What is a Christian?
by STUART ALLEN
If this question was addressed to six people it is possible that six different answers would be given:
one might say he is a good living man, another that he is a member of a church or chapel, or that he is a
person who does charitable work in aiding needy people, and so on. Let us look at the word `Christian'
again, and suppose we pronounce it differently, calling it CHRISTian, it will remind us that such a person
has some relationship to Christ in the first place.
If we ask in what way, we shall be wise if we turn to His own divine statements and give them serious
consideration. The answer to our question is not to be found in the various opinions which come from the
human mind; these will only lead us into error and disillusionment. What more reasonable than that we
should turn to the `fountain head' Himself? Why did Christ come to this world of ours? These are His
` The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost' (Luke 19:10).
` I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness. ... I
came not to judge the world, but to save the world' (John 12:46,47).
These words are surely clear. Christ came to dispel darkness and doubt and to give LIGHT. Christ
came not to condemn but to SAVE. This being so, it is obvious that there must be a fundamental need in
the human heart for enlightenment and salvation; but what is salvation? As you begin to consider this
please put from your mind all thoughts of churches, reformation, ordinances, baptism, whether infant or
adult, for in its essence the salvation which Christ spoke of has nothing to do with these things. Many
there are around us whose idea of salvation is that it results from a way of living, moral or religious, and
is intimately connected with some religious rite or ceremony. Multitudes have conceived their own
conditions of salvation or have accepted the conditions laid down by others and, having fulfilled these
requirements, they rest in the false security of self deception. They may have met the requirements of
men, but they have fallen short of the requirements of God.
In this leaflet we wish to avoid theological language and to use great plainness of speech so that all
who read can understand. The subject is so vastly important--actually there can be nothing more
important--that at all costs we must avoid having our minds clouded by human opinion. Consequently,
we shall turn away from men however good they may be and go direct to the teaching of the Lord Jesus
From the verse already quoted (Luke 19:10) He has stated that the purpose of His coming was to
SAVE, and those to whom this work applies are described by Him as LOST. Let us add another
statement of His regarding this purpose:
` They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the
righteous, but sinners to repentance' (Mark 2:17).
It is clear from these words that Christ's mission was not directed to good people but to the unworthy,
those whom He described as LOST and as SINNERS. Now this is not flattering to human nature, but
before you turn away from it, my dear reader, just ask yourself honestly whether, in spite of any good
behaviour which you strive after, perhaps these terms truthfully describe you? It is not a question of big
sinners or little sinners. One sin makes a sinner just as one lie makes a liar. Even if your self-control is
so strong that you never commit any act or speak any word that is wrong (which is improbable), what