“Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective.”
I listen to a Christian radio station. I read Christian books (along with others not classified that way). I've attended a Christian writing conference. I am indebted to my Christian friends who hold me up consistently in prayer. On Technorati, this very site is classified as a Christian blog. So I understand the appeal of using the label "Christian." It is descriptive, helping us be more discerning in our choices, giving us the tools for spiritual growth.
But sometimes I wonder if it is a selfish convenience which hinders the cause of Christ.
Is it detrimental to nonbelievers to use "Christian" as an adjective? In doing so, do we discourage them from participating in some great music or literature or education strictly because the label turns them off? Many unbelievers may never attend a Christian concert, but a concert that honors God without being labeled that way? Maybe. They would never have a desire to read a Christian book, but if there's a great story without the descriptive adjective tacked on, they may give it whirl.
Adding the term "Christian" to our activities separates us some from the world too, doesn't it? It insinuates we are a special group, making some feel unwelcome. It isolates us from the pain of those not included in our circle. Immersing ourselves in Christian activities and products may be great for our personal spiritual growth, but how does it benefit those who don't share our faith? How will they hear of God's love and mercy if they don't come to our "Christian" gatherings? Does using "Christian" as an adjective close us off from the world, thereby limiting our exposure and opportunity to "share the good news?"
Plus, using the tag "Christian" causes us to be complacent, giving us a false sense of security, turning off our discerning filter. We think if it's "Christian," it's okay for us to participate in which is not always true. I've read plenty of "Christian" books which were not biblical.
Many years ago when Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith crossed over into the pop market, they drew much criticism from Christians for selling out, succumbing to the world in an effort to make more money. But what about the masses of new people exposed to music infused with the Holy Spirit? Whether God's name is mentioned repeatedly or not, does His touch go away in a musician who is devoted to Him? Does God stop using them because they are not specifically targeting fellow Christians? Absolutely not! Didn't Jesus talk to the masses? Didn't He go to those deemed improper by the religious leaders? Don't nonbelievers deserve to be reached too? If they aren't part of our "Christian" groups, how will they be exposed to Truth?
One of my favorite things is finding God in movies and books and songs not deemed "Christian." The recent movie Blind Side is a good example. Never billed as a "Christian" movie, it certainly displayed many Godly themes. How many people would have missed out on it if it had been marketed as "Christian?" And don't even get me started on the number of books published in the "secular" market containing great lessons of Truth.
Is it necessary to proclaim something "Christian" for God to use it? No. God is much bigger than that, my friends. I completely understand why it happens and like the convenience for myself, but do we better serve nonbelievers by not using it?
Well, enough out of me. Time to take a breather and let YOU pipe in on this discussion. What are your thoughts, ideas, frustrations? I am fully aware this quote may bring on dissenting opinions and I welcome them. I want to learn. I desire greater understanding. Give me your honest views. Don't be shy. Join us by linking up below.