It is interesting that you say your definition is for non-Christians and mine is more for Christians. I don’t see it that way. When Jesus called his disciples, he said, “Follow me.” At what point did they become Christians? When I converse with unbelievers about Christianity, I don’t reduce it to mere mental belief and spoken profession. I don’t lay out the four spiritual laws and try to save them. I always frame it in terms of following Christ.
In other words, I don’t just accept Him as someone who has the power to save me, but also as the smartest teacher who ever walked the face of this earth. Therefore, to be a Christ-one (Christian) is to demonstrate belief in all of what he said and did by striving to live according to his teachings. It is a belief that Jesus actually knew what He was talking about.
I have often found that non-Christians find this type of faith more interesting and attractive than a faith that is professed but not lived. You know the whole hypocrisy thing. Unfortunately many unbelievers see no need to believe in Christ because they see very little positive effect on His so-called followers. I think many non-Christians feel that it is the Christians who need to be saved.
Many unbelievers see no need to believe in Christ because they see very littleChristianity seems detached from the earthly demonstration of its founder. If evangelicals talk so much about salvation by grace alone through faith, why then are we often so critical of those who fail to live up to being “Christian?” Why is it that we can tend to be so judgmental? We often sound more like Pharisees, who by the way, definitely did not believe in salvation by grace.
positive effect on His so-called followers.
If a person merely needs to believe, why is it that when someone “believes” we tack on all kinds of other requirements later on? I guess we fail to inform people of the fine print. It seems sort of like a bait and switch. I tend to think the gospel is more attractive to people when they see it in action. That is why God invented the Church. It is so that when we proclaim the good news we can point to something and say, “Look there it is.”
Can we point to our churches and say that? In the early church, there was a definite display of good works and God added to their number DAILY those who believed. So faith without works truly is dead and I might add, like dead things, stiff, stinky, and very repulsive to non-Christians.
Think I'm starting to come around to what Brooke's saying when he explains, "I always frame it in terms of following Christ."
I don't want to discount the importance of emphasizing the deity of Christ. Without this, it makes following Christ no different than following any other human teacher.
By the same token, who he is makes what he said just as important. Jesus could have come to earth, said, "I'm the Son of God," and then never uttered another word. There must have been a reason he spoke and taught and acted so.
Thanks, Brooke, for offering some good food for thought.