“There is just so much baggage with that term,” said a friend of mine when asked why she does not call herself a Christian. “I don’t want what I call myself to be a stumbling block for people to know who Jesus is. There have been so many people who call themselves ‘Christian,’ and yet do not live like they are.” This is a clear refrain that I hear over and over from people in our churches who have shed what they consider an archaic term for the more “politically correct” term of “Christ-follower.” The trouble is that it is not just a term that will quickly, if it has not already, become archaic itself, but it is a term that undermines the whole concept of what being a Christian is all about.
And let’s be honest, if the idea is to not offend people then we need to go back to the words of Christ himself. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11 ESV). In other places he explicitly says that people are offended by the truth of God, so any way we try to sugar-coat the truth by our terminology will go stale.
If you call yourself a “Christ-follower,” I hope the following points will help you to reconsider and take a stand by embracing who you are in Christ.
According to research by the Barna Group presented in the book UnChristian, more than two thirds of people who are not a part of a church say that they are not willing to speak to a Christian about their faith. Notice that they do not want to talk to Christians; this is not the case with other faiths. What makes people put Christians into a category that allows more space on public transportation?
Seems like there was something written about there being a time and place for everything. Ecclesiastes 3 is the Bible’s take no that classic Eagles song (yes, I know that the Bible was written first, it was a joke) about how there are things that really have their day, but then the next day comes around and, well it is not such a beautiful thing.
This puts me in mind of how different evangelism has already become in the past few decades. I am old enough to have attended a Billy Graham crusade. But when was the last time one of them by any other evangelist even happened? Times have changed and the people that crusades (unfortunately named) are those who already believed in God, the Bible, heaven, and hell. What was so impacting for these people is that they were being challenged to see that they were not living the life that God wanted them to live and were so convicted that they went forward in droves to do something about it.