This blog will only make sense if you’ve read the last one, please do so…
Done? OK, I’ll carry on.
I felt the need to write a follow-up to the last blog because a number of highly intelligent and spiritual people, whom I respect deeply, responded unfavourably to it, expressing disappointment and loving concern for me. Was I going soft? On the edge of burn-out? Losing my faith?
The answer is no. My contention was and still is simply that the use of language is nuanced, and I question the received meaning of words such as ‘Christian’, ‘Christianity’, ‘missionary’, etc in the contemporary Western world. They are loaded with different meanings for different people.
My Great-grandfather had begun translating the Bible when he died suddenly in 1941 in Matana, Burundi. On his tombstone was written ‘Harold Guillebaud, imbata ya Yesu’. ‘Imbata ya Yesu’ at the time could be translated as ‘Jesus’ servant’. Unfortunately, all these decades later, ‘imbata’ now means ‘duck’! I reckon all the more as a linguist Harold would laugh his head off to think that passers-by nowadays read of him as Jesus’ duck!
In Kirundi, ‘Umukristo’ means ‘Christian’ in the broadest sense, i.e. a cultural Christian. So I’ve never been an Umukristo/Christian in Burundi. There is another term, ‘umukizwa’, which means ‘saved’, i.e someone with a genuine living relationship and faith in Christ. Yet even ‘umukizwa’ has been debased in meaning through questionable political associations of the term. One almost has to say, when asked, “Yes, I’m an umukizwa, but… (and then qualify it further)”
Up until the mid-20th century, ‘gay’ usually meant ‘carefree’ or ‘cheerful’. Back then, I would have been right to identify as gay. Now it no longer means the same, and if I/you use it that way, I/you will be misunderstood.
I think you can see what I’m saying.
I received a number of comments on the blog itself, many more directly to my email. My wife, Lizzie, who doesn’t always agree with my thinking (thank goodness – how awful it’d be to live within an echo chamber!), was outraged by some of the comments. For me, they simply illustrated exactly what the blog was saying – that we Jesus people can do a massive disservice to our cause by not really imitating his style. For example:
Simon, you were never ever a Bible-believing Christian… otherwise your supposed faith would not have fallen away like a tiny raindrop. I know those in your organisation and their faith is similar… very shallow, just like the parable Jesus gave us about the seed that falls on shallow ground… very sad because you have no idea what’s ahead. I’ll be praying for you to return to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whilst loyal Lizzie spat defensive venom, it was more like water off an imbata’s back for me. I literally laughed out loud… but then felt slightly sad. Another example:
Dude, keep your judgemental opinions about Donald Trump to yourself. You have no idea what you’re talking about… Please please please do more research. And don’t use google.
In contrast, I really appreciate this thoughtful one so much more, both in tone and substance:
Perhaps person-by-person redemption of the term – rather than rejection – would be better? Though that would obviously be a much longer-term project. A problem with rejection is distancing oneself not only from ‘bad’ Christians but an awful lot of good ones… otherwise I’m a big admirer of your work and the notes you strike more generally.
That makes sense to me. He’s right. There are so many beautiful examples of followers of Jesus that I would indeed be proud to identify with, and call Christian. But still…
So am I a Christian? Well, who’s asking? What does that word even mean to me/you/them? I don’t think my blog is going to change the world’s use of the term, but it’s worth thinking about.
As award-winning blogger/theologian friend Ian Paul (it’s well worth subscribing to his blog ‘Psephizo’) wrote to me:
“In my blogs I largely avoid using the words ‘Christian’ and ‘church’—in fact, when teaching at St John’s, I prohibited students from using the word ‘church’ in relation to the New Testament, because of likely misunderstandings!… People often don’t realise that the coining of the term Christianos in Acts 11:26 took place in a particular cultural context, and at the time was actually a term of derision which the followers of Jesus then happily took on themselves. They wore the mockery as a badge of pride!”
