who says you aren't a real Christian?

If Jesus were living in the world of today, would he be a ‘Christian’? By this I mean would he belong to a particular churchmanship? – one that requires that you sign up to something in order to belong. I don’t mean affirming your belief in the Creed. The Creed is a theological statement which brings together the basics of Christian doctrine while giving space for the mystery of them to shape how we believe and subsequently practise the Christian faith.

 

When someone asks you if you are a ‘Christian’, they are not inviting you to unpack the layers of theological insight and spiritual depth which the three versions of the creed contain. They usually want to know if you belong to a particular Christian group, or possibly a particular church. They may want to know if you have the ‘right’ answers to certain theological questions in order to qualify as a Christian. These questions pertain chiefly to the nature of the atonement act effected in Jesus Christ. They will ask you if you have accepted Jesus as your personal saviour. Both these questions are important but they are nobody’s business except yours in relation to Jesus himself.

 

To be a real Christian is to live in such a way that any word or action that proceeds from the person who thinks of themselves as a Christian embodies mercy. In other words, Christians are called to be channels of God’s love in the world. To be a Christian is to see the other person, not as someone to be ‘converted’, but as someone who is already known and loved by Jesus Christ, even though the person concerned may not be aware of this. Our job as Christians is to listen and learn from all whom we meet in order to love and serve them in the way Jesus loved and served while he was on earth. The work of a Christian consists in being Christ to others.

© 2013 Lorraine Cavanagh.  All rights reserved.

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