What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?

The word “Christian” is used in thousands of contradictory ways.

… and how we define ourselves shapes our lives.

In this live event, hosted by Executive Director Carson Weitnauer, Dr. Carmen Imes explains our identity and purpose in life.

Discussion Questions

  1. In your own words, what does it mean to ‘bear God’s name’?

  2. What are the consequences of not bearing God’s name?

  3. How has this event changed your vision of what it means to be a Christian?


I’ve watched this- but I’m not ready to comment. There’s so much here. Perhaps now I need to listen with the view of answering the above questions.

Is there anyone else that is prepared to commit to this task?


Hey @geoff ,

That’s encouraging to hear! Take your time with it, and take this process as an opportunity for God to engage your heart and mind. You are beloved and surrounded by grace.

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Here’s my reflections to the first of the questions:

What does it mean to bear God’s name?

Every human being who has ever been given life and breath has the obligation to represent God on the earth, but the only ones who can do it effectively are those who have been born again, as Jesus told Nicodemus.(John 3) Without the Spirit of God renewing us, revealing Christ to us as our ultimate treasure, we will treat this world as our own, and we will suppress the truth of God for a reality that pleases ourselves.(Romans 1:18ff)

In the interview, it was a question of what, or who gets glory. I think this is right. What do we treasure most? Are we like the rich young ruler, striving to please God as long as it falls within the goals we have set for our lives? Are we like the entrepreneur who multiplied resources, who tore down barns to build larger ones, because business is booming? Or do we treasure Christ, and feed on Him as our bread of life, drink of him, the fountain of living waters, treasure Him as the pearl of great price?

Bearing God’s Name responsibly is learning to adore and worship God for who He is, the God of Creation, the God of Redemption, the Eternal and all wise God, who invites us into His royal family.


Here’s my thoughts on the second question.

What are the consequences of not bearing God’s name?

If we define bearing God’s name as simply being human, and therefore image God in either a true or false way, then the consequences of not bearing God’s name would simply mean we present a false image of God.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes it clear that all have sinned and all have been guilty of not bearing God’s Name well. I have never used this terminology before, but rather “for all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.”(Romans 3:23) Without the redemption provided as a gift through Christ Jesus,(Romans 3:24-26), we are alienated from God, and will die in our sins. As Paul argues for an imputed righteousness to be received by faith, he concludes his argument strongly in Romans 6:20-23, saying that there are only two alternatives: death or life. In verse 23 of Romans 6, “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Man, by nature, is an eternal being, because he is created in God’s image, bearing the responsibility to reflect God in his living. We have the responsibility to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, so that we may fulfill our God given tasks, but if we continue to live as if God is secondary to our own goals and aspirations, there will be an accounting to God for our rebellion.


How has your vision changed in understanding what it means to be a Christian?

One aspect of Christian living was made abundantly clear in this interview: there’s no such thing as a “lone ranger” Christian. Our Christian lives are not a “choose your own adventure story.” Salvation, in God’s mind, is a communal experience as well as an individual experience. Becoming a Christ follower is becoming a part of a divine family, becoming God’s son or daughter, being joined with others in the body of Christ.

This raises the issue of discipleship and mentoring. Was Jesus last command to His disciples to make disciples? What does this mean? How is it accomplished? I have recently left a church where the pastor did not believe in the binary nature of the sexes (male and female), but tried to accommodate loving attitudes to those who had more liberal attitudes. Sound doctrine and godly behaviour is controversial, even within the church. But perhaps I digress.

The final question and answer in this interview was illuminating. How can we be sure we are bearing God’s name well? While Dr Imes answered personally for an individual: bearing the fruit of the Spirit, living in unity with one another, experiencing “transformation” in our character and a “flow with God”, Carson added the broader context of social action, living in solidarity with the poor, and caring for creation. This prompted Dr Imes to share what one church was doing to help those living in their cars during the Covid pandemic.

The conclusion of the matter was life is a journey, both with God and with others. Learning to love God and love others well is a lifetime pursuit. Not new for me, but a well needed reminder.

I consider the hour or two contemplating this topic well spent. Thank You Carson. Thank You Carmen.


Geoff, I’m so honored and encouraged to hear how this interview strengthened your imagination and desire to live with God and live for God!

What stands out to me is how carefully and sincerely you’ve reflected upon it. Instead of getting more information, you’ve sought renewal and transformation. That’s worthwhile - and a great example for all of us.

I wonder if there’s another interview that you’d like to reflect on at length?


God is the potter and a Christian is the clay. True Christians are pliable in the hands of God. Those not pliable in God’s hands, are suitable for the fire. God decides the design of every creature. God bless you all!!!

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