Context is everything, and so in different parts of the world, this discussion might not be relevant. But missiologically-speaking, there are many contexts where it’s definitely the wrong word. As one comment shows:
I’ve befriended Muslim neighbours. Also Jews. I’ve asked, “Do you consider that the Crusaders were Christians?” They always answer firmly, “Yes!” Then I insist that they were not, in my opinion, “Christians,” because they were NOT following Jesus! I have read a number of books by ex-Muslims, by Muslim Background Believers. They never call themselves Christians. They become “followers of Jesus”…We do not defend “Christianity” or “the church.” We are witnesses for Jesus. If asked if we are Christians, we must learn to reply, “How do you define a Christian?”
That’s surely right, isn’t it?
Thankfully, there were indeed plenty of other comments revealing that many of you resonate with what I’m wrestling with, such as:
Thank you for articulating so well something I have thought about and struggled with for years and think about regularly now in the midst of these world events and as the owner of a business that speaks into a lot of people’s lives. I have struggled with wondering if I am unfaithful to my Lord and my faith by struggling with identifying as a Christian. And I struggle with how to talk about and share my relationship with Christ, with others because of the issues that you bring up. Anyway, thank you for this encouragement to stand fast for Christ, but to not have to feel compelled to identify with a term that I know alienates people and often does not help bring them closer to Him.
Again, I got this was from an American friend of mine who is a passionate follower of Jesus, having served for a number of years in India:
I so appreciate what you wrote. I have struggled with American Christianity, or more specifically I’m realizing white evangelicalism for many years. Since the 2016 election, I have not been able to ‘identify’ as an evangelical for the same reasons you have written. White evangelicals handed Trump his victory… I can’t understand this at all. Now after George Floyd I’ve really come to a breaking point. Trying to find my voice in all of this and figure out how to speak out to the Christians around me and keep my love on.
Please, my US buddies, I’m not bashing you. Hear that! Indeed, to counterbalance the above, I agree with my friend Gerard’s concerns:
Your blog was a seriously interesting commentary. I just add one thing which worries me: there’s currently a generation of ‘Christians’ who are so determined not to identify with Bible-waving Trump, that in their efforts to appeal to his critics they have come to abhor everything about him, including his stand against abortion and his favour for freedom of speech and the right to possess a Christian worldview and not to be forced at work to act in contradiction. I am not comfortable with that either. We really need to think, and stick with God on everything, while adopting a culture that builds bridges from a solid place.
Agreed, Gerard. We really need to think, and (discern what it looks like to) stick with God on everything, while adopting a culture that builds bridges from a solid place. That’s our challenge…
Probably the most interesting module I ever did in my theological training (at Allnations) was a course on Christology. It was so fascinating to see how different cultures represented and appropriated their version of Jesus, as often seen through their art. You had the Latin-American-liberation-theology-freedom-fighter Jesus, the Aryan-blond-haired Jesus, the black Jesus, etc. We’re all inclined to do it!
The danger is we end up genuinely believing that Jesus agrees with everything we do. Or as Tim Keller warns us:
I don’t want to be that person. And I don’t think, put in those terms, any of us does.
Dostoevsky said of Jesus:
“I believe there is none lovelier, deeper, more sympathetic and more perfect than Jesus. I say to myself, with jealous love, that not only is there none like him, but there could never be anyone like him.”
I agree. And I want to serve Him with my whole heart at whatever cost to the very end.
If you’re still reading this, and you’ve been put off Jesus by me or any of my brothers and sisters around the world because we’ve misrepresented Him, I’m truly sorry. Forgive us! Don’t give up on your spiritual search. I’d be really interested in hearing from you.
So, in closing, I could still be wrong – please be kind in telling me so – but for the above reasons, that is why I still say that I no longer call myself a Christian… rather I’m a follower of Jesus.
PS Why not, during this period of restrained movements, check out who Jesus really is in this brilliantly-produced short video series called the Alpha Course? Our church is launching the course this coming Thursday night, so you could join us for free from the safety and comfort of your sofa!
Thursday June 18th at 7.30pm, see you there? Sign up here
If you just want to check out week one’s content, here it is
Yes – when living in Egypt I was struck that the Christians used a different term for ‘believers’ v cultural Christians.
Mumineen instead of Mesaheen
Always a challenge.
Nice follow up to the last blog.
