Christian. What does that word mean anymore?
I’m reminded of a late seventy-ish TV ad campaign with a very catchy tune:
“I’m a Pepper, He’s a Pepper…wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?”
Every where you look Christians. At least within some circles, lots of people are calling themselves that.
What is a Christian? A Christian just isn’t a believer, because, as the Scripture says: “You believe there is one God, good, even the demons believe that and shudder.” (James 1:22)
So a man can say he is a Christian, but that doesn’t mean he reads the Bible, that doesn’t mean he’s a doer of the Word of God, that doesn’t mean he prays to follow God’s will for himself, and that doesn’t mean he studies and knows the Commandments or does his best not to violate them.
“Be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourself. For if anyone is the hearer of the Word and not a doer he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror. For he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not just a hearer of the Word, but a dooer of the Word, this one will be blest in what he does.” James 22 – 25
The catchy little jingle in the Dr. Pepper commercial says, “I used to be alone in a daze, but Peppers are all the craze.”
So, at least in some circles, being a Christian is all the craze, but what do these Christians do? Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi claims to be a Christian. President Barack Obama claims to be a Christian. Both are avid supporters of abortion.
But you don’t need a recognizable personality as an example. Lately, I’ve observed self-described Christians who do some fairly “interesting” things.
It seems the word Christian is going through a bit of an identity crisis, like many in politics; “Republican”, “Conservative”, and “Libertarian”. What do those words mean anymore? It’s rather like trying to hold Jello in one’s hand.
So, what’s a Christian? I think I know.
The bottom line is, there seems to be no clear definition anymore. In order for a label to have any meaning, there has to be a consistency to the actions and the people who adopt it.
The reason there are a number of words going through “an identity crisis” these days is because too people who have adopted the label have been entirely inconsistent, so the words lose their meaning.
What is a Republican? What is a Conservative? What is a Libertarian?
None of these words have any meaning I can nail down. One cannot say that a Republican is someone who stands for Constitutionally limited government, fiscal conservatism, free markets, or individual liberty. The words Republican and Conservative have become interchangeable. So what is a Conservative?
Many people are calling themselves Libertarians these days. But what is a Libertarian? Ask ten people, you will get nine answers, maybe ten. Is a Libertarian someone who wants limited government so they can do whatever they want, in others, near anarchy? Or is a Libertarian someone who wants limited government in the context of an educated, moral society? I have no idea. People talk all across the spectrum.
So, I ask again, what is a Christian? What does it mean when someone adopts that label? As of right now, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t mean much, because for too many people, it doesn’t seem to impact their conduct.
I will turn to Scripture for advice on the subject, and so, “by their fruits” I will know them.
But, in the end, it’s easier to know what a “Pepper” is. I do like Dr. Pepper, at least the Diet version anyway. I can say, I’m a Pepper, and I can turn to a neighbor and say…wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too? At least I’ll know what that means….