What Kind of Christian are You?

Picture of tasmanian devils arguing“Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me. The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved me.” — Jesus (John 17:20-23, WEB)

Being one with the Father, in perfect unity, just like Jesus Christ is one with His Father is exactly what I, like Jesus, pray for. That is one reason that I am not a big fan of denominational labels and doctrinal distinctions between different groups of believers is Jesus Christ. Group labels are a great way to encourage division. You see, once you label a group, such as a denomination, movement, race, nationality, tribe, clan, social caste, or whatever the grouping may be, it is easy to consider yourself inside or outside of that group. It is also easy to find fault with any group that you are not part of. It is especially easy if that group name is somehow derogatory. For example, many unkind “jokes” have been made at the expense of “Pollocks.” In time of war, propaganda is issued against the enemies that groups them together with such derogatory names as “infidels” or “gooks.” The crimes and sins of any member of the enemy group are attributed to the entire group, no matter if this is justified or not (and it usually isn’t). Even when conducting war against a nation, it is wise to remember that there are many people within the nation who are not responsible for or contributors to the war.

I got a telephone call from someone the other day wanting to know what kind of church I went to. He said that he wanted to know, because he couldn’t support anyone in certain groups (and he named some) because of the “excesses” he had seen in those groups. Apparently, he had seen our web site, and was thinking about financially supporting us. Or maybe he was just looking for an excuse not to. Whatever his motivation, he felt like it was important that he know which of certain labels applied to me. The funny thing about those labels is that many of them apply to me in one way or another, but none of them really defines me perfectly, except perhaps “Christian” or “believer in Jesus Christ.” Even those labels would probably be misunderstood by some unbelievers, who assume that all Christians are Roman Catholic and guilty of the atrocities of the Crusades. My loyalty is to Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God, and not to a denomination. I was baptized in a Baptist Church, but I was baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and not in the name of a particular church group or denomination. I discovered that there are many Christians that go to churches with different names that are just as dedicated to serving the same Lord. There are also some people who go to churches with good names that are very religious, but show no outward signs of actually knowing Jesus Christ. I remember one time that I visited a church with the name “Baptist,” but I was shocked at the blasphemous speech that came out of the pastor’s mouth. I probably sinned by not leaving the service before it was over. I have also been to churches with the same name on the door where Jesus was sincerely worshiped and the Truth of the Holy Bible was preached. (Fortunately, the latter case has been more common in my experience.) We associate with many denominations and non-denominational churches, but there is just one Body of Jesus Christ in this world, the Universal Church. The original meaning of “catholic church” is “universal church,” a body of believers that includes both Catholics and Protestants. Some people like to make a distinction between denominations based on the Holy Spirit, as if some people “had” the Holy Spirit and some didn’t. That actually sounds silly to me, since the Holy Spirit is God, and we don’t own Him. Rather, we surrender to His will and allow Him to help us live right, or we don’t. The real question is if the Holy Spirit has me or you, not vice versa. God is not just a God of the Pentecostals and Charismatics, but He is the only real God for all Christians. I believe that He is alive and well, and just as relevant today as ever, and active in believers of Jesus Christ no matter what kind of church they may or may not attend. I also believe that He is a gentleman, and does not force Himself on us, and will be only as active in our lives as we let Him. My goal is to yield to Him completely.

We believe in Jesus Christ.

We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

We believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit; the one Body of Christ; the fellowship of believers; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

We believe in the absolute reliability and inspiration by the Holy Spirit of the Holy Bible. We believe that good doctrine comes from the Holy Bible, and that sound doctrine always agrees with the Holy Bible.