As I grew up, our family fellowshipped with a variety of groups including non-denominational, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, and home church groups. Each group focused on a favorite subset of Biblical truth. Each group would identify with their focus truth. For example, the name Seventh Day Adventist means a person who observes the sabbath of the Bible, and anticipates Christ’s second coming or Advent. A Baptist, on the other hand, adheres to believer’s baptism, rather than infant baptism.
True, the Bible promises Christ’s return and teaches the seventh day sabbath and believer’s baptism. Yet, which is greater, to identify with a particular truth, or in Jesus, the Truth Incarnate? To identify with a particular teaching, or with the Teacher himself?
Paul chided the believers in Corinth saying, “every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” In Paul’s day, you might identify with Paul, Apollos, Peter, or Christ. Today, we may add Luther, Piper, Spurgeon, Calvin, and others. Almost two thousand years later, there are at least as many more good men and movements with which to align. I could label myself a Baptist, or Seventh Day Adventist, or Methodist, or Lutheran; each of those labels are packed with meaning and rich history. Yet, in two thousand years, I find no label to eclipse, replace, or refine the “Christian” label. Like many things of value, its virtue has been maligned, its meaning counterfeit, and its reputation borrowed, yet its value unmatched.
I want to be a Christian in the sense in which the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch where a Christian is someone who believed Christ, lived for Him, and would die for Him.