"I was wondering - what Christian denomination do you belong to?" a friend recently asked me. It is, for people like me, an awkward question... I am a Christian but I don't belong to a denomination. So, when I say,"I am just a Christian" faces tend to scrunch a little. The underlying question, the real question, is- What kind of Christian are you? (to which the honest answer would be- 'not a very good one'). People of Christendom want to know 'What is your brand?'
Debbie Millman said,
"Brands signify our beliefs."
Do you drive a Chevy or a Ford, drink domestic or imported, wear Toms or Target, PC or Mac...? Everyone notices brands. Brands help us to categorize; they have become our aid-de-camps, completing our if/then propositions. If you wear __________ then you are ____________. My friend wanted to know what dogma I wear.
'What do you believe?' is an old question; the Christian Church has wrestled with it for centuries, and one group came up with this:
- The Apostles' Creed
- I believe in God,
- the Father almighty,
- Creator of heaven and earth,
- and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
- who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
- born of the Virgin Mary,
- suffered under Pontius Pilate,
- was crucified, died and was buried;
- he descended into hell;
- on the third day he rose again from the dead;
- he ascended into heaven,
- and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
- from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
- I believe in the Holy Spirit,
- the holy catholic Church,
- the communion of saints,
- the forgiveness of sins,
- the resurrection of the body,
- and life everlasting.
The Apostles' Creed covers the essentials of the brand called Christian. Somewhere along the Way something happened...People, Ideas, Non-essentials... until just Christian wasn't enough. Eugene Peterson said,
"A healthy noun doesn't need adjectives. Adjectives clutter a noun that is robust. But if the noun is culture-damaged or culture-diseased, adjectives are necessary."
Jesus knows us. Before He was crucified, He prayed for us-
"I'm praying not only for them (the disciples with me now), but also for those who will believe in Me because of them and their witness about Me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind- just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that You, in fact, sent Me."
John 17:20,21 The Message