If we claim to be Christians, and have any understanding of our faith at all, it should go without saying that Jesus Christ is the central figure. He is, in fact, the chief cornerstone. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. In Him we live and move and have our being. Those are all Biblical words and statements, not mine.
The apostle Paul continually pointed to Jesus, and emphasized that the entire thrust of his preaching was Christ and Christ crucified. But, then again, he also warned that the Cross is a stumbling block for many.
It is certainly true that we are to love our neighbors (meaning everyone) no matter what they do or don’t believe. I get that. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not merely an obscure suggestion, but something Jesus said was one of the two greatest commandments, second only to loving God. I can even understand the longing to declare us all — Muslims and Christians — to be brothers and to claim we worship the same god, so we can hopefully pursue peace and understanding…perhaps while joining hands around the campfire and singing Kumbaya. “See, we’re not that different after all!” I wish it were that easy.
But love is not genuine love if it comes at the expense of truth. Love is not love if it leaves others lost without Christ just so we can feel warm, inclusive, and tolerant. Love is not love if we pretend to love God with every fiber of our being while feeling awkwardly reluctant to address the totality of His being and acknowledge fully all three of His Persons.
Jesus is either Lord or not. We are either Christians — those who have chosen to bear His name — or we’re not. If we feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about Jesus’ claims of “No one comes to the Father except through Me,” perhaps we would be more comfortable thinking of ourselves as Abrahamic monotheists.
True disciples follow their Lord and Saviour — their King — no matter the cost. In some parts of the world today, that can mean torture, rapes, and beheadings. In America, that may mean someone insisting that we’re ignorant, backwards, and too fanatical about Jesus. It may even mean losing friends who will find our view of Jesus to be outdated, offensive, narrow-minded, intolerant or unacceptable.
Jesus warned us that the way is narrow. Wishing it were broad and easy negates the words of the very One we claim to base our beliefs upon. We either follow…or not.