Sunday night I ran across a BuzzFeed video entitled, “I’m Christian, but I’m not…” My first inclination was, “Nuh uh. No ‘buts’!”
But…then I remembered just a couple of weeks ago I titled one of my blogs, “I know and love Jesus, but I’m Still Not Straight.” So deciding not to be too presumptuous, I set my immediate judgments aside and played the video. For the next two minutes I watched a handful of professing Christ followers explain pretty candidly that their love for Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean they fit the stereotypical image many Americans conjure up when they hear the word “Christian.”
The first segment of the video was on point! Here are a few of the refreshing admissions of these professing believers:
- I am a Christian, but I’m not homophobic…
- I am a Christian, but I’m not perfect…
- I am a Christian, but I’m not judgmental…
- I am a Christian, but I don’t have all the answers…
Amen! The negative characteristics they mention here have unfortunately become synonymous with “Christian” in contemporary thought. Self-righteousness, discrimination, and intolerance in Jesus’ name have polluted the Christian image – especially in the Bible Belt where being “Christian” (I put it in quotes for a reason) has been culturally popular up until recent days. Personally, one of my aspirations in my writing is to help redeem the Christian image in our culture by communicating biblical truth in a way that isn’t hateful, arrogant, or unreasonable. Speaking God’s truth plainly and clearly in gentleness and reasonableness is totally possible, and, from my perspective, it is becoming a much more common practice among Christ followers. I’m thankful to see this!
But as I continued to watch the video and the “but I’m not’s” rolled on, I became discouraged and frustrated. Here are a few more thoughts from these professing believers:
- I am a Christian, and I am gay.
- I am a Christian, and I am queer.
- I am a Christian, and I am feminist.
You know why I think the American Church’s witness for Christ is so weak in these days? Because it seems as if very few are willing and able to follow Jesus in light of the full counsel of Scripture. You have many professing believers – such as the ones in this video – who distance themselves away from terrible things like arrogance, racism, and homophobia, yet they unite themselves to terrible things like homosexuality, feminism, and transgenderism. And then you have many professing believers who distance themselves away from terrible things like homosexuality, feminism, and transgenderism, yet they unite themselves to terrible things like arrogance, racism, and homophobia. Neither of these paths looks anything like the Narrow Path Jesus has instructed us to walk on.
A “Christian” faith that calls sin what it is but lacks love, mercy, and grace isn’t very Christian. Likewise, a “Christian” faith that embraces the ideas of love, mercy, and grace, but refuses to submit to the Bible’s teaching on sin and repentance isn’t very Christian. The former fleshes out in angry, loveless religion that does not point to Christ; the latter fleshes out in God-belittling, powerless religion that does not point to Christ. And in my opinion, based on my understanding of the Scriptures, neither of these faiths has any kind of saving power. It is the holy faith of Christ characterized by love and truth that saves.
Not to be all 2001, but can the real followers of Christ please stand up? The ones who can say:
- I am a Christian and I believe all sexual expression outside of heterosexual marriage is sinful, but I’m not homophobic. I love gay people regardless of whether or not they agree with my beliefs.
- I am a Christian and I’m not perfect. However, God does call me to strive to obey him. Christ loved and died for me in my worst state, and his blood covers all of my sins, but he both demands and gives me power to walk in obedience. I can’t settle into my imperfection and use it as an excuse not to at least try to obey God.
- I am a Christian, but I’m not judgmental. However, because I love God and people, I can’t be silent about sin, Christ, and the judgment to come. This doesn’t mean I’m judgmental. I’m not walking around demanding sinners be lynched. I’m just gently pleading with them to look to Christ and turn from the sin that is killing them.
- I am a Christian, but I don’t have all the answers. Yet while I don’t have all the answers on every matter under the sun, I certainly do believe the Bible is absolutely and clearly truthful in every matter it speaks on. I do have the answers when it comes to who God is, who we are, our sin, and his response to our sin (faith in Jesus, or judgment).
My name is Matt Moore, and I am a Christian. I’m not a merciless, people-hating “Christian.” And I’m not a worldly, sin-accepting “Christian.” I am a Christian who follows the real Jesus Christ. My Jesus – the biblical Jesus – is a Friend and a King. He is a gracious, merciful, and loving Savior, and a holy, just, and righteous Judge. He is patient and kind, and he is not to be trifled with. He is gentle and lowly in heart, and he is a consuming fire. He is the one who bled for sinful men on a Roman Cross, and he is the one who will stain his garments in the blood of his enemies as he tramples them in his wrath. He demands we feed and clothe the hungry, and that we love him so much that our love for our parents looks like hatred. He commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to cut off our right hand or pluck out our right eyes if they cause us to sin.
It is this Jesus – the real Jesus – that we are to befriend and cherish in our hearts. And it is to this Jesus – the real Jesus – that we are to submit and bow the knee.
Exodus 34:6-7, Matthew 11:29, Hebrews 12:29, Revelation 19:13-15, Luke 14:26, Matthew 5:29, John 15:15, Romans 2:4, Matthew 25:34-46