“I hate how Christians feel the need to label themselves. Baptist this. Pentecostal that. Calvinistic the other. I’m just a Christian. I just love Jesus.”
Who could argue with that sentiment?
Just hours before his arrest, and crucifixion for the sins of the world, Jesus prayed like this (recorded in John 17):
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
So, isn’t it clear that Jesus wanted his people to be united?
And isn’t it clear, then, that the idea of different denominations, and labels, and prefixes used by Christians, must be hateful to Jesus?
Over the next few posts, I want to explore some reasons why labels, descriptions beyond simply ‘Christian’, can be helpful for use by believers in Jesus. I also hope to highlight some of the tensions and negatives of using labels.
I’ve got ideas in my head of what I’d like to write about. But if you have views on why labels are helpful / awful / neutral, I’d love to hear from you below.