John Muriango
Thursday, August 22, 2019

Of Census Christians

In a few hours, like cattle, the herd of Kenyans will be counted over the course of the next 168 hours so that the government may exactly know the number of the slaves who shall be squeezed so as to repay loans (mostly Chinese na Eurobonds) of which they didn’t benefit the populace, but rather the pockets of our ‘primitive elite’ (vile Darius Okolla, @OkollaIX anawaitanga). Isn’t that odious debt? How about we take a class action lawsuit to the international courts so as not to repay?

If you may recall the 2009 census, it had some crazy questions like do you have a boat? Imagine that question was asked to people who live in some dingy high-rise ‘apartment’, (trying to be politically correct) somewhere in Kilimani, and the only occasion they’ll ever come across a large mass of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen one is during the end of year when Nairobians decide to shift to Coast for a week wakijazana Pirates Beach (our tourism/holiday tastes are very mediocre)!

Back to serious issue which has made me andika this article is that one question that will definitely not miss is on the matter concerning one’s faith, aka religion, and each and every human being is religious by nature, there’s nothing like an atheist, it’s impossible for one to be, no matter how many quadrillion times they try to refer themselves as such, even demons in hell don’t fall into such heresy!

If you’ve been following the historical trend, it is usually claimed by KNBS that between 85 – 88% of Kamau wa Ngengi and his son Muigai slaves are ‘Christians’, and I sincerely believe that the results for this year will be the same. IS this statistic true? As a believer, I wish it was ukweli, in fact, I wish it was even 100%. However, when we weigh the professions and possessions as per the biblical evidence, is this really so? If we’re 85+% Christians, why are we such a corrupt and wicked nation?

The believers of Christ Jesus were first denoted to as “Christians” by the Gentiles of Antioch, and that term was likely meant as a slur (see Acts 11:26). In the Bible, they never call themselves as “Christians”; rather, they use such terms as brethren (Acts 15:1; 1 Corinthians 16:20, NAS), disciples (Acