Am I a Christian or a Follower of Jesus?

I posted a friend with this comment today.  It is a shorthand communication for those who see a God I can’t believe in either.  J.B.Philipps wrote a book entitled “Your God Is Too Small.” It’s an oldie but a good read.  I sometimes feel like writing a companion volume entitled “Your God Is Too Big” for those who have the “Cosmic Cop, “Merciless Cosmic Judge” Absent Father” Bullying Boss” Super Sales Stock Exchange God” images of God.  I love the words of Wesley concerning Jesus..(one of the greatest ignored carols):

Let earth and Heaven combine,
Angels and men agree,
To praise in songs divine
The incarnate Deity,
Our God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made man.

He laid His glory by,
He wrapped Him in our clay;
Unmarked by human eye,
The latent Godhead lay;
Infant of days He here became,
And bore the mild Immanuel’s name.

See in that infant’s face
The depths of deity,
And labor while ye gaze
To sound the mystery
In vain; ye angels gaze no more,
But fall, and silently adore.

Unsearchable the love
That hath the Savior brought;
The grace is far above
Of men or angels’ thought:
Suffice for us that God, we know,
Our God, is manifest below.

He deigns in flesh t’appear,
Widest extremes to join;
To bring our vileness near,
And make us all divine:
And we the life of God shall know,
For God is manifest below.

Made perfect first in love,
And sanctified by grace,
We shall from earth remove,
And see His glorious face:
His love shall then be fully showed,
And man shall all be lost in God.

Thus I wrote this post to my friend:

I guess I am as offended by the “Christian God” as exhibited by much of personal and historical behaviour of the so-called Christians just as much as some of my friends who have rejected such a God. That’s why I describe myself as a faltering follower of Jesus rather than as a Christian. When people describe how they see God (influenced by the bad behaviour or distorted views of so called “God botherers”) I find I don’t believe in that kind of God either. In Acts it says the followers were called the “people of the way”. At that stage “the way” he had shown them was the way of love..real love. People sold their spare properties so that others would not be without.

One thought on “Am I a Christian or a Follower of Jesus?

  1. How refreshing to hear a ‘back to basics’ message. How did a materially impoverished yet spiritually rich man have his message perverted by such ‘educated’ religious scholars. Throughout history Jesus has been institutionalised. The longer you live in an institution the harder it is to leave and the harder it is to fit in outside and find your way in life. Jesus showed ‘the way’, walked ‘the way’, lived ‘the way’ and even died ‘the way’. John, what a great example to us that Jesus honoured his Father by giving love to all those that needed it yet when his enemies (the institution) wanted to ‘get’ him they could take nothing from him. They did not even have the power to take his life. He lay it down freely for us.

    Let’s try to keep things in perspective. I’m not saying we all should become traveling vagabonds, sponging off the charitable. Nor am I saying the better off must be forced to cough up a tenth of their savings and income. Those that have been blessed by a measure of success in their life have had a place in God’s plan. Why, they even supplied for the needs of Jesus and his disciples. If we did not have rich ‘capitalists’ then who would have the opportunity to provide for the poor. If we all gave away everything, without wisdom, at once, things would grind to a halt.

    The challenge in life is to remain ‘demon free’, and serve only one master. Thanks again John.

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