Yes, there is a difference.
I was raised in a church/religious home and was told that we were “Christians”. Tell someone you are a christian and see what kind of reaction you get. It isn’t a positive response, especially today.
Many years ago when I went with a fanatical group on an Israel tour of the Holyland, our guide told us that people who believe in Jesus over there don’t referred to themselves as “christians” but “believers” because there is a history of bad things with Christians such as the crusades. He said they were called believers. I liked that and I have adopted that change in terminology since then.
Honestly Christians have really given God a serious public relations headache. My wife and I passed a guy recently who was preaching and condemning anyone who walked by. Yeah, that’s really getting the job done. I’m really sick of Christian people embarrassing God and making things more difficult for the rest of us who aren’t the weird, radical fringe.
It’s not about a church either. Been there done that and had the church flag to prove it.
It’s about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s it. Either you believe in Him or you don’t. I’m not going to get in your face and yell at you. I’m not even going to debate you. If your mind is set against it then what words could I possibly use to convince you? Really, unless you have a relationship with Christ, how can you possibly know? This is something you have to experience. I can’t open my Bible app and read you the thees and thous and hope that some spooky magical spiritual spell will cause you to turn from your heathen ways.
I was in the weirdness of a church for way too many years. It wasn’t until I left that I was able to remove all the clutter that separated me from a true personal relationship with God. It wasn’t in the yelling, tongue-speaking or Bible quoting but in the stillness of God’s presence. It isn’t some Eastern meditation crap either. It’s discipline to sit still and actually listen to God. It’s not about asking a bunch of stuff for Him to do either. I had to unlearn a lot of things I was taught and a lot of things I thought I knew about God to finally find who He is to me.
I’m a believer. Pure and simple. If you don’t like it I’m not going to hate you for it. This is me and who I am.
Church. I don’t need it. Shocking I know. I spent many years doing the church thing and feeling worse when I left then when I walked in. I’m done with that feeling and not going back to that. I’m not saying church isn’t important. Some people need it. Whatever folks need to survive I am not going to judge. Some people need a preacher to stand up behind a pulpit to give their interpretation of the Bible. I have learned that people will slant it the way they want. That’s human nature.
I believe that God loved this world so much that He sent His son to die for my sins. Now I can’t explain everything about God. How can God have a “son” and how the Holy Ghost is a part of this trinity? Sometimes you just can’t explain everything. I save the theological debates for people who are into that kind of thing. I don’t have a doctorate degree in theology. My only experience is my own and real life.
You can think what you will about all of this but you haven’t walked in my shoes. No, I’m not perfect and I have sinned. We all have. I have done the stone casting before the stones fell back on me. Christians have a difficult time admitting that they are wrong.
Maybe I’m splitting hairs here with the definitions of Christian and Believer. To me there is a difference. When I Google “Christian vs. Believers” there are a lot of folks out there who score the term “Christians” higher on God’s food chain than “Believers”. I know the difference. I have lived it. I want no part of Christian.
Sorry if I rocked your boat about this. That’s okay, I believe that Jesus can walk on water to pull you back into the boat.