Saturday, April 7, 2007

What is a Christian?

CNN has recently put together a handful of articles, programs, and videoblogs for Easter weekend. Anderson Cooper 360 has shown a videoblog or two about Christian groups doing stuff such as opening the "Creation museum," which shows you the flip side to the evolution argument.

A few things I found:

Now, I have not read or listened to all of these reports in their entirety, but I just wanted to bring up something that I have noticed. It seems to me that the media dances around this question of "What is a Christian?" I don't think they are really trying to answer the question meaningfully. I think they should change the question to "Who are the most interesting Christians out there and how can we report on them to get people to watch our show and go to our website?"

I'm not saying that all of the articles and reports they publish are biased or wrong, it's just that they often focus on what Christians believe about politics, abortion, music, global warming, etc. I like news that focuses on the important stuff that Christians believe.

My church is made up of a wide variety of types of people. And we are growing fast. How do we stay unified with around 6,000 in attendance at 3 different campuses now? Well it's certainly not just because we are Christians. There are so many churches break up and split apart because of arguments, disagreeing beliefs, etc. So how come we haven't?

When it comes to doctrine, culture, preferences, traditions, lifestyles, politics, behavior, etc., Mars Hill Church takes a “closed-hand/open-hand” approach. The closed hand hangs onto the non-negotiable tenants of Christian orthodoxy: sin is the problem, Jesus is the answer, the Bible is true, and Hell is hot.
The open hand, however, allows room for differences when it comes to secondary matters; we liberally allow freedom for conscience and wisdom to guide where the Bible is silent. The open hand fosters unity among the diversity of expressions found in the Mars Hill congregation: Democrats and Republicans, soccer moms and indie rockers, carnivores and vegans, trendy bohemians and Microsoft nerds.
Hence, Mars Hill Church is in favor of good beer (in moderation), great sex (in marriage), and even tattoos (Jesus has one). But our goal must always be love and concern for our friends so that we don’t enjoy our freedom at the expense of their faith.
In this way, we are seeking to simultaneously heed the Bible’s commands to have sound doctrine (1Timothy 4:16; Titus 1:9, 2:1), to love our Christian brothers and sisters (1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:7-21), and to avoid unnecessary divisions (Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10, 12:25; Titus 3:10). [

I'm proud that we can say that Jesus is the senior pastor of our church. A church isn't a building. It's a group of people. And if that group of people disagrees and fights about secondary beliefs that aren't the real ones that are supposed to be uniting Christians together, then they are forgetting about pleasing God. They are forgetting about what He did for us on the cross. Fighting about non-issues throws that all away.

The two main issues that Christians should be focusing on are 1) Loving God, and 2) Loving others. Jesus said so.

It's nice that the media hypes up Easter weekend by publishing a bunch of Christian-related stuff, but it all seems like fluff to me. I like stuff that really means something. Let's get to the real issues in life.