The Same Old Thing

“If they must be Christians, let them at least be Christians with a difference.”  Screwtape the demon in The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

 

What kind of Christian are you?  Are you a grace Christian or a law Christian?  Are you a traditional, or contemporary, or edge Christian?  Are you an old music Christian or a new music Christian or a no music Christian?  Are you a Sproul Christian, a Bell Christian, a Swindoll Christian, or a Warren Christian?  What is your difference from all those other Christians out there?

It is fascinating to listen to believers argue or to read their online arguments.  So often we focus on our differences, the new teaching that someone has come up with to make us different or the old teaching we have decided to follow in order to be different.  The differences are the focus of so much conversation. 

But rarely is Jesus mentioned.  And many of those who do mention Jesus use Him in support of their ideas.  I wonder if the whole thing would change if we were required to say, “Jesus and…” 

“I am a Jesus and ancient ways Christian.” 

“I am a Jesus and contemporary music Christian.” 

“I am a Jesus and certain Old Testament laws Christian.” 

“I am a Jesus and C. S. Lewis Christian.” 

“I am a Jesus and house church Christian.”

So silly!  Yet, we are willing to argue if we can just leave the reference to Jesus out of the conversation. 

But Jesus is what it means to be Christian.  We don’t get to leave Him out.  If He is left out, there is no Christian. 

The next time you encounter some new teaching, even if it sounds exciting, stop and ask if it is centered on Jesus.  Does Jesus matter in this new teaching?  Is it about Him? 

The day will come when the only thing that matters is the old salvation story centered on Jesus.  He came to save me.  Once I was lost and now I belong to Jesus.  It’s all about Him and it doesn’t matter that it’s the same old story from so long ago.  It was true then and it is true today.

Uncle Screwtape the demon goes on (in the 25th chapter of The Screwtape Letters) to say this:

“The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart—an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship.”

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