Christian is an over used term often applied by a person to themselves or to others without much thought. The conditions necessary to be labeled or to label one's self a Christian are very minimal. Therefore a new term, Christ Follower, is starting to gain some ground among authentic Christians who want to use a more accurate term to describe themselves. The term "Christian" is a noun where as "Christ Follower" is a verb. It may not be a verb according to your english teacher, but the term Christ Follower implies action. You can be a Christian by applying certain views, values, or attributes to yourself, but to be a Christ Follower you have to be actively pursing a lifestyle that is more like Jesus Christ and less like your old, sinful self.
It does not mean you are perfect, or that you are shouting Bible verses on the street. It does mean that you will not knowingly tolerate any part of your life being out of the bounds of a biblical view for very long. In other words, a self-labeled Christian may be satisfied to have some parts of their life conform to biblical standards and other parts not, but a Christ Follower admits that certain parts of their life do not conform to biblical standards and they begin (and continue) a journey to bring that area of their life into line with God's views.
Many people, leaders, and politicians claim to be a Christian (or maybe even claim to be a Christ Follower), but they are not followers of Christ unless they are actively becoming more like Jesus Christ. If they hold unbiblical core values (or proudly proclaim unbiblical values) for extended periods of time with no intent to change them, then they are stating with their actions that they do not want to be like Christ. This by definition excludes them from a proper definition of a Christ Follower or of a truly authentic Christian.
What are the values that I refer to in the previous paragraph when I say, "core values?" I do not dictate the core values of a biblical worldview or of Jesus Christ. However, I would assert that a proper interpretation of the Bible would includes these core values, to name just a few:
- Believing that the Bible is the true word of God
- That the universe was created by God
- Trust in Jesus Christ as savior and LORD
- Accepting the trinity as true
- That God created the basic family unit (marriage) to be a union of one man and one woman
- That murder is wrong and sinful (including unborn babies)
- Acceptance of the 10 commandments (including the one just mentioned)
- any many more that I should have listed...........
It is important to note that you do not have to immediately accept all
these things as true to be a Christian or a Christ Follower. However, you should (and I would argue must) consider what the bible says on each of these areas and settle for nothing less than having the same view of these issues as Jesus Christ himself. If you accept any view in these areas that does not match the view of Jesus Christ (read the Bible), then you are not actively seeking to live a lifestyle more like Jesus Christ.