Monday, November 26, 2007

Kinds of Christians

Can you call yourself a Yankees fan and never watch baseball? Can you consider yourself an avid skier and never strap on heavy ski boots? Can you describe yourself as a reader but never open a book?

How do you define a Christian?

Christianity Today has identified five kinds of Christians. Here’s the link.

Their pool contains only self-described Christians. The five categories, with their characteristics, are:

Active Christians 19%

  • · Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
  • · Committed churchgoers
  • · Bible readers
  • · Accept leadership positions
  • · Invest in personal faith development through the church
  • · Feel obligated to share faith; 79% do so.

Professing Christians 20%

  • · Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
  • · Focus on personal relationship with God and Jesus
  • · Similar beliefs to Active Christians, different actions
  • · Less involved in church, both attending and serving
  • · Less commitment to Bible reading or sharing faith

Liturgical Christians 16%

  • · Predominantly Catholic and Lutheran
  • · Regular churchgoers
  • · High level of spiritual activity, mostly expressed by serving in church and/or community
  • · Recognize authority of the church

Private Christians 24%

  • 1. Largest and youngest segment
  • 2. Believe in God and doing good things
  • 3. Own a Bible, but don't read it
  • 4. Spiritual interest, but not within church context
  • 5. Only about a third attend church at all
  • 6. Almost none are church leaders

Cultural Christians 21%

  • · Little outward religious behavior or attitudes
  • · God aware, but little personal involvement with God
  • · Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation
  • · Affirm many ways to God
  • · Favor universality theology

The term “Christian” has lost some of its first-century flavor. Now we need to know what a person means when he takes on this label. Nearly 2/3 of those who identify themselves as Christians do not acknowledge Christ as central to their faith.

How do you define a Christian? What do you see as essential to your faith?


Maxine said...

For me, I see a Christian as one who has Christ as Lord of their life, who take up their cross daily and follow Him. Maybe not perfectly, but who have a sincere desire to honor Him. They don't consider themselves to have any merit of their own, but rest solely on the finished work of their Lord. Church life, Bible reading, etc. are natural outflows of their faith. Some of these statistics you posted are really sad, Kathy. I was surprised the first one was a high as it was.

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Wow-that is so interesting to see. I am so sad to see it really. But it seems true to the things I am seeing looking around these days. Even in the church. It could be our greatest mission field yet.

Much love,