I read today an article by Jason Byassee, ‘Not a Christian, But a Christ-Follower?‘. It’s an interesting article that calls into questioning some who want to rid themselves of Christian baggage (i.e., all that a particular person doesn’t like about other Christians – crusades, conservatives, liberals, etc.) and say something to the effect of, ‘No, I’m not a Christian; I’m a Christ-follower.’ (Random aside to John Meunier: did I use the semicolon correctly there? I never know when it’s appropriate.) In his article, he says that we can’t just disown each other by changing our label:
This is the part that really irks me the most on eschewing “Christian.” It’s as though we get off scot-free for historical Christian sins (the crusades, racism, you name it) by just calling ourselves something else. Christians believe there is a way to forgiveness and purity—but it passes through confession, restoration, and repaired relationship. The much more costly way to disassociate from those who have done ill in Christ’s name is to set about loving as fanatically as they hated.
I agree with him, and appreciate in particular what he says about the way to purity.
As I read, I thought about those who call themselves Messianic Jews (Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah) and they call themselves that refusing to call themselves Christians. Or at least some of them. I admit I know very little about Messianic Judaism. The little I do know is from those I met in Christian chat rooms or online forums, which isn’t much. And usually I simply got messages that told me I didn’t understand, which there may have been some truth to it. But, I did feel determination to be separate from the rest of us.
Certainly what Jason says (above, and his commentary on the body of Christ in the article) would apply to Messianic Jews as well as Jesus’ ‘Gentile followers’. If anyone has any thoughts on this, I would be interested in hearing about it.