almost everyone has an idea or seven about what it means to be a true Christian (as opposed to all of those out there who are in it for the free fair trade coffee on Sunday mornings or those who make the early trek Sunday mornings simply to appease their nagging mother). I find these “hey true Christians do (or don’t do) this or that” pronouncements problematic. The judgment and the labeling seem to be in direct conflict with a patient and graceful spirit.
This following Jesus thing has taught me some things I consider to be essentials, but just because not everyone is on that same page doesn’t mean they’re idolatrous or lost. Almost always when I decree someone or something to not be truly Christian, I am therefore elevating myself by saying that I am a true Christian. And that just doesn’t make any sense. I don’t have Christianity trademarked, nor embodied.
If I were to say this ironically, I would say that a true Christian knows to not declare what a true Christian believes or does. But that would defeat the entire purpose of this post. So I merely say that I’ve found that I can no longer declare who the real believers are or what a true Christian does. I have some ideas, and certain directions I think are worth following, but it is dangerous to declare them to be the very heart of Christianity.
What do you see as the dangers of declaring someone or something to be truly Christian? Do you even agree this is a dangerous thing?