There is apparently a movement happening for people to be called Christ followers instead of Christians. Willow Creek Church held its Reveal Conference last week, and this was heavily pushed at the conference. Some audio is available online. I listened to John Ortberg’s session and was very disappointed. He was really pushing this Christ follower theme. He presented different tiers that people fell into in the Bible. Those who heard Jesus and rejected Him. There were also those who believed Jesus and were admirers. And then there were those who acted out all of Jesus’ commands and they were followers. He used this as a way to attack salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. He says these Christians are merely users of Jesus. Those who are believe in Jesus and follow all His teachings and practices are Christ followers. These tiers he sets up do not exist. There are 2 categories, believers and non-believers (sheep and goats). This is really nothing more than works righteousness that is being promoted. Why is it that people always want to add works to what Jesus has already done? By Mr. Orberg’s standards, no one will make it to Heaven. No one is capable of perfectly following all of Jesus’ teachings.
He also makes mention of the fact that the word Christian is only used twice in the Bible. One of those verses is 1 Peter 4:16 – but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. I guess being a Christ follower Ortberg must be better that Peter who glorified God as a Christian. These people can label themselves however they would like, but don’t try to insinuate a higher righteousness. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus and we follow Him as a result of that faith. We do not follow Him as a way to show Him how righteous we are. Salvation is not an act of obedience, but an act of faith. Faith that was granted to us by God. We need to stop inventing new labels to show that we are better than the group that used the old label. The only label I care about is the one on judgment day. Sheep or goat?