It is somewhat fashionable these days to claim to follow Jesus but not want to be associated with Christianity (in any organized sense). It’s basically a “me and Jesus” thing. That seems to be the route that famous vampire novelist Anne Rice may be taking. This Wednesday she posted on Facebook:
Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else…..I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.
But perhaps in an attempt to avoid misunderstanding, the next day she added:
My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.
Her current status is far better than pessimistic atheism, but I’m not sure how “following Christ does not mean following His followers.” Would that include not following the Apostles? While no Christian would claim the perfection of Christ, the New Testament records Paul’s instruction that we should imitate him as he (imperfectly) imitates Christ (I Cor. 11:1), and that we should submit to elders in a local church, who themselves also have accountability (cf. Heb. 13:7). In salvation we are not only united to Christ but are adopted into His imperfect family of saints being refashioned into the image of God (cf. Eph. 4:1-16). I don’t know much about her, but I hope that Ms. Rice is receiving biblical instruction and is part of some Christian faith community. Perhaps she could press through this phase into full-orbed, biblical Christianity, which embraces both Christ and His imperfect, but progressively sanctified bride.