Gaining a Better Understanding of the Word ‘Christian’

I have experienced various reactions from people after admitting to being a Christian.

Someone once asked me: “Is that something to do with Cliff Richard?” and someone else evidently thought that ‘born again Christian’ was a separate religion in its own right!

As a contractor, I have been interviewed for jobs on many occasions – and have been mysteriously turned down without any reason being given on about three occasions, after admitting at the interview that I am a Christian. Perhaps I was pigeonholed in the interviewer’s mind as a ‘Religious weirdo’. Nowadays, I don’t mention it at interviews – they’ll find out when I get there! On another three occasions, I’ve started the job, only to discover that my interviewer is a Christian! I do wear a fish badge in my lapel when attending interviews. One interviewer spotted it and asked me if being a Christian helped me in my work (it turned out he wasn’t a Christian but his wife was). I didn’t get the job.

Here in England our state church is the Church of England (abbreviated as ‘C of E’). Many people, when asked their religion, reply ‘C of E’, when they haven’t been near a church for years (apart from weddings, christenings and funerals). I don’t attend a C of E church (I attend a Baptist church), but I am concerned about the way some high ranking members of the C of E establishment deny basic biblical truths.

We have C of E bishops who don’t believe in the virgin birth, others who embrace universalism (“it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere” or “all religions lead to God”), and others who clearly do not believe that Jesus Christ will one day return.

A local C of E church near to where I live has two members (to my knowledge) who indulge in spiritualism (one of whom lived near my mother). What are they preaching there for that to happen?

Scripture tells us that in the ‘last days’, there will be an ‘apostate church’ – one that has ‘fallen away’ from the basic biblical truths. I hope that our state church here in this country is not going to degenerate into fulfilling that prophecy!

On the plus side, there are some C of E churches, which are very evangelistic and where the Gospel is preached well (the C of E church my wife occasionally attends is one).

Here, we hear Christians use the term ‘nominal Christian’ to describe someone who occasionally attends a church without having any personal commitment to Christ. Others use the word ‘Churchgoer’ to describe anyone who goes to a church regardless of their commitment to Christ.

Many Jews regard as ‘Christian’, people who don’t actually have a religion, but have been christened in a C of E church.

To me, the term ‘Christian’ is crystal clear: it’s someone who has accepted Jesus Christ into their life as personal Lord and Saviour, by asking his forgiveness for all their sins, (‘sin’ being anything (however small) short of the absolute perfect holiness God showed us in Jesus). In other words: a follower of Jesus.