BY DR. AGONSON
In response to the post, No True Christian
The Closet Atheist paid me the kindness of a visit to my blog, and I in turn perused a few posts and pages this atheist published. I think at heart the two of us share, if still in disagreement, a love or fascination with this topic that has concerned man since he was man, which is to say theology, more specifically the existence of God.
One post which caught my eye was titled, No True Christian. Without going into too much detail here, in overview the thesis may be put: there is no consistent example of a Christian. In evidence of this, the author starts in broad strokes, but focuses in on personal experience within a sect of a sect, one branch of Lutheranism within the whole of Christendom, and finds fault that people have differing views.
On one hand, I am glad to put to rest the criticism of Christianity that we are overly dogmatic, that Christianity represents a tyranny of thought. Here The Closet Atheist comes to our defense, listing the rich abundance of free and open disagreement found within my spiritual family. However, this is not the conclusion to which The Closet Atheist came.
These differences seem to prove that we have no unity, that anyone can be a Christian. The charge is true, anyone can be a Christian. Anyone poor or rich, west or east, educated and illiterate can all come (and here’s the key) to Christ.
I think The Closet Atheist fails to understand what Christianity is as a type. It is not a church or a pastor, it is not a mother or a father, it is not a collection of wise teachings; it is evolution. It is growth, slow and sometimes sudden change, moving from the filth of what we are to the throne of God. It is a cleaning up, a changing of clothes, it is direction.
If the position is understood that there are no true Christians, on one level I consent. No Christian on earth, as far as I know, has yet become what he is to be. We are imperfect, and sometimes very wrong; we are all starting our journey from disparate parts of the map. Our unity is in our destination. On that level, I agree that there is no true Christian.
But on another, I can think of one example of what every Christian should be, a person surprisingly not even a Christian, not even a westerner. A simple craftsman who loved and was well nourished in the history and religion of his people, who reportedly had a special relation with their God. Reports show that this man was contentious and rude, loving and fair, the pinnacle of compassion and the obelisk of law, who lived the ideal that everyone should follow.
It’s a bit unfair, perhaps, to use this person in the argument, but it was in forgetting Him that the claim, there is no true Christian, could be made. If I accepted every premise wholesale written in this post, I would still have Christ. Criticize the Church, Christians, me, it has next to no bearing upon who Christ was and is, and He, if you’ll accept Him, is the only true example I can find of what a Christian should be.
P.S. Although you must have heard of or read it by now, C. S. Lewis wrote Mere Christianity in an attempt to explain what basic Christianity is.