Luke 7: Mere Christianity
Some people are never satisfied, and it is interesting to read about what people said about Jesus and John the Baptist in Luke 7.
Luk 7:31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?
Luk 7:32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.
Luk 7:33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.
Luk 7:34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
Luk 7:35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.
John the Baptist was criticized for living off the grid, and Jesus was criticized for engaging culture. They were both on different extremes, and clearly Jesus was not condemning John. Perhaps that tells us something about our Christian lives.
Certainly, there are beliefs that make someone a Christian. The obvious example is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You cannot be a Christian and not believe in historical legitimacy of the great miracle. That is a core part of mere Christianity as termed by CS Lewis. There are things that need to be acknowledged for one to be a Christian. Some other tenets that fit under this umbrella are the reality of sin, the existence of God and the necessity of forgiveness.
However, think about what happened in verse 32. Jesus makes the comparison to children who are upset that the other children are not dancing while they play music. Some are upset because the others perhaps don’t feel like participating. Maybe they had a difficult day, or maybe it is simply that they do not like the music. Whatever the reason, it does not change the fact that they are all children.
Similarly, one way this plays out in the modern church is similarly through our taste in music. Music is not one of the mere Christian beliefs that we all need to agree on. Some churches like modern worship, some only do hymns accompanied by a piano or organ (which were ironically modern at one point) and there are even some churches that don’t believe in instruments whatsoever.
Is there a difference? Sure, it is obvious that there is a difference between these groups of Christians. It is not a difference that makes one Christian and one not a Christian.
I think that is kind of what Jesus was trying to get at here. Following Christ might look a little bit different for different people. Certain core beliefs will necessarily be the same, and the fruit of the spirit should be developing in all situations as the believer walks with Christ. However, our lifestyles might be slightly different, and our faith might come out in different ways.