Recently I attended a parachurch gathering where a handful of teenagers told about what God was doing in their life through this organization. It was a pretty fun evening and it honestly helped me to see how much of a heart I still have for teenagers. Listening to them talk really stirred up in me a desire for solid discipleship among teenagers. One verse that kept stirring through my head was this one:
…having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
I am still not certain if I want to assign the full weight of that verse to my experience. In the context this is speaking about the watered-down faith of the “last days”. It also ends with the injunction to “Avoid such people”. That is a strong word, so I am a quite reluctant to assign the full force of this verse to what I witnessed at this event.
What made me think of that verse was the fact that it took a good hour for me to hear the name of Jesus, and it was only at the closing prayer did I hear “Christ” being used. Numerous times I heard “God” thrown around as their helper for getting through difficult stuff. I heard about how amazing this camp experience was where they got to learn about their friends, learn about themselves, and learn about God.
Call me a doctrine nazi if you want, but when I’m at a Christian event for an hour without hearing the name of Christ my spidey-senses start to tingle. And I’m not sure that is necessarily bad. It reminds me of James 2 where we see that even the demons believe that “God is one”. Demons are perfectly content throwing around the term “God”. But it’s when we attach it to YHWH or Jesus the Christ that they begin to shudder.
I find most people are somewhat comfortable with the god of moralistic therapeutic deism. And so it’s nothing for them to throw around the term “god”. Also in recent days there has been an influx of “Jesus is my homeboy” type of shirts. So, it means very little nowadays for people to throw around the name of Jesus. What most people are uncomfortable with are referring to God as “The Lord” and Jesus as “the Christ”.
That is why I listen for the “C” Word. Certainly, people can refer to Jesus as the Christ and not really know what they are saying. Some might use it as a term of derision other might think it’s the last name of that hip-bearded guy named Jesus. But if somebody is very reticent to use the term “Christ” it makes me a little uneasy.
What about you? Does it cause you a little concern if you never hear the name of Christ? Am I weird here?