The world “Christian” has too much baggage to be of much use. I remember a person saying back in the 70s that if you were born in the U.S., you were either a Christian or Jew. To some, being a Christian means going to church or reading your Bible. To others, it simply means doing good.
But none of these describe what was originally meant by the word. The early Christians didnt have churches or Bibles, and you know what Jesus said about being good.
No, it is better to be called “followers of the Way.” That’s what the early Christians were first called. And of course Jesus is the way. By doing this, we eliminate all the liberal Christians who refuse to speak of Jesus and simply refer to God.
The issue also isn’t “what would Jesus do?” We should be so close to him that we don’t have to ask what He’d do; we just do it. I guess we are really best called Nike people who follow Jesus.
If the 21st century is more like the 1st century than the 20th century, and I believe it is, then we need to do what the Old Testament folks did. They always referred to the God of Abraham, Iasac, and Jacob. So we need to speak of the God of Jesus Christ. Those Christians who refuse to speak of Jesus are missing the entire point of Christianity.
I remember being dropped off at the airport by the pastor of a church I had just spent three days consulting with. Just as we got to the drop off, he said, “You’ve mentioned a personal relationship with Jesus Christ several times while you’ve been here. What do you mean by that?” The pastor was in his sixties and he’d never established a personal relationship with Jesus.
Since then I’ve met numerous mainline pastors (I’m mainline) who have this same understanding of Christianity. All I know is that it’s not my understanding. It’s time that we understand that Christianity is about God showing us his love through Jesus Christ. Anything less than that is not Christianity, but instead some watered-down version of an Oprah-ism.
It’s time for mainliners to belly up to the bar – we are “followers of the Way,” and the Way is Jesus. Anything less than that is not worth giving one’s life for.
Question: What are some practical ways you choose to live as not merely a Christian, but as a true follower of the Way of Jesus? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.