Yesterday, at a ‘backyard conversation’ meeting in Albuquerque, when Obama was asked why he’s a Christian, He replied: “it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead—being my brother's and sister's keeper, treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that, you know, that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings—that we're sinful and we're flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God."
While there seems to be nothing terribly 'personal' in his answer, that is not what struck me. No, as I thought about his answer, I realized that Jesus never called people to become Christians! The designation “Christian” was first used by the church in Antioch, many years after Christ’s death and resurrection. And did you know that the word “Christian” is used only three times in the New Testament?
Jesus called men and women to be His disciples. Now I do realize that the words “Christian” and “disciple” are used interchangeably. But I think the difficulty in determining whether someone is a Christian or not will be resolved as we look at Jesus’ requirements for His disciples, realizing that if someone is not a disciple, he is not a Christian! Look at Jesus' definition of a disciple, and decide for yourself whether Obama (or you, for that matter) matches up.
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:26-27, 33). Seems there's a whole lot more to being a Christian than Obama (or some of us) realizes!