If there are over 100 genders (BBC 2019) and God originally create just 2, Adam
and Eve, it shouldn’t be a big surprise the understanding of what a Xian Is muddled and misused.
The lie, “Did God Really say….?” is an old trick so I’ll focus on Romans 10:9-10 to help me signpost Jesus.
Simon, this really resonates with me…thank you for having the courage to write it. I hope you’ll continue to write on this topic…we need your voice.
I am with you brother, and being an American/Brit now living in NZ with son and daughter in law at All Nations, I get what you are saying completely. Learning about the missionary stories and the now in the church in NZ, I am seeing what you mean, and know from experience how some of your responders come to the conclusions (I believe wrongly) from what they read. And go strong, dear brother Ian Paul….praying for grace and lots more blogs for you and your family. Go brother. x x
Simon… I thought Part 1 of your blog was spot on, as is Part 2! I identified with the views so much, and was very excited that someone understands! I shared Part 1 with several people, including the pastor of our church. Pretty sure he shares your views too, but whether he would stand up to the traditional beliefs, I honestly could not say. I pray he does.
Someone once said, “It’s easy to claim to be a Christian, but to be a true disciple is tough, and it’s lonely”. Indeed, and it can be a very lonely, though personally fulfilling experience, to ‘take up the cross’ and be a follower of Jesus. Thank you for sharing, and for having the courage to speak the truth! God bless you and your family!
Thank you for this and part 1 Simon. I totally agree with what you are saying. I would say alongside “Christian”, “evangelical” is another label that has lost meaning for me – not least because of all the “evangelicals” who voted for Trump. Keep doing what you are doing and may God bless you.
Always appreciate you taking on the hard subjects, making us think about how we look to those not following Jesus. If others can’t tell who we follow by how we live, then it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves. People are watching first and if they don’t like what they see all the words in creation won’t make them want what we have. Thank you for writing your heart.
Just wish I’d been in the room when Lizzie read the comments! Hope you are all well.
Nice one, old friend, good follow up – I’m interested that the first blog attracted the extent of commentary you described; like you, I’ve avoided the words Christian (and to a large extent, church) for years, for the same reasons. In the end, of course, all words are merely labels to which we attach meaning – and therefore carry the risk of false assumptions and misinterpretations – but it seems sensible to minimise that risk where we can and especially when the cost of those misinterpretations is high.
I thought your first blog was brave and I applauded your comments and, as always, honesty. I agree with the way in which Trump’s ‘using’ the support of Evangelical Christians has made me reluctant to use the term for myself. How sad that some people misinterpreted that blog and wrote to you in that way! The second one clarifies the reasons you give for describing your relationship in Christ, has prompted each reader to reconsider their position in this matter and you speak for many followers of Jesus.
Simon, I understand where you are coming from, and suggest those who don’t, don’t want to.
Of course your view comes from someone who talks to people of different cultures a lot of the time where “Christian” may bring with it ideas of colonialism and domination and so you are wise to use it sparingly. I have a relative who almost explodes when I mention “missionary” work, however beneficial, as she only sees one culture imposing itself on another… she’s not a Christian.
However, there are times when it’s helpful… when for instance you are in a group from different denominations… Anglicans and Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists …introducing oneself and telling the others what church you attend… too many divisions… Surely it only makes Jesus cry, we are all Christians together and I tend not to say at which church denomination I am woshipping, so it’s useful just to say I’m a Christian… in such a meeting saying I’m a follower of Jesus would only alienate the others.
Perhaps in future, I should remember to ask the Holy Spirit to supply the words I should use when to describe my faith. Then if I hear Him, I cannot go wrong.
May the Lord continue to keep you close.
Very thought provoking blogs. I completely understand what you are saying. I briefly panicked when I read the title of the email and was very relieved when I read in full. I work in a secondary school in the UK where ‘proselytising’ is frowned upon. I am generally careful not to talk about my faith to the students unless asked a direct question. The question I struggle with most is “Are you religious Miss?” I usually say something like “If you mean ‘Am I a Christian?’, yes I am” but it is an unsatisfactory answer. Sadly on most occasions there isn’t time to spend giving a more meaningful answer, but occasionally students I work closely with will delve further. We are a school with a huge mix of students, ethnically and culturally and it is very easy to cause offence if one isn’t careful what one says. Definitely food for thought in my future conversations.
