Sunday, July 13, 2008

Do You Know Jesus Christ?

John Armstrong asks this question in the body of his post, "What is a Christian?" :

I think this is the question: Do you know Jesus Christ? Not, "Have you prayed a prayer to accept Jesus into your heart?" And the question is not, "Are you a church member?" Or, "Do you know the Bible?" Or, "Did you get training in theology?" It is not even about the sacraments or holding to the correct creedal understanding of salvation. The question is: Do you know Jesus Christ?

This question has always been a difficult one for me for a number of reasons. Mostly due to the extra-biblical baggage added to it by whatever circle I've been part of. Evangelical types often place importance on whether somebody is a true Christian by the quality and consistency of one's "personal quiet time", how often they "witness", etc. Staunch Calvinists often require that one know all their pet doctrines. Others place special emphasis in knowing Jesus on gushy feelings or other-worldly experiences or formulas for victorious living.

Well, I'm personal quiet time challenged, I'm not an evangelist, and we're saved by God's grace, not by knowing the correct things about God's grace. I'm not "intimate" with God as many people require. I'm not "intimate" with anybody, really. Okay, I am married with children, but I'm not overly emotional and am not a touchy feely type. I don't spew my feelings every five minutes. "Abba" Father is portrayed a bit more intimately than I'm used to in relating to others.

Maybe I really do know Jesus because all the other junk doesn't register with me.


  1. That's a great question and I think part of my whole faith quest - to see what i can know about Jesus and learn from his teachings. It is a tough question because of the baggage - you got that right!

    But I consider myself a follower of Jesus and his teachings - in that I try to incorporate them into my lifestyle - and elaborate upon them in my daily existence.

    As for the touchy feely thing - I am there with you on that one - that's just not my cup of tea either.

  2. I think John Armstrong's question on "What is a Christian?" (Perhaps he means, "Who is a Christian?"?) is not a good one at all. But that could largely hinge on how he is defining the word "know". Satan knows Jesus quite well and they have conversed many times, perhaps they still do regularly for all we know. I think that it is clear that Satan is not a Christian even though he knows Jesus.

    The Bible gives the answer much better in Romans 10:9-11. A Christian is one who believes (or, trusts) in Jesus, as defined in the text. Also a good reading of 1 John will give many very unambiguous indicators of what a Christian will be like.

    For some of what I think is some good preaching on that, check out the series, titled, "Will the Real Christian Please Stand Up", here -

    Yes, I know you have already heard these messages Steve :-p Just putting that here if any other interested party might actually read my response....

    See ya!