Saturday, September 12, 2015


"I'm a Christian but I'm not..." so goes most of my generation that claims Christianity.

Most recently, this has appeared in Buzzfeed's video. Read this, it addresses a lot of good commentary, which I do not intend to repeat. It also has a transcript.

This phrase, this meme--it is that viral--serves to distinguish the one saying it from the Church. "I'm a Christian, but don't bundle me with all those other Christians." Are we so content to separate from our brothers and sisters? Are we not supposed to seek unity in the body of Christ?

Is this what Paul meant by "stir one another up to love and good works"? Is this what it is to love the body of Christ? Can we respond to 1 John 4: 20 "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." by honestly saying that we have loved our brothers?

There is a virus in our culture. We love to hate. Everyone hates Americans, even Americans ("I'm an American, but I'm not culturally insensitive"), and this is the same language, the same attitude, but it is Christians hating Christians. We try to make ourselves look cool by mocking our own group with those we want to look cool to. It is ugly. These are the schismatics of our day, who would divide the body of Christ for the sake of human glory, who refuse the hard work of "...discern[ing] what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2). Let us rather by transformed as a holy people.

I've written articles on most of the issues being raised (if flippantly) in these "I'm a Christian, but I'm not..."s, and I haven't seen anything to suggest my arguments are wrong. I've seen arguments that go contrary to my own, but been unconvinced by them. "To go against conscience is neither right nor safe," (Luther) particularly conscience informed by Scripture and observed by reason in submission to Scripture.

They will know we are Christians by our love (John 13:35), but "I'm a Christian but I'm not like the stereotypical Christian" does not sound like love. Even if it were right to not be those things that people are saying they are not, we are not saved by what we are not. We are not saved by being educated, pro-gay-(")marriage("), feminist, or any of the other things the recent video. Neither are we saved by being the opposite. We are saved by the grace of God for us when we were sinners, and we have been justified by his grace, so that we are no longer merely "not perfect" but also perfect before God because we are clothed with the perfection of Christ. We may not end with "I'm not perfect" but must also recognize that this is a problem we cannot handle, and which must be handled.

Our love is a transformational love, for Christ's love has transformed us. It is a sacrificial love, for Christ suffered and died for us. It is an offensive love, for Christ did not die for being inoffensive.

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.'
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

This text follows the part where Paul appeals to the Corinthians to be united. We must be content with this, which appears as foolishness to the world, or we will be divided, and we will dilute the gospel. We must present the gospel in all of the offensiveness which it has, "...lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power" 1 Corinthians 1:17

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