Four terrible misuses of the word 'Christian'

Rob Bell once wrote that “‘Christian’ is a great noun, but a poor adjective.” For anyone like me who struggled with those terms at school, I think he was suggesting that the word makes a great badge for an individual, but a bad way of delineating a marketing segment.

Bell’s words (written in Velvet Elvis) are a reaction against the Church subculture’s predisposition to hand out the ‘Christian’ label. Sometimes this has some fairly extraordinary applications (you can buy Christian socks, Christian sweets and Christian Top Trumps), but often the word’s use is more culturally entrenched. We use it as shorthand to describe things which clearly complement our worldview, or which are marketed directly as such. We’ve become very used these phrases. But in some cases, I think they’re also deeply problematic.

Rather than noun or adjective, we should view “Christian” as a verb.

“Christian” denotes action.

As St. James told us, we are called not just to sit passively and listen to the Word, but we are called to action to be “doers” of the Word.

Peace and all good!

I would also submit that “Christian” denotes non-action as in non retaliation. Especially in terms of our culture of death.


“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35 (New American Bible, Revised Edition)

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