“Christian” Is A Lousy Adjective

A Jewish lady answered a knock at her door. The young man asked her if she wanted her house painted. It needed painting, so she took his card. She noticed a fish symbol on the card and asked him what it meant. “It means I’m a Christian painter,” he said.

In my opinion, calling yourself a “Christian” anything presents two problems. First, no one has ever explained to me what a Christian is in Biblical terms. Any definition fails to capture what Jesus taught us about following Him.

And second, using “Christian” to describe a “painter” does not help me learn anything about the person holding the brush and ladder. Does a “Christian painter” paint differently from a “Catholic painter” or a “Muslim painter” or, “atheist painter”? The woman wanted her house painted. All she cared about was whether or not the guy could paint.

Too many times I think folks use “Christian” to describe their business to persuade their customers they’re more honest or ethical than “non-Christian” businesses. That somehow their “Christian business” ethics or integrity or quality of work is superior to their competitors who don’t flash a “Christian” label in their front window or on their business cards.

Too often we hear stories of bad experiences some consumers have with “Christian” businesses who flash their fish symbols then act just like the world in the market place. Those “Christian” business folks drive people away from The church and away from Jesus. One bad “Christian” business deal can destroy dozens of potential good business deals with authentic followers of Jesus who take Jesus to work every day.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. Colossians 3:23

Authentic followers of Jesus don’t have to flash a “Christian”‘ label to attract more business. The way they live and treat others will draw all the business they need.

2 thoughts on ““Christian” Is A Lousy Adjective

  1. Amen. I used to work for a company that hired independent contractors and we used to cringe when people went out of their way to tell us they were a Christian business. They were often the ones who were more trouble, didn’t follow what we wanted, or worse, were unethical. I said this in another post, we almost need another word for who we are in Christ because the name is so trampled under. Of course, that word would eventually get abused and misused too.


    1. We’re on the same page with this issue, Mel. I appreciate your comments.I like Kyle Idleman’s “Not a fan”. I refer to myself as an authentic follower of Jesus. I don’t know if there is another word we could substitute for “Christian”. Here’s a link to some other thoughts I wrote on the subject last year. Maybe you’ll like this. stevensawyer.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/the-trouble-with-the-christian-label/


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