In this age of intersectionality, identity politics, and a certain segment of society dividing everyone into groups, I have noticed a disturbing trend of some starting to consider themselves modified Christians. What is a modified Christian, you ask?
A Black Christian.
An American Christian.
A Republican Christian.
A Socialist Christian.
A Gay Christian.
Leaving aside for the moment that two of the above are generally a contradiction in terms, a modified Christian is someone who allows a different part of their being to modify their Christianity. These people have their faith entirely backwards, allowing some temporary and temporal facet of this world to affect and change the way they practice their faith.
Your Christianity Should Modify Everything About You
The fact is that Jesus Christ, His kingdom, and all those who have His Spirit actually transcend this world and everything about it. Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world,” and indeed, His eternal kingdom will not be established on this planet at all. Nothing about our cultural, political, or national identities will cross into eternity. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear that we get to Heaven by God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice alone. “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” What that means is there will not be a single soul in eternity saying “Yeah, I got here because I gave so much to the poor,” or “I got in because I was a good father and husband.” It also means no one will care or boast of how American they were, how Conservative they were, how “Black” they were, how old, young, rich, poor, smart, stupid, or any adjective at all. The only praise in Heaven will be for Jesus Christ, the Father, and the Spirit. We will boast of them, and only them. Why then, do some Christians choose to modify the adjective of their faith here on Earth? What exactly does it mean to be a “Black Christian?” How is being an “American Christian” any different than a French one? Ought I not rather consider myself a Christian first, who just happens to be Black, or American, or Conservative, or a lawyer? Shouldn’t my faith in Christ change all of those things about me as opposed to one of them changing the way I practice my devotion to Him?
Why Does It Matter?
On Earth, some divisions are necessary; nations, tribes, tongues, ideologies, etc. help us in our limited, mortal frames to associate more easily. When it comes to Heaven, however, all of those distinctions will become totally irrelevant and will likely be forgotten. Practice now – as a Christian – seeing other Christians as Christians who also happen to be Black, White, Greek, Liberal, Conservative, American, Chinese, etc. At the same time keep the main thing the main thing in your own life; to see and identify yourself as a Christian first and foremost. That should change everything about you, so when you have to make decisions as an “American Christian,” you make the better choice as a Christian who also happens to be an American. One example of this would be with the current sexual politics in the U.S. Whereas the law and American system says all is equal, A-OK, gays can be married, or even that people can change their gender at will, true Christian practice disagrees. What is true? Should you address a person born male as female? Quid es veritas? So when confronted with a conflict between your own Christian faith and the holes in the Constitution that allow for these kinds of interpretations, what do you do?
Are you an American Christian, or a Christian American? Because they will give two different answers that shows which adjective modifies the other. The same is true for accepting many of this nation’s practices like abortion, drug use, immigration policies, divorce, etc. Do you look at the issues as an American, or do you look at them as a Christian? Sometimes those two things are in conflict, and one or the other must be the primary guide of your judgment. No one can serve two masters.
I love that the Bible answers all the important questions in life. When it comes to intersectionality and identity politics, the Bible’s answer is to “not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the Spirit of God.” Don’t ever describe yourself as an [adjective] Christian; unless you’re talking about denominations which is a whole different subject. Just about every adjective you can think of to describe yourself is going to end one day and no longer actually describe you. Only God and His Word are eternal, so let that Word modify everything about you and everything you think, say, or do.