Christian vs Christ-follower

There’s an interesting Christian vs Christ-follower debate going on in Christian (or should that be Christ-following) circles just now.

It seems to be an attempt to reclaim the message and person of Jesus of Nazareth — Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Messiah — from popular Church culture. A refocus on what following Jesus is really about.

Christianity is about

  • a personal relationship with Jesus
  • putting Jesus first in everything you do
  • following Jesus in your every day life, in everything you do
  • demonstrating who Jesus is by the way that you live your life, the way that you speak, the respect that you give others

Christianity is not about

  • focusing on the external signs of living in the Church sub-culture (e.g. wearing WWJD wrist bands, listening only to Christian bands like Delirious?
  • simply attending Church week-in-week out
  • simply believing without putting your faith into action (see Epistle of St James for details)

It’s not about how you look on the outside (wearing the right clothes to go to church), it’s about offering who you are on the inside to Jesus.


And while there is something good and healthy about this drive — anything that truly helps people to reconnect their relationship with Jesus has to be a good thing — I wouldn’t want folks to get the message that everything about the current Church culture is bad; that all Christians who attend Church do not try to follow Jesus closely.

There is a wealth of riches in the Church today, some of which get obscured sadly by emphases on buildings, committees, ‘flavours’ of worship and at worst scandal.

So much of what can be regarded as church traditions are simply frameworks for helping us to engage with God; like windows to look out of onto one particular aspect of who God is. The problem is when you stop looking through the window and start staring at the window itself.

I’m a Christ Follower (Mac vs PC parody)

Here are a few video examples of what I’ve been clumsily trying to describe. The following are made by Community Christian Church in Chigago.

  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.1 (Books)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.2 (Suit)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.3 (jPod)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.4 (Holy Spirit Hard Drive)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.5 (Church planter)
  • I’m a Christ Follower Pt.6 (Counselling)

Christian vs Christ Follower

The following YouTube clip comes with the following disclaimer:

The purpose of this video is not, in any way, to create division. It is not intended to say that Christianity is bad or that all Christians are bad.

The intent was to say that following a set of Christian ideals or traditions without Christ being the true focus, following Christianity rather than following after Christ himself, is not what a relationship with Christ is all about.

(Christian vs. Christ Follower on YouTube.)

Your thoughts?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about these videos.

I’ll read them after I get back from Church, where I’ll be wearing my WWJD wristband under my cassock-alb and quietly singing Delirious? songs under my breath during the hymns! 😉

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

3 thoughts on “Christian vs Christ-follower”

  1. okay, so aside from the unwarranted “loose firewire” gag on no 4, those clips are pretty cool.

    if anything, a good place to start some conversation and see what happens. I love the church and I think Jesus does too. However what the church is and what it’s perceived to be are not the same. the church is the body of Christ on the earth. I know we’ve lost sight of that a lot during our history.

    The whole debate on Christian vs Christ-follower is an interesting one. Paul writes to the Corinthian church that there is a “secret and hidden wisdom” God wants to reveal to the mature. I think this current discussion is one where God is calling His people to maturity.

    One of the marks of maturity is that we have a greater sense of perspective and some of the dogma is stripped away. Let’s grow us, let God’s love change our hearts from stone to something more real and we can get on with loving the world as we have been loved.

  2. Pingback: Relationship » Christian vs Christ-follower

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