Do You Really?

Accused Of Not Being A Christian

Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, thinks that too many Christians can be judgmental and unloving. I believe that sometimes we all do things with good motives but end up hurting instead of helping others.

That happened to me yesterday. I went for a Sunday walk around our neighborhood, which includes an area known as the Historical Downtown of Chilliwack called Five Corners. I think it is a charming part of our city, but some others see it as a place for the homeless and drug addicts to congregate. Sometimes you will find some of those folks in the seating area around the large Clock Tower there. Mostly it is an empty area for a pleasant walk. Yesterday one homeless man was resting there, and a young man was walking there, like myself.

Two men with Bibles came upon us with confrontation on their minds. They concentrated on the young man and the homeless man, asking them if they believed in God. I heard the homeless man say, “Sure, I do.”  I continued walking along Wellington Street, feeling I had left the two interrogators behind me. They did not talk long with the two others, for they caught up to me as I waited for a traffic light a block away.

The one asked as I waited for the light, “Are you a Christian?” To which I responded, “Yes, I am.”  He responded accusingly, “Are you a truly born-again Christian? Do you believe every word of the Bible?”

I sighed and was not inclined to talk with the person. It seemed that he was determined I could not be a Christian except as he defined being a Christian. The fact that I said I was a Christian was not an acceptable answer to this gentleman. He demanded that I prove to him I was one.

At the heart of this situation is the truth that the words we use may not mean the same thing to others as they do to us. For myself, I believe a Christian is a person who believes or has faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of sinners. After his death and resurrection, the apostles witnessed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and Savior of all sinners. Believers in Christ became known as Christians. It was the name given by Greek or Romans to the followers of Jesus. It was first used at Antioch. The names by which the disciples were known among themselves were “the faithful,” “the elect,” “saints,” “believers.”

 

Who am I as a Christian? I am a sinner saved by grace through faith, a gift of God. God gave me faith in my infant baptism and has encouraged me with His word and Holy Supper ever since.  I am a believer in Christ by faith, which is invisible to human eyes. “The kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21. My faith “Is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.” Eph. 2:20 Like Paul, I resolve not to know anything except Jesus Christ and him crucified for sinners. I humbly believe in Christ. I seek to love and encourage other Christians and Non-Christians alike.

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Raymond Maher
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