My beloved father, Hesketh Johnson, who has been a Christian for 70 years and a pastor for about as long, asked me the other day what I think it means to be “saved”. I answered quickly, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”. Feeling it was too simplistic an answer, I follow ed up with “… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9, ESV) My dad is asking everyone the same question these days, I think he wants to know what each of his loved ones believe so that he can have peace in these later years.
Sometimes believing isn’t so easy.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my answer and what it means – to me – to be a Christian. It’s such a complex term in “world-speak” and even more convoluted in “church-speak”. There are so many versions, so many descriptions, so many interpretations. As soon as I give what I think is a simple, clear answer, the guillotine comes smashing down. I’ve been going through a lot of beheadings—or at least some good sound thrashings—lately from a variety of sources and it’s disturbing. Even more distressing—heartbreaking, actually—is the vitriol with which some defend their theology. Before I go any further, let me be clear — I’m a novice, a layman’s layman at best, I ask my dad about almost everything that requires genuine Biblical knowledge and understanding. Continue reading