I love my son's school. He has been at this sweet little Christian school since January of '08. I volunteer as often as I can, have gotten to know each of his teachers, the director, the school secretary and even a couple members of the church staff. Worship time is the last 10 minutes of school and the parents are always invited to come. I care about all parts of his education, but the faith part is the one that just cannot be done the wrong way. The Bible is very clear about godly living and the only way to spend eternity in Heaven... I need to be sure that his school and his family are on the same page, so I go to worship time frequently. This is the time of day that they read from God's word and sing "God songs" (as the kids put it).
The children have been learning the Easter story all week and will continue to do so until Easter break. So far we have heard about how there was a parade for Jesus, people shouting "Hosana", how some people were unhappy about Jesus declaring that He was the king, Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection... As the teachers read that people killed him because they did not like him, the children always interject with, "But it was God's plan all along. God sent his son to die on the cross so that we could be forgiven for our sins and go to heaven!" These children know the truth... A truth that has been taught in many of their homes, but for some that they are learning only at school. Their teachers know the truth and are planting that truth in the hearts of these youngsters. In fact, one of their worship songs today was about that very thing!
As I was chatting with one of his teachers today, I discovered that one of them is Catholic, one is Methodist and the other is Lutheran. This made me smile inside... So many times I have heard people voice the question, "Are Catholics Chrisitians?" Perhaps the confusion comes from the terminology itself... Many Protestants classify themselves as "Christian" and that somehow implies that Catholics are not (since when are Catholics and Protestants opposites?) But what makes one a Christian? Knowing that Jesus Christ is God's son. Admitting that we are all sinners. Accepting that Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we can be forgiven. Seeking God daily and trying to live a life like Christ's. That is what makes one a Christ-following Christian -- heaven bound.
In every church you will find people who say they are Christians but do not really know Jesus. My heart aches for those people, and I pray that they will discover what it truly means to be a Christ follower sooner rather than later. I have heard a lot about different downfalls of the Catholic church, but I have never yet come across a perfect Protestant one either. My own church has not been immune to heartbreaking scandal, disagreement or fallout. However, I firmly believe that our church leadership has always sought the face of God in all circumstances. Any church can become stagnent or troubled (or have a tradition or ritual that you don't understand) but I don't think that's a fair indicator of Christian or not. Isn't it all about, "Who do you say that I am?" Matthew 16:15
I hope this post doesn't start some heated debate about Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, etc... I am completely ill-equipped to speak to any specifics. I just do not think that ones church or particular denomination has anything at all to do with whether or not they are a Christian.
Lord Jesus, I profess and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are my Lord and my Savior. Make my faith strong and help me to live in the victory of the cross by rejecting sin and by seeking and accepting your will for my life.