Baptist. Methodist. Catholic. Mormon. Presbyterian. Christian Scientist. Reformed. Calvinist. You know it.
Your brand = True brand. We all know it’s true. My dad likes to say that Baptists are the “one true religion”.
Some people say that “once a Christian, always a Christian”, while other say it’s possible to lose your salvation. Whatever you believe, the odds are in your favor that someone in the room doesn’t believe the same thing.
Some people think that Christians are judgmental, homophobic moralists who think they are the only ones going to heaven and secretly relish that fact that everyone else is going to hell. I’m sure there are some of those out there. But they aren’t my brand of Christians.
The Holy Wars were fought under the banner of Christianity, but it wasn’t a very Christian war. The Westboro Baptists call themselves Christians, but I certainly wouldn’t associate myself with them. Based on award shows, 75% of Hollywood is Christian, but that’s clearly not true.
Then there are all the “Christians” who denounce Christians and say they don’t want to be associated with all the baggage of the title and call themselves “Jesus followers” or some other phrase.
However, the early “Jesus followers” didn’t call themselves Christians either. They were disciples.
Then [Barnabas] went to Tarsus to search for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. (Acts 11:25, 26 HCSB)
If you ask a dozen different people to define “Christian”, you’ll get a dozen answers. But if you ask them to define “disciple” you’re going to get a pretty consistent answer.
“Disciple” is a heavy word. It’s kind of like an apprentice in the business world. Someone who is going to walk step-in-step with a teacher and learn the ways of a master craftsman. It’s someone who wants to learn everything he can about a skilled trade and questions everything his teacher does, but only to be able to understand his actions better.
So the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7 HCSB)
When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple. (Acts 9:29 HCSB)
In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. She was always doing good works and acts of charity. (Acts 9:29 HCSB)
Are you a disciple? Are are you just a Christian?
Here’s a great video of Alice Cooper talking about his faith.