By Guest Blogger: Alexandra T. Armstrong
Retaining the identity of Christ is crucial to Christianity
I am not Alexandra Armstrong the nationally known financial writer. I’m not Alexandra Armstrong, Taylor University education professor. Neither am I Alexandra Armstrong-who’s-finding-herself-on-an-Israeli-kibbutz (though that one is my niece). To avoid further confusion with these and several other women who share my name, I have decided to begin using my middle initial — T.
I’ve wrestled with this decision. After all, it’s a long enough name without the initial. I’m not suffering an identity crisis over it. And I’ve questioned if it’s vanity to want to distinguish myself from the pack.
What pushed me over the threshold of resolution was a comment from my friend Julius. He said, “Alexandra, God doesn’t like to be confused with other gods either.”
How true. There are a lot of well-meaning people in this world who think nothing of lumping the God of the Bible into a stew of world deities. That’s what you’re hearing when people say, “It doesn’t matter what name you call God because we’re all praying to the same one.” It’s magnanimous and hyper-inclusive, but it’s also as uninformed as saying all Alexandra Armstrongs (or insert your name) are the same one.
Ask a theologically orthodox Muslim if Allah exists in a trinitarian form or has a son, and they will tell you emphatically “No!” Ask a theologically orthodox Christian if Yahweh exists in a trinitarian form or has a son, and they will tell you emphatically “Yes!”
It’s patronizing to both faiths to say we have the same God. We do not.
Both faiths require an exclusive choice to be made. But instead of making choices, the world makes up convenient theology. It’s a big problem when the church starts buying into it.
Listen to the boldness of Peter when he and John were arrested and made to answer to the Jewish High Priest and rulers: “If we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead — by him this man is standing before you well. “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:9-12).
Christ’s disciples today are to be no less bold about proclaiming salvation through his name than the first disciples were. If we try to gain favor with the world by stripping the Christian faith of its offense of exclusivity, then we strip the identity of Christ along with it. He is no longer “the way, the truth and the life” through which “no one comes to the Father.”
Frankly, I can’t imagine what value would be left in such a vacant faith.
Our God is all or he is nothing. He never gave us another option. So hallowed be his name.