Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

what's my religious label?

5/5/14

 

The use of the name or label, "Christian", is ironic since the word appears only three times in all the KJV New Testament and then only years after the death of Jesus. Jesus, himself, never used the term and in the Gospel accounts, his followers were known as disciples, which means learners or pupils. Yet, Orthodox  Christianity insists that the entire world is obliged to appropriate this identity, in accordance with church doctrine, or suffer God's wrath.

 

Some have suggested that in going from the identity of disciples of Jesus to that of Christian those who claim Jesus have devolved from being Christ followers to being merely church affiliates. Christianity, in the true sense, has been traded for so called "Churchianity".

 

Under the church, the prominent marks of a Christian have become following the proper salvation procedure first and foremost and then demonstrating a Christian lifestyle. That mode of living is characterized largely by ritual practice: church attendance, prayer, Bible study, tithing, promotion of the church and its doctrines, etc. Much less attention is paid to understanding and practicing the lifestyle lessons and ethics propounded by Jesus during his time on earth. Ritualism and church doctrine have replaced the Golden Rule and the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount as the identifiers of those who follow Jesus.

 

In the rush to rescue people from God's purported wrath, the church is apparently left with no time or energy to actually teach what Jesus taught his disciples. They seem to think that one can be a Christian first and then maybe later learn what Jesus actually said, taught, and demonstrated in his own life relationships. I suspect that the reason for this re-definition of Christ follower is that Jesus' ethics were just a bit too challenging and didn't promote the need for an new institutional religion. The Golden Rule is just too simple and straightforward to provide the justification for human religious leaders and associated elaborate theological systems.