As far as I can see it, there are three types of "Christians." In
today's society we tend to consider anyone who is not
noticeably below-average on that society's ethical curve a
"Christian." This of course depends on the opinion of the speaker and
their society's own ethics. If "Christian" is meant to be "like Christ," then how would God look at that use of the word? In short, accepted by a society considering itself "Christian" qualifies, but there is no mention of these qualifications in the Bible or Church tradition,
etc., except Jesus' grief over the Pharisees' error, and Paul's own self-criticism, "If I yet pleased (society?), I would not be the servant of Christ."
Second, there is a person who has been tagged as a Christian through some rite of passage. Depending on the context, this could be birth into a Christian tribe, baptism, chrism, praying an accepted prayer, or speaking in tongues. In this picture, a "right life" tends to bow out in favour of the rite. In this picture, anyone whose name is in the parish book is considered to be in God's, as well. To look at Jesus' words, or Paul's, wouldn't this kind of approach be sufficient grounds for God to strike a group as even being "Church."
The third would be a rather peculiar person. While these other "types" act in ways learned from the "outside in" through conformity to human norms, this third Christian is being transformed from the inside, out, often in such a way to show the workings of some agency above what we know as "natural." The initiation might vary, but the motivation is always a desire to belong to Christ. That person enjoys the inner assurance of the Holy Spirit, and lives a life that reflects that assurance, "being conformed to the image of the likeness of Christ,"
So- What's a "real" Christian? Wouldn't it depend on who we're trying to please?
Friday, November 2
Posted by Patrick Robert Easter