“Christian” Is A Label, Not A Life

You can’t live a “Christian” life today.

It’s a label, not a lifestyle. Pastors use it, evangelists use it, ministries use it, missionaries use it, Bible teachers use it, lay people use it, Chreasters use it. “Chreasters” are those folks who go to church on Christmas and Easter. That’s the subject for another blog.

According to research studies I’ve read, lots of folks like to call themselves Christians because it’s more politically and socially correct than saying, “I’m a non-believer,” or “I’m an agnostic,” or “I really don’t know what I am, so I guess I’m a Christian.” It’s a positive affiliation. It’s a nice thing to call yourself.

“Christian” is a relatively modern label. Only in the past several centuries has it become popular. “Christian” appears only three times in the Bible (KJV, seven in the NIV). It was first used at Antioch by those outside the group of Jesus’ followers to criticize and ridicule them. Today “Christian” is “culturally correct.” in many circles to be associated with anything “Christian”.  It is also used as a label to identify people who associate with the cultural aspects of Christianity, irrespective of personal religious beliefs or practices.

Richard Dawkins is an atheist scientist with a global reputation for speaking out against creationism and religiousdawkins fundamentalism. He calls himself a Cultural Christian. “This is historically a Christian country,” he said. “I’m a cultural Christian in the same way many of my friends call themselves cultural Jews or cultural Muslims. I like singing carols along with everybody else. I’m not one of those who wants to purge our society of our Christian history.”

Are we evolving into a nation of “cultural Christians”?

It is vital, in my opinion, that each of us knows our true identity in Christ, what we believe, and what our purpose is in the body of Christ. Here’s a list of categories off the top of my head. Which one would you call yourself?

  • Non-believer
  • I’m not sure what I am
  • A “Cultural Christian”
  • I’m religious and I follow the Ten Commandments
  • A Believer (Be careful. Satan and his angels believe in a Holy God and His power)
  • A Christian (Be careful here, too. Do you know what that label means? Theologians can’t even define it.)
  • An authentic follower of Jesus, a disciple — This is not a walk in the park. (John 13:35Luke 9:23)

I call myself an authentic follower. That takes longer to say than “Christian”, but I refuse to call myself something unless I know what it means and I’m confident I can explain it to someone who asks.

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15 thoughts on ““Christian” Is A Label, Not A Life

  1. Provocative thoughts, Steve. Labels are often so ambiguous. Evangelical is another great example. This word is being bantered about by the liberal media like a ping pong ball. If I were to be asked if I am an evangelical, my answer would be, “Definitely, or
    Certainly not. Define evangelical.” I’d put the ball back in their court to explain.
    Certainly not. Define evangelical.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement. It is comments like yours that keep me praying and writing and seeking God’s words to post. Thank you and God bless.

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    • Amen. Nice identity. I can understand that. I know what it means. No confusion with who you are. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  2. I call myself a born again follower of Christ. I will also use the term Christian, depending on the circumstances. In some Hispanic cultures, that term indicates that you are not an animal. Don’t ask me why. On several occasions, some individuals have lashed out at me, because I did not addressed them as Christians, citing what I previously said about not being an animal.Whew! Just got tired, trying to explain this. Isn’t it somewhat amusing, that when a politician wants to get elected, he/she will use these labels? Sad. Bottom line, I follow Christ, serve Him with all my might, and love Him. Can not fathom, a day without my Lord. Blessings.

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  3. Born-again Believer or Christian works for me. Someone asks, “What does that mean?” That’s when you tell them the story of Jesus and Nicodemus ( John 3:1-21). Too much time is spent playing with words. Atheists may not believe yet, but they will…everyone will (Rom. 14:11). Sad part is…for many it will be too late.

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    • Born again works for me. And I guess if calling myself a Christian sparks someone to ask what that means, yes, I can tell them about Jesus. That would open the door. Thanks, Butch, you always come through with wisdom and kindness. God bless.

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  4. I loved this! How scary. I see how our world has gotten comfortable with the Cultural Christian. Funny when you rip that word apart how Cult is in the beginning. Makes perfect sense. We are either just too busy or worried about offending others to really point out the error in our ways of not getting out of our comfort zones and really being Christ like followers! Just like healthy eating is a lifestyle change. Being a serious believer isn’t always comfortable. But so worth it once we get over being hungry for what we are used to and in turn get spiritually healthy! 😉

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    • Excellent comment, Coastalmom, we’re apparently getting way too comfortable with the way the world is headed and being much more acceptable of sin in our lives and accepting things today we would not have tolerated in days gone by. Will we get raptured out of here in time to miss all the anarchy and chaos we’re coming to? I sure hope so. Thanks for the comments.

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  5. Interesting thoughts. There is also another negative side of the label Christian, in that, one has to be cautious in some cultures because of history’s rendering the term as associated with things like Crusades. I think as you say, authentic follower, or disciple of Jesus, may help much to clarify our position, especially considering the technology of the day gives us the ability to communicate the world over from our homes. Christian is probably a term best kept in circles of understanding, and maybe avoided when not in them, such as here. Good words . Blessings good friend.

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