I am a Christian. That may bother you, even offend you; that is precisely why I write this apology.
Perhaps I should clarify: by “Christian”, I mean I am a follower of Jesus. I believe that Jesus died on a Roman cross to pay the set penalty for the sin of all people (by “sin” I mean essentially our refusal to submit to the rule of God). I believe that Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead and is now alive and well and ruling a kingdom from heaven. His gathered followers are called the Church, so I am also part of his Church. (That word may also offend you!)
Early in history, followers of Jesus were called Christians. Back then, it was clearly understood what “Christian” meant. But now, it seems that it means different things to different people. Some call themselves Christian simply because of the culture they were born into – or because they are not Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist etc. It was a “box they checked” for “religion”.
In early church times, taking the name Christian could cost a person their life; no-one would not call themselves a Christian unless they were a fully convinced follower of Jesus. Later however, Christianity became an accepted institution so it became easy to take the name – even advantageous.
So we found ourselves in a dangerous place where:
– the name “Christian” can mean many things, including very little, and
– the name “Christian” can be taken for personal benefit, credibility and leverage.
The results have been tragic. “Christians” have committed all manner of wicked deeds. “Christians” have presented a picture of Christ that has pushed people away from their saviour instead of drawing them to him. “Christians” have hindered people from finding the very grace of God that we all need.
As one who bears the same name, I humbly apologise. And I confess that I too have probably hindered some from finding their saviour; for that I am deeply sorry.
If you have read this far, I thank you – please continue reading as I try to “fix what was broken”:
The truth is, we all need a saviour – and Jesus came to be that saviour for all people – people of all cultures, races, lifestyles and religious backgrounds. He is not an exclusive saviour, he did all that he did for every one of us.
Another truth is, although Jesus is completely righteous, his followers are only on a road towards that righteousness. So please don’t confuse the saviour with his followers; we are all works in progress, we will quite possibly let you down at some stage – but Jesus will not let you down!
It does not matter where you come from, what you look like, what you sound like, what you think is good or bad… even what you believe right now. Jesus’ offer of salvation is there for you.
With all my heart, I hope you will forgive those who have misrepresented Jesus to you and take another look at him. If you do, I believe you will be in awe of who you find.