Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What I'm not


I have a profile here that does very little to describe me.


I have had it on my mind for a while now to try to describe myself.


Like always, I cannot seem to do that. I can't seem to find that one phrase that sums it up so I feel led to say "what I am not."


I am not a Catholic, I am not a Protestant. I am not a Lutheran, not a Quaker. I'm not a Methodist, not a Mennonite. I'm not Amish, not a Gothardite, not Pentecostal, not Anglican, not a Two by Two, not a Baptist. I'm not Reformed or unreformed. I'm not Evangelical-Free, not LDS, not Plymouth Brethren or any other Brethren. I'm not even "non-denominational" because oddly enough that is a denomination that has seminaries for their pastors to graduate from. I'm also not Charismatic, Presbyterian, Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Torah Observant, Holiness, or Nazarene. I'm not a hybrid like Christian Buddhist or any kind of "kingdom now" or "replacement" theorist. It goes without saying (at this point) that I'm not Seventh Day Adventist, not "Word Faith" or "Name it and Claim it" and I'm not Church of Christ.




The list goes on and on and on .........


Anything I left out---I'm probably not that either.


I don't like to use terms like "Calvinistic" because it sounds like I'm a disciple of John Calvin. Any other man's name you can think of and I will probably feel the same way.


The very early Christians were splitting into "named" groups too. It appears to be convenient. It appears to be human nature. Paul writes, "each of you says, 'I am of Paul' or 'I am of Apollos,' or I am of Cephas,' or 'I am of Christ.'" ---that's what I would have said, by the way. But even that is division. Paul goes on to say, "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?"


A few lines later Paul adds, "For when one says, 'I am of Paul, and another, 'I am of Apollos,' are you not carnal?" Paul goes on the to explain that Christ is THE foundation and he asks this:


"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"


"Let no one boast in men ... you are Christ's and Christ is God's."


All of the above is found in I Corinthians.


In the book of Romans Paul writes, "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not his."


and


"if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."


and


"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God."


because, "The Lord is the Spirit" according to II Cor 3:17 and Phil 1:19 this means that Jesus Christ is IN those who believe in Him and follow Him.


Which brings me back to what I am.


I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I know that doesn't say much in the way of distinguishing what "branch" of Christianity best describes me.


If I say I have Jesus' Spirit in me that aligns me with the Pentecostals and/or the Charismatics in some people's mind.


If I say I wear a headcovering many people will jump to Amish or Mennonite to categorize me.


If I say there is only ONE church, one body, one bride of Christ (which is true) then many will assume I am Catholic.


If I say that I rely solely on the Word of God (the Bible) then the word "fundamentalism" pops up.


If I dress in plain attire that can bring up Quakerism--especially if the guesser knows how important "quiet contemplation" is to me and how I yearn for an unprogrammed meeting only.


What one word would work? What one phrase? "Bible believing Born Again Christian" seems to say it in one phrase but I have had people tell me that the word "Born Again" is abrasive and sounds judgmental and that we ought to avoid the term.


Such a world we live in.


So clearly we are near the Great Apostasy, aka the great falling away. Clearly the Christians are divided and "grouped off" and settled into denominations just like they were at the very begining of the Christian Church history.


People bicker over "inter-denominationalism" and "ecumenism" and some actually think that the building they walk into is the Church. No, that's not true as any student of the Bible can sooner or later see for themselves.


The church is the people, not the building.


Lastly, I want to share that there are so many "kicks" out there to choose from, to get involved with. It makes my head spin. Evidently some people will fall for anything and they can easily lose years of their lives following a "kick" that they later come to realize was not the path they were to be on.


Next time someone asks me what I am I will be at a loss for words, like so many times before. No one has time to hear my long list of what I am not and very few have the patience or true curiosity to find out what I am.


Also, allow me to add that I have lots and lots of Quaker friends, Catholic friends, Pentecostal friends, Anglican friends, Mennonite and Baptist friends, to name a few. They like me and I like them. They, as people, are not the problem and I have no problem with them.


I even have a tiny bit of envy that they have found a title, word or phrase that speaks for them.


So there is peace between us. Amen to that.

3 comments:

Mrs. M. said...

It always amazes me how we as Christians tend to forget that we are of one body...His!

Like you, I am a Bible Believing Born Again Christian and I belong to Jesus Christ!

I attend a Baptist church, not because I identify with them, but because in this little town that I live, it is the only place where the pastor teaches directly from Scripture!

Thank you for this insight...like you I have many friends that identify themselves with denominations, I don't have a problem with them at all :-)

Mrs. M.

Jules said...

AMEN!

Carol said...

Amen! Fabulous post. Me too.... Bible Believing Born Again Christian, thankfully belonging to Jesus Christ.