There’s a strange narrative that has been circulating in our culture; a narrative that boasts about knowing who is saved and not saved.
I came across a post narrating Christ as the man for all people.
Medium author, Ryan Mayfield, described his personal situation of meeting his Hindu friend at the local coffee shop in Delhi, India. They began to discuss their faith, and Mayfield’s friend understood Jesus to be the Christian God. Mayfield responded:
“I said, ‘Well, no, not really. Sure there are some Christians who follow Jesus, but there are also many who do not.’”
Understanding Mayfield’s response, he paints the picture that there are many Christians who follow Jesus’ teaching without being a “Christian.” And the opposite, there are many “Christians” who do not follow Jesus’ teaching but consider themselves Christian.
No practicing Hindu, or any other inquirer, needs to hear this.
First, it leads to doubt. If the Hindu person learns that all “Christians” are not saved (better yet, “Christian” at all), then there is no reason to listen to his “Christian” friend. Why cause doubt? Jesus proclaims himself to be God of His people.
Second, Mayfield’s comments to his friend cause confusion. If Mayfield proclaims to follow the teachings of Jesus but does not identify as a Christian, then does that make him a true Christian? If Jesus is not the Christian God, then He is only some other god to follow in the slew of gods to choose from. Jesus proclaims Himself to be the one and only true God; consequently, Christians follow Him through religious means in personal sacrifice to Him.
Third, Christ reigns over all of culture. If all authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to Christ, then culture ought to be shaped. Jesus’ commands are followed if a new person in Christ loves his Lord. All who are in Christ do love their Lord. It’s why persecution takes place throughout the world and its history. Those who love Christ no longer participate in previous pagan practices because they have been convicted of sin. It's why there is such a thing as Christian culture. The world Christians live in is different from Christ’s kingdom Christians belong.
To be fair, Mayfield did hit on the failure of Christian culture. I think Mayfield was trying to get more at Jesus’ saying in Matthew 7: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Yet, I must share: No Hindu person needs to know that there is a Christian culture that does not know Jesus. This kind of dialogue belongs within the walls of the Church.
And the judgment that is made in the text belongs to Christ, not to us here and now. May it be far from us as Christ-followers to proceed to judge someone's eternity for going to church their whole lives and wanting others to come in so that they can experience the same good God as they have. Christ’s words and Spirit cuts through the marrow of all people. Why must we worry consistently about the traditional culture Christians come from? Should we no have more concern with who they proclaim as Lord over all?
There is no better word for people to hear than what Paul first shared with the Corinthians: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved… I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor 15:1–2a, 3–4).
That’s the narrative we must consistently be known for; the one that proclaims all who believe will be saved. Therefore, let us make that known to people, not a divide within Christian culture.