Have you ever wondered about labels that get applied to groups of people? In the political arena we refer to “conservatives” versus “liberals.” To this mix, we also add “libertarian.” In the past these have been considered purely political terms, but more and more people are being defined by these terms, instead of being a description of their political leanings. It seems that for some this is who they are and not just how they vote.
Conservatives are expected to be a certain way—have certain likes and dislikes—as are liberals or libertarians, no matter what the issue.
It seems we have a similar situation with Christianity. The term Christian itself can be a label identifying a group, or it can occasionally be used to identify conduct. But within Christianity we have multiple sublabels that try to define who and what people are.
Wendy McCaig is a blog writer and author of the book From the Sanctuary to the Streets, who writes from what she considers the Christian perspective. She wrote a blog back in 2011 titled “What Label Do You Wear?” In this blog she wrote the following:
“Is your church: Evangelical, Missional, Protestant, Conservative, Emergent, Bible Believing, Liberal, Progressive, Charismatic, Contemplative, Liturgical, Pentecostal, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Quaker, Traditional, Contemporary, Pentecostal, Spirit-filled or Christ-centered? It is amazing to me how many different labels we have come up with (I could go on and on) to define different ways of being a Christian.”
Is Christianity this complicated? Do we need all these sublabels to identify the type of Christian a person is or the type of church one attends?
In reality, the truth is that Christianity should not be a label identifying a group of people or a political persuasion; it must be a way of life. The term Christian must identify what you are and how you behave, not a label someone else has given you to show that you belong to a particular group.
In a few short weeks, the Feast of Tabernacles will be observed by many Jews and a growing number of Christians. But this doesn’t fit the label that most want to hang on Christianity. Yet, with only a little research, one can discover that Jesus Christ kept the Feast of Tabernacles, even up to the final year of His human life, and that at threat of being killed. It would seem that the Feast of Tabernacles, recorded in John 7, was quite important to Christ.
As we have all learned, labels can be more confusing than helpful. Isn’t Christian really a simple term? Isn’t it a person who strives to live in every way like Jesus Christ? Shouldn’t a Christian teach what Christ taught, observe what Christ observed and treat people as Christ did? If that is true, then we really don’t need all these labels, do we?
Christianity for each of us is really a matter of answering a few questions. Are we preaching His message, not a message about Him, but His message? Are we worshipping God as He did? Do we worship on the same days that He did?
These are not difficult questions; but if you are a Christian, I would challenge you not to accept a label just to be part of a group, but to become what you profess.
Here at Life, Hope & Truth you will find much information written from a biblical perspective. Check it out and contact us if we can help you.
For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Jim Franks.