I like the blog and it is spot on
If no one disagrees with you then you haven’t been clear enough or no one really want to learn
I agreed and I’m not an evangelical Christian but a real fan and follower of Jesus
Since we don’t invite people to church anymore and since we don’t evangelize anymore it is much easier to share the good news and even atheist want us to pray for them… We gather as a group of friends and most of them are believers and some are not yet believers. We don’t criticize churches as we came to Christ in a traditional church with Youth for Christ. As a tall person a prefer to sleep in an not so good bed for adults than to sleep in a very good baby bed. We have to move on connecting people with Jesus Christ and through love find new ways to do so.
Menno father of Christelle, the Dutch from France we met in Burundi
I’ve found these blogs so interesting and thought-provoking. I almost feel the strength of feeling in opposition to your thoughts just reinforces your point – “Christian” has become the label and (political) ideology to which people are beholden, in place of the Person of Christ.
I’ve been challenged to re-think my casual comments about church and faith (usually intended as a sort of conversation starter) in light of this perspective on semantics. Why is it that the name of Jesus feels so much more alien for us to identify with? Let’s get The Name back into our vocabulary and collective narrative about Whose we are.
I have enjoyed your blogs and very much identify with what you say. If I am asked if I am religios I always say no. I folllow Jeesus and although I am ordained in the Anglican Church that is not my identity. Rather I am a child of God. No greater identity is possible than that except possibly “co-heir with Christ”! Meg
Sometimes people ask me “Are you religious?” I have to say that I’m not! But then I say that I am a a follower of Jesus. The first Christians were not called Christians at all, but “those who belonged to the Way” (e.g. Acts 9.2), and we’re actually told exactly where these people were called “Christians” – in Antioch (Acts 11.26) – clearly, sometime later; the name can only gradually have spread or been adopted. So, as a Christian, I’m very happy to say I’m not a Christian!
In one of Tom Wright’s “… for Everyone” books, he tells of asking an Arab camel-driver why he is so smiley and happy; the man glances round, then whispers, “because I am a follower of Isa!” QED!
Thanks for being provocative and so right.
Simply, we need your voice…and at such a time! I knew your lovely Aunt Meg, while she was in Rwanda and the few times we were able to chat, our conversations were deeply meaningful and always about a ‘relationship’ with Messiah.
I thought your Part 1 was spot on. In the 60s and 70s we would have described ourselves as born again Christians but that has now been debased. With regard to your comment about how we all see Jesus differently and try to fit him into our culture, I love the story about a little girl who is busy drawing, Her class teaher asks her “what you drawing? I’m drawing God” she replies. “But nobody knows what God looks like” exclaims the teacher. Well, they will if they just hang on a few minutes until I’ve finished this!”
Just about sums it up.
Hi Simon, I found your response here very helpful. If you weren’t already aware, Stephen Backhouse is publishing a series of podcast episodes on his website which go into this in fascinating detail. You can find it at https://www.tenttheology.com/a-new-political-imagination/ and it is called “Followers of the Way”
My apologies up front for the length of this reply to your blog post…
Thank you for your faithfulness in sharing your faith…through your books, blogs, videos, etc. I have benefited much from your wisdom over the years. I have given copies of your Choose Life devotional to many, and will continue as I have come to believe it’s the best devotional book on the market. It really is a call to action each day.
Your latest blog seems to have really resonated…or in some cases, hit a nerve. Many of us are frustrated with Christians not acting like Christians and thus giving the world an excuse to blaspheme the name of our Lord. How we respond is important.
Below are a few thoughts I had upon reading Parts 1 and 2 of the blog and the responses…
As you alluded, the name Christian was originally a pejorative term meaning “little Christ” and used to refer to those that adhered to Christ’s teaching and way of life. By the second century it was adopted by Christians themselves, and has been the primary identifier for those identifying as being under the lordship of Christ for almost two millennia.
