Thursday, August 12, 2010

Redundant Terminology

I don't know why many continue to try to find other ways to call themselves Chrisitians.  Maybe it is because they are afraid of offending the non-Christian, and need a softer term.  Maybe they think that the
non-Christian won't have his/her guard up in response to this new term and somehow the resistance to the gospel will be less.  Maybe they are trying to make themselve distinct from all those hypocrites who call themselves Christians, but don't act like one.  Maybe they are trying to make some distinction between themselves and the nominal or run of the mill Christian.  Or maybe they have heard others use the term and started using it because that is what everyone else is doing.

Among the monikers I have heard professing Chrisitans call themselves there are two that are absolutley redundant and make me think to myself, "Are you thinking through what this term means?"  The two are Born Again Christian, and Christ Follower

Although  the term Born Again Christian is not in vogue anymore, it still seems to crop up.  Think about it, can one be a Chrisitan without being born again?  No, never, no way-no how.  Jesus, Himself, was pretty adamant about this in the third chapter of John, and John in his first epistle uses the term born of God and children of God to describe those who exhibit the traits of true Christians and possess saving faith.  You must be born again (regenerated) according to Jesus in  John 3:3 & 7, made alive according to Paul in I Corinthians 15:22, Ephesians 2:5, Colossians 2:13, and Peter even weighs in on it in I Peter 1:3 & 23.  So between Jesus, John, Peter, and Paul we have pretty conclusive testimony that one cannot be a Christian without being born again.  So the term Born Again Christian is really an absurd redundancy.

Now, let's take the term Christ Follower as is seems to be the dominant term du jour.  Can anyone be a Christian without following Christ?  Again, the answer is a resounding no!  What was the term Jesus used 21 times in the gospels in calling people to be His disciples?  You guessed it, it was, "Follow Me."  Lets look at some of contexts in which He used this term.

Matthew 8:22 "...Follow Me and allow the dead to bury their own dead."
Matthew 10:38 "...he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me."
Matthew 16:24 "...If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and he must take up his cross and follow Me."
Matthew 19:21"...If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me."
John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
John 12:26 "If anyone serves Me he must follow Me..."

So following Christ is only done by Christians, His sheep.  One simply will not follow Christ if he/she is not a Christian.  In fact, in John 6:66 we see that many withdrew and were not following Him anymore when He explained the covenant committment required to be His disciple/follower.  Also, since the term Christian means little Christ it would follow (no pun intended) that those who follow Him would be called Christians, or little Christs.  Don't Bhuddists follow Bhudda, and Muslims follow Mohammed?  Do they have to say, "I am a Bhudda follower." or "I am a Mohammed follower." for us to get the picture, or is it just enough for them to call themselves Bhuddists or Muslims?  Get the picture?  Why do Christians have to make themselves look so silly by being so redundant?  It almost conveys the idea that either we are not sure what being called Christian means, or that we are ashamed of the name Christian.

Have you been born again, made alive in the spirit, experienced the new birth?  If you have then you are a Christian, pure and simple.  Do you follow Christ, listen to and obey His word, try to live as He would live?  If so then you are a Christian, pure and simple.  Why call ourselves anything less, or obscure what we really are by being redundant?

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