Below is my best attempt at defining today's Christianity. My attempt can happen in stages as well. Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to insult anyone or be ugly here. Just wanting to get people thinking. I am sure someone will not enjoy reading this, but sometimes truth hurts.
I have been all of the below at some point in my life. I have been number 4 since around my 25th birthday (I am 38), thank goodness, but hopefully I haven't done too much of what is past that (see below) because that makes me sad and mad at me. So where do you rate?
1. The Seeker: Someone who is neither against God nor for him, but they are still curious and looking for something in life that is different from what they have now. They are at least partially open to checking out the Christian faith.
A. I have to add "Semi-believer" here: Someone who hasn't accepted Christ with some kind of official prayer or coming out or anything, but believes in Christ and likes him, but doesn't understand him, the bible, etc.
2. The Newbie: (some call them Baby Christians, but I think that sounds insulting): Someone who has accepted the Christian faith and accepted Christ in their hearts (numerous reasons why they may choose this) for the first time.
3. Either the Sponge and or instead is the Fire Insurance Agent: Someone who has chosen to go deeper into understanding Christianity, the Lord and such and is more than interested in NOT leaving it at the newbie stage. Often this person chooses and or feels the tug of the Holy Spirit to establish and move into a relationship rather than a religious situation with our God Almighty. OR...they remain saved by grace and have acquired salvation based on the gospel, but are merely in to avoid what we all call Hell.
A. Again I feel the need to add the "In-Limbo" here: Someone who is almost to number 4 and whom is in-between the two. Kind of a fan of Christ and perhaps afraid or not ready to commit, but not someone who is in it just for fire insurance.
4. Disciple or Follower of Christ: Okay, here is where it can get sticky and one has be careful and not get all judgmental or too into the law (legalistic).
This is a difficult stage to write about because unless you get to know someone well, they can claim to be a follower, but really are not. They can be following ideas, theology and rules that are not Biblically correct or sound. PLUS...Christians are not perfect so I feel there is immense pressure on Christians to never mess up or otherwise they really aren't a follower of Christ. With that said, yes, if we know someone well enough and we never see any growth or change in their lives...any, well, we might make assumptions, but if we are followers than like every other human, we are broken and in need of a savior.
One definition: One who has acknowledged that they sin (make mistakes/bad choices), need a savior, has chosen to accept Christ into their heart, and chooses to daily walk, talk and learn about the Lord...in other words has an authentic relationship with a loving, forgiving, grace-giving, just and trustworthy God. They usually believe that the Lord loves us as we are (really), but works in us to change us and prepares us to do good works on earth.
Sometimes we have the above and here is where we get into trouble:
1. We act like Pharisees and get all holier-than-thou and think we have all the answers.
2. We act like we are God (all-omnipresent and omniscient).
3. We give horrible answers to others about their questions about God and such.
4. We give platitudes and quick fixes (see the three above as to why).
And my LEAST favorite:5. We push rules and ways of living on others (esp. seekers) rather than loving them where they are!!! Ya know the cliche of love the sinner and hate the sin. We need to practice that hard!
Okay, your turn, what do you think of the above? Be honest, but be kind.