I wonder if the early derision associated with it was at least, in part, due to the fact that believers were willing to sacrifice their families, livelihoods, status, even their very lives, much as their Christ sacrificed His life? By submitting to Christ, rather than Caesar, as Lord, they were essentially “throwing their lives away” much as unbelievers probably viewed Jesus throwing his life away. Except in fairly limited contexts, I believe being referred to as a Christian is still the most accurate way to describe, well, a true Christian. The term Christian implied complete adherence to Christ and his teaching to the point being “Christ-like”. And this only happens as the Holy Spirit indwells us and transforms us. A “follower of Christ” (someone whom the Father calls to be drawn to His son), becomes a “Christian…little Christ” when he/she submits to the lordship of Christ and the Holy Spirit fills him/her and the sanctifying work begins. For me, the term “follower of Christ” emphasizes the person’s effort more where “Christian” recognizes the Spirit’s transformational change in a person’s life. Interestingly, the word Christian was given to others based on observations of their actions while “follower of Christ” is likely a self designation. The other challenge with referring to ourselves as “followers” in this age of Twitter and Instagram is that the word “follower” now has with it the connotation of a fan. People compete for how many followers/fans they can amass. And in our “cancel culture”, if that celebrity makes a statement that is viewed as somehow outside the current orthodoxy, followers drop off immediately. My fear is many young people hearing the words Follower of Christ equate it more to Instagram or Twitter…where the follower is in control. If they don’t like something they can just hit “delete”. A true follower of Christ has submitted his life, and control of his life, to his master, Jesus. The early Christians received derision for sticking with Jesus, even to death. The term “follower” now likely has a connotation inconsistent with what it really means in a Christian (there’s that word again ) context.
And by jettisoning the word Christian and coming up with another term, are we unnecessarily further dividing the Body of Christ?
I guess what I’m saying is any term has it’s limits. The word Christian has it’s baggage, but is also how Christians and non-christians have referred to believers for almost 2000 years. I wonder if the answer isn’t in throwing out the word Christian, but rather redeeming it by living out lives that reflect the true meaning? Another example might be related to our nationality. For many reasons, people might have a negative view of Americans, or the English for that matter. Issues like colonialism, racism, cultural arrogance, materialism, moral decay, etc. have come to define the word American for many both inside and outside the US. If I’m asked while traveling what nationality I am, I will say American…even though I’m not happy with how many other Americans behave. I wouldn’t say I’m a follower of the founding documents of the United States of America to try to distinguish myself from those Americans that are behaving counter to those founding documents. Instead, I try to behave in a way that redeems people’s view of what an American is. I think in most cases, that’s the appropriate response for Christians as well.
A second thought is related to the title of the blog “Why I’m no Longer a Christian”. I generally like provocative titles…and content as it grabs attention and often makes the reader think or assess his/her assumptions or biases. In this case, the timing may be a little bad (or maybe it was intentional?) given the very high profile announcements from prominent former Christians such as Josh Harris and others. I’ve been grieved tremendously hearing their reasons for turning their backs on their Lord mostly because they view teaching/doctrine of the Christian faith (exclusivity of Christ, teaching on sexuality, etc.) as inconsistent with what they have come to believe is right.
Some people want to redefine Christianity into something that it never was, others just throw it out. Given the current trend of people walking away from their faith in a very public way, your title may have been a problem for some…based on a couple of the replies. A title can either enhance or detract from the message of a blog. Given the timing of this blog, a slightly different title may have been helpful for some people while still getting your point across.
Finally, I think we need to be careful highlighting people we think are poorly representing Christians. I have been leading a small group study on the Gospel of John for over a year now (we’re just finishing Chapter 16 this week). If a judge were to use just what is found in John to identify a true Christian/follower of Christ, I’m not sure that there would be evidence to convict 90% of self proclaimed Christians.
