Friday, October 26, 2007

Being Christian and Being a Disciple

I was attending a seminar and the thought came to me (either by the speaker, Brian McLaren, or the random firings of my brain) that being Christian can be approached the way people sometimes approach being an American.

If you think about it, what does it take to be an American? For most people, all it takes is being born on American soil or of American parents. At the most, the minimum requirements to being an American are a period of residence and passing a test to see if you know some basic facts about American, plus a pledge of allegiance to the nation.

While it would be nice if there were more to it, that really is all it takes to be considered an American. You really don't have to do anything else for the rest of your life to be considered an American.

I think there is a significant number of people who have a similar idea about being a Christian. Being Christian is something that you are born into, or at the most, when you have your confirmation of baptism, you pass a test and make a vow of allegiance.

And pretty much after that, while it would be nice to do more, the attitude becomes that you really don't have to do anything else for the rest of your life to consider yourself a Christian.

That certainly is not what Jesus intended for his followers. To be Christian is to pursue a life that become closer and closer to Christ so that your life is as nearly interchangeable with the life of Christ as is humanly possible.

Maybe what we should do is change the name we most use. The term "Christian" appears in the Bible only 3 times. The term "disciple" and its derivatives appear in the Bible 261 times (this one I did get for sure from Brian McLaren). That means, as far as I'm concerned, that being a disciple is 87 times more important than being a Christian.

Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ or a Christian? It makes a huge difference.


Krista S. Givens said...

Caitlin says..."hmmm. that's true." Pastor Krista says, "That Pastor Tom is so cute." Say hi to the family and Kimi for us!
Caitlin K. and Krista G.

Pastor Tom Choi said...

It was nice to chat with you. Thanks for leaving a comment!!