I was browsing through some websites the other day when I came across a statement that really made me think. I'm going to re-phrase it a bit because I can't remember the exact wording. It went something like this.
Many Christians, although they are saved, are not really Christians, and should not call themselves by that name.
Now I know that a lot of UNsaved people call themselves Christians, and they aren't, but saved means Christian. Period. Who does this guy think he is saying saved people aren't Christians. Only God can really see a person's heart. But I read further in the article, and the author explained why he had made such a statement. It started to make sense to me. I found myself agreeing with him more and more, even though my initial reaction was that he was way out in left field.
First of all one must understand the definition of the word "Christian." Christian literally means "little Christ." Therefore, a Christian is someone who reflects Christ, someone who imitates Christ, someone who follows Christ. Now I believe the author had a valid point. Simply being saved does not make one a Christian. Christian goes way beyond that. Is it possible to profess to be saved and not follow Christ? I believe it is, only because I have seen it. In no way am I saying that I can see the hearts of everyone who says they are saved and know for sure that they are or they aren't. However, the Bible does say we will know them by their fruit (Matt 7:16-20; 12:33). Many so-called Christians are living their own style of Christianity instead of Christ's style of Christianity. Following Christ can only come from learning about Him, and that goes back to reading, studying, and living the Word of God. After all Jesus is the Word (John 1:1, 14)!
I have pondered this a lot. Yes, not all saved people are Christians in the full sense of the word. But then the question comes can we ever truly live up to the title Christian? We will sin even though we are saved, and Jesus never sinned. Is it fair to say someone isn't a Christian even though they are saved? Maybe they need more teaching, encouragement, and discipleship. However, Christian barely stands for anything anymore. Christian can mean anything from devout Catholic, to emerging churches who worship culture. People are called Christians who deny the virgin birth, the blood atonement, the literal return of Christ, the Trinity, and all sorts of other fundamentals of the faith. People are called Christians who hold to heresies like Calvinism, Unitarianism, baptismal regeneration, prosperity gospel, loss of salvation, and second baptism of the Holy Spirit. Cults like the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses call themselves Christian, and they deny the deity of Christ. Are any of these type of people saved? Some of them probably are, but... are they Christians?
Final thought. Being a Christian is a lot more than just praying a prayer. It's an entire lifestyle. It must permeate every aspect of your being, body, soul, and spirit. It goes far beyond what church you attend and what theology you believe (although those things are important). It begins with Christ, and it ends with Christ.
What do you think? Are all saved people Christians? Is everyone who calls themselves a Christian really a Christian? What truly makes someone worthy of the title Christian?