By highlighting a lightning rod like President Trump as a poor example of a self proclaimed Christian, it immediately has the affect of turning some people off and engaging the worst instincts of others. (Full disclosure…for the first time in my life, and I’ve been voting since 1984, I did not vote for either major party candidate, or any other candidate for that matter, in 2016. I did not believe either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump were worthy of a vote. I had the luxury of living in a state, Oregon, that heavily favored Clinton, so my vote wouldn’t affect the outcome. I now live in a state, Wyoming, that heavily favors Trump, so I again have the luxury of knowing my lack of a vote won’t affect the outcome, so likely won’t vote again…just tired of having to vote for the lesser of two evils. If I lived in one of the battleground states that will affect the outcome of the election, I would probably hold my nose and vote for Trump, as most of his policies (pro-life, pro-religious freedom, judicial philosophy, criminal justice reform, etc.) are much more in line with mine than the Joe Biden’s. At the end of the day policy trumps (pun intended) personality, but oh how I pray that God raises up a godly candidate for president soon.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of self-proclaimed Christians/followers of Jesus look like the rest of the world in almost any metric… spending habits, TV viewing habits, divorce rates, pornography, etc. Again, highlighting what many view as an egregious example of poor behavior in a self-professed Christian has the affect of alienated some and giving others a potentially false sense of superiority (He’s an example of a bad Christian while I and others with my view are examples of good Christians/followers of Christ.)
Anyway, these are some thoughts I had as I read your blog and the responses from readers. I agree with many of your points defining the issue, but we differ a bit on how we might respond…which is OK. The Body of Christ was never meant to be a homogenous monolith. I appreciate your willingness to get things out there for discussion.
Wow! Mark, that was simply a superb reply! Really appreciate the time you took, and agree with pretty much everything you write. Thank you. The responses have been so interesting and varied and insightful, most of them. Interestingly, writing as a Brit in England, most have been in agreement. Obviously the USA is a different context, and all the more with heightened sensitivities at this time. I’m going to cut and paste your response to everyone else who wrote, because it is so wise, and also simply because I don’t have the time to respond to everyone’s different points raised – apologies for that. To all you who took the time to write to me, thanks, do read Mark Kinslow’s comment in the thread for a wise final word on what has been hopefully a helpful discussion. God bless you all, and may He help us live well as little Christs for the King!
I identify with a lot of your concerns – so well expressed and true. However, the mere fact of being a “Christ-follower” (a term Mike Hill, former Bishop of Bristol, favoured), or “Christian” leads on to a need to explain. I wonder if it’s helpful to reject the term many sincere believers still use – some may consider you are challenging their sincerity! Of course, one word or term is quite insufficient to make clear what a Christian is and/or believes. I’ve just been reading “God’s smuggler” – few believers could live up to what he achieved by faith (you are one of them, Simon!), but your and Lizzie’s lifestyles and challenging teaching are an example to many, and I’d hate to think any sincere Christian was so shocked by this apparent change of name that it deafened them to what you do, teach and write! Brother Andrew quotes from a letter from an unknown lady accompanying a generous gift. She wrote: “This is to be used for your own personal needs. It is not to go into the work. Use it in Christ’s love….God will send you what your family needs and what your work needs too. You are a mature Christian, Brother Andrew. Act like one”. (pp. 204-5 of 60th anniversary edition, Hodder 2015). At the time this letter came Andrew had just found his wife Corry in tears on discovering she had nothing suitable to wear when they’d been invited out to dinner. He was challenged by this lady’s words, realising that their extreme frugality “‘was part of a whole mental set, an attitude of lack into which we had slipped”. (p. 204). God is generous, bur of course thrift – old-fashioned but valid word – is part of a believer’s life-style.
You are right that language moves on – because of “identity politics” believers today have to endure being accused of hate, named bigots etc! – nothing new there! The teaching and example of the brothers of Taizé so enriched all our family that we try to bridge denominational terms – for instance I am a Christian believer (not everyone will realise what I mean, of course). The name goes back a long way and was first used in Antioch (Acts 11.26). We don’t need to try and “update” everything! We have to choose terms listeners will understand – they can always ask questions, and doubtless will (a guiding principle of the Alpha course).
I agree with so much of what you say. I also haven’t seen any political figure, past and present, pass up an opportunity for a great photo-op, so not sure how the whole Trump argument came to be. You literally could have mentioned every president in U.S. history who paticipated in a so called photo op to further his/her campaign. You also mentioned George Floyd in your commentary and the injustice of racial discrimination. I agree that there is great room for improvement in that area, but the injustice of murdering unborn children should be pretty high on your list. If we can allow mothers to kill their own children, how can we tell other people not to kill each other based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status? I know Trump isn’t the greatest president, but he has tried to put men and women in position to try and fight for the unborn. Would your choice for president be for someone who fought for more abortions, while pretending to fight for racial justice? I appreciate your wisdom, but feel you could have used different and better examples.
I agree with you that the word Christian is used as a generic term for anyone who is not a Jew, Muslim, or other ethnic religions. People will call themselves Christian as they believe in a god. They do not accept that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and do not follow the teachings of Christ therefore they are not Christians as the word originally meant.
Ravi Zacharias used to say when asked a question, he would ask the questioner why he was asking the question he wanted an answer to.
People are prepared to talk about God but not so keen to talk about believing in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and following his teachings.
May God bless You
Thank you for both blogs. As a Brit who gets very confused by the American Church and 2 party politics, it’s great to hear your voice of wisdom!
I love following Jesus, I love Him so much, and whilst I’ve had uncomfortable conversations due to my ignorance and white privilege, I am determined that we will bring Father’s will on earth.
Good article, have read and taught the words Jesus himself said ‘follow me’, and he used a number of times. Using this approach in evangelism is helpful and for the listener nails where your coming from. There perception and preconceived ideas as unbelievers in many different contexts are blinded or even ‘suppressed’-(Rom 1-18). There may not be a one size fits all approach, but there is a saviour and to him all Bible truth is central and focused upon, Alastair
Hi Simon, Just checking you out as my son may be coming to you 🙂
Big tick from me! Well done, keep going, awesome, completely get it! So proud of you.
What a privilege, thank you. Huge blessings on you and your beautiful wife & family. Vince
Love both your articles. When I saw the title of your first article, I thought…oh no, not another person who’s fallen away! How happy I was to understand what you actually meant! In today’s climate, it’s so important to stop and give pause to what our words are saying. Volunteering with Muslim refugees has made me rethink calling myself a Christian. It’s a hard habit to break, but I hope I can get to the point where I automatically call myself a Follower of Jesus. Thanks for your thought provoking articles.
I don’t think God cares what words we use or don’t use, these are words created by Man because we so love labelling and categorising things. All we can do is serve the Lord the best we can and if we do that well then those around us will see that we are different irrespective of how we describe ourselves. God just wants us to listen and then obey.
But because it saddens me that people have reacted so aggressively I would ask that they reflect on this because this is not a Christian (ha, using that label again) thing to do. Jesus would not have acted like that so ask yourselves if are you defending our Lord or yourself?
There is so much confusion attached to the word “Christian” in this day, that I too scarcely use it, except where I put it in quotation marks, or make reference to . . . “professing Christians.” The great bulk of professing Christianity, in this late hour, is sectarian churchianity, countless isms, confusion, unbelief, and corruption. Though having voted for Donald Trump in 2016; the only alternative being to not vote at all, or the unthinkable: voting for Hillary Clinton, it is easy to see, in late 2021, the futility of looking to politicians to solve any of the real problems of the day, especially when virtually all are extremely self-serving, and woefully lacking in understanding of the underlying causes of the problems. Jesus, . . . not Donald Trump, is the answer for all that besets us. Trump’s closeness to some of the most heretical religious deceivers and heretics in the charismatic camp, as well as his boastful pride, and unrepentance, is reason enough to not vote for him again . . . if he should run. It is time to look up, for redemption is nearer than when we first believed.
Hi Simon, I listened to a sermon of your grandpa Peter this week on the topic of Grace. Have you thought of re-posting it here on your blog?
I think most questions, quarrels and even cool ideas fade very very quickly in the presence of the Lamb of God. At least, that’s what I took away from your poppas sermon.
By the way, in Rwanda, imbata currently means slave. So imbata ya Yesu would mean Slave of Jesus which is a wonderful testimony.
You can’t go wrong if you are close to HIM.