Let’s talk about labels for a bit.
I was reading a friend’s post online and my jaw dropped when he mentioned a conversation with “a Christian agnostic” – because, the way I understand the term “Christian”, it just totally doesn’t go with being an agnostic. Agnostic is what I was before I became a Christian – then I met Jesus and found faith! and by “faith” I don’t mean the feeble, fuzzy “I kind of hope it’s true, maybe” that some call “faith” – no, I mean the Biblical concept of having a 100% certainty that Jesus really is who he said he was and that through his atoning sacrifice I get eternal life and forgiveness for all my sins.
But yes, there are people who use the term “Christian” in different ways, and there’s nothing I can do about it. There are those who wear that label because they were brought up in a Christian home, and have never realised that they need to be born again of the Spirit through making their own, personal decision to follow Jesus. There are people who go to church regularly and think that this makes them Christians. (Insert old joke about how if you went and sat inside a garage you wouldn’t magically turn into a car.) There are people who say they live according to “Christian values” (whatever they think that means) and therefore they call themselves Christians.
There are lots of people who, for one reason or another, wear this label but wouldn’t recognise Christ if he hit them on the nose. (Not that I’m suggesting he is in the habit of doing that…)
So I wear this label but, when I have the space to say a bit more, I prefer more explicit labels. On my Google+ profile, where there’s room to say as much as you like (no offence to Twitter), I describe myself as: a fallible and imperfect follower of Jesus.
I felt it was important to add “fallible and imperfect” not only because that’s what I am, but because it’s part of the deal: being fallible and imperfect is why I need Jesus! Which takes me back to the title of my post: can you be a Christian and…?
There’s all sorts of things people sometimes place at the end of this question – can you be a Christian and do this, that or the other? (I’m totally not getting into specific examples here. That’s not what this post is about.) And of course your answer will depend partly on your understanding of what it means to be a Christian. So all I can say is, from my own point of view, seeing Christian as shorthand for a person who has put their faith in Jesus for their salvation and has been born again of the Spirit – there’s not many things you absolutely can’t do if you’re a Christian, but there are all sorts of things you are likely to feel uncomfortable doing because the Holy Spirit would be bugging you about it… But one thing you definitely can’t do is: not believe in Jesus Christ.
So if you call yourself a Christian agnostic, I suggest you need to re-examine your labels. Christ died to save you from your sins, to give you complete assurance of eternal life! Agnosticism is the opposite of faith. I pray that, just as God opened my eyes to see the truth, he will open yours and lead you to this faith, so that you too can have the joy and the peace of mind I have – the peace and joy that come from knowing that I’m ok with God and I’m ok with him forever.