I have been “churched” for 35 years and I found out in the last several years that I never knew the gospel. I knew the Bible, but that Bible is not the gospel. I knew church, but church is not the gospel. The gospel is a person named Jesus and the message he died to make clear to us. He loves us! And it is finished. We are made fully alive and fully righteous in the eyes of Abba Father, the one that has adopted us as HIS forever and invited us to help invade earth with the Kingdom he longs to see…a kingdom of love!
The gospel is not just good news as you’ve heard it said….it is GREAT news. The greatest news you could ever hear. In fact it is such good news that it is too good to be true for most Christians who have been conditioned with a bad news gospel. The bad news gospel = you are messed up and full of sin so you need to do this, that and the other…and live right…etc., as if this gift from God is somehow depending on you.
Let me say this….my journey into STARTING to understand the gospel has had two major results in my life:
1. I have been swept away by how deep and vast and sweet the love of God is.
2. I have realized how much I am loved and WHO I AM…finally! And have begun to be healed form a life of insecurity and lack of identity. In finding him, I have found me.
And in the process I have come to realize that I not a Christian. When people on a plane or on a street or in a village ask me if I am a Christian, I cringe. I have for years, but could not put my finger on why. Then it hit me. I’m not one. May I share with you the 4 reasons I am no longer a Christian.
1. I watch and listen to people who call themselves “Christians” and just cannot resonate with their values and lifestyle. Most Christians are not following the radical teachings of Jesus, they are just auditing the class. It’s not who I want to be. Just not a helpful term.
2. I ask people all over the place to define a “Christian” and they do not define who I feel called to be. Just not an accurate descriptor.
3. I see the hurt that some Christians cause and long to disassociate from such cruelty. Just not a tribe I long to be in.
4. I look at the Bible and I see the term “Christian” used precious little (2-3 times) and each time it is with negative baggage.
It’s just not helpful. It’s not biblically helpful, it’s not culturally helpful, it’s not relationally helpful.
So what are you, then, Noah?
I am a follower of Jesus.
I am a disciple of Christ.
I am a man who is fascinated with Jesus, his teachings, his life and his spirit…to the degree that I will live and die for him. But, I am not a Christian as most understand it.