• Jeffrey Perry

"Christian" is not an adjective

I’m not going to lie. I hated English class.

Being home-schooled by a grammar Nazi pretty much instilled this disdain in me from an early age. I mean really, who cares about verb-tense, or prepositional phrases?

Well, all this changed around 10th grade for me. I began to gain an appreciation for the things I had been taught and the way I had been taught them. English became enjoyable (except diagramming, ugh) to study and understand.

Grammatically speaking every sentence should have a noun and a verb. For example, the word Christian is a noun. A Christian is a person who follows Jesus. Follow is a verb.

Jesus used verbs all the time. Verbs like love, come, rest, learn, hear, etc. But somewhere along the line, we tried to make Christian an adjective instead of being about verbs.

“There is no such thing a Christian Democrat”

“I love Christian comedy!”

“There is no such thing as Christian *Insert Noun*”

These are all phases that we have heard at some point, and if we are being honest, we have probably used them ourselves. What I would like to submit, is that there is no ‘Christian’ anything.

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot said in an interview, “I am a Christian and I make music. The music is not saved. It is not Christian.” Whether we agree with him on everything or not, he had the right idea.

Around 300 AD the word Christendom was coined, which is just another word for “Christian culture” (For more in Christendom, click here). This can be seen evidently in the “Bible Belt” where to be a Christian just means to be part of that ‘southern’, conservative, culture.

Ethan Renoe put it like this, 

“When Christianity became widely accepted across western culture and Christendom became the predominant form of belief and action, this made room for “Christian things” to emerge.

And this is where the problem lies. Going back to what Jon Foreman said, there are no Christian ‘things’ but only people that follow Christ who do things. This is the type of people that we should be, and this is the type of action that we should be showing to the world. We ought not be seeking out a ‘Christian’ politician (we can see where that has gotten us) but we do need politicians who are followers of Christ.

By decreasing Christianity to an adjective when we, as stated by Tullian Tchividjian, “fail to equip our people to apply their Christian faith to everything they do, everywhere they are.”

The world does not need more Christian sports heroes, Christian actors, or Christian business owners. The world needs more people who are following Christ, acting like Christ, and telling people about Christ, while operating our daily lives for His glory. May we be the ones that fix this!

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