In Baskin Robbins Christianity Part I we discussed the multitude of “Christian” beliefs, denominations, ways of worship, varieties of Bibles and more. We found so many differing and conflicting ideas about Christianity that it’s impossible to define a Christian of Christianity.
Christians are all over the board.
In fact, you can find Christians on both sides of every social, political, cultural, religious, economic and spiritual issue. You can call yourself a “Christian” and say or do or believe just about anything you want.
Why All This Confusion About Christians and Christianity?
Why do we have so many flavors of Christianity? Why can’t we decide what a “Christian” is? That’s what we call ourselves, but why? Where would be the best place to look for a definition of “Christian” or “Christianity“? Wouldn’t we naturally go to God’s word?
There’s just one problem with searching the Bible for a definition of “Christian“. The Bible doesn’t have one. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told what a Christian is or is not. What they’re supposed to do, or not do. Or believe or not believe.
In fact “Christian” doesn’t even appear in the New Testament but a few times. It appears first in Acts 11:26 and says, “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch (That’s where Barnabas and Paul were teaching at the time.)
They didn’t call themselves Christians. The outsiders looking in at them, or talking about them, the folks who didn’t like them, called these followers of Jesus Christians. It was a derogatory term.
Like some of us look at groups of folks with differing political or social agendas and (as outsiders looking in) we make up names to refer to them, like “skinheads” or “Neo Nazis”, or “Geeks”. Used to be that a geek was a computer nerd who wore broken glasses and a plastic pocket protector. Now they’ve transformed “geeks” into a business and slapped their name on the side of trucks.
What’s The Connotation For “Christian“?
“Christian” doesn’t carry the same negative connotation as “skinheads” or “Noe-Nazis” today, or does it? What do non-believers or folks who don’t call themselves “Christians” say about Christians today? Here’s one way Andy Stanley described Christians on a slide in his video series Christian (which was the inspiration for this blog post series).
“Christians are judgmental, homophobic, exclusionary moralists who think they are the only ones going to heaven and secretly relish the fact that everyone else is going to hell.”¹
Is Stanley off his rocker? Or is he on target by describing Christians as judgmental, exclusionary moralists? Is that how folks on the outside see Christians? Have Christians complicated their religion and turned off outsiders with their more than 31,000 flavors, like Baskin Robbins ice cream?
A Disenchanted Believer Speaks
Anne Rice lived for decades as an atheist. Raised as a Catholic, she had rejected the church early in her life but renewed her faith in recent years and in 2008 released the memoir Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession. The best-selling author of 28 books is probably best known for her Vampire Chronicle series. Twelve years after she converted from atheism to Christianity, she quit being a Christian. “Today I quit being a Christian,” she said on her Facebook page on April 7, 2010. “I ‘m out. I remain committed to Christ as always, but not to being a Christian.”
It’s important that everyone who calls themselves a Christian reads why Anne Rice quit being a Christian and disassociated herself from anything called Christianity. What Rice says in Part III, I imagine, may have non-believers and some disenchanted Christians saying, “Amen!” Click here to read Rice’s rather short justification for her decision to drop out of Christianity. If you read no other posts, read this one, then we’ll finish up this series with what Jesus taught the apostles about the way He wanted them to live.