We would all like to include everyone in the Church and to love them. We would like to include people like the rich young ruler and Ananias and Sapphira whom we were talking about a few days ago. However, we would end up with the sort of Christianity that arose after Constantine, in which everyone can be a Christian because no one knows what a Christian is anymore.
We (that includes you) need to think about some of the basics of the Christian faith – such as:
1> What is a Christian?
2> What is a good working definition of the Christian faith?
3> What is a good definition of the Church?
As a believer you have probably never thought through your working definitions of these three things because you have been so immersed in the Church culture for so long that you assume you know what the answers and definitions are. You will be amazed, if you take my suggestion seriously, how hard it can be to adequately capture the essence of being a Christian, the Christian faith and the Church and thus define it. Add to that the need to define it for the non-believing world and those who don’t know Christianese and it can become a major project.
That’s a good project to grab hold of and to take the time to work through. It is defining who you are, what your believe, and what and who you belong to. Nothing more basic than that really. That is certainly ground zero for any follower of Jesus today. And, absolutely essential and foundational if you hope to win others to the Lord, have them become Christians and active and contributing members of the Christian church. Spend some time thinking it through today and we will talk more about it tomorrow and the day after.
In Constantine’s time the meaning of what it means to be a Christian was totally destroyed. He was born again after becoming emperor and then declared his empire – the Roman Empire – to be a Christian empire. Thus, you became a Christian simply by being a member of his empire. No personal repentance with godly sorrow, no change of heart, no declaring Jesus as Lord and walking with Him daily, no taking up of a cross, and certainly no understanding of coming under new ownership and following your owner.
Thus the concept of being a Christian lost all meaning and the faith nosedived and did not resurface in a healthy manner until after the dark ages many hundreds of years later.
Let’s not let that happen again simply because it might be somewhat difficult to nail down who we are, what we believe and what we belong to. Let’s think it through for ourselves and share our results together in the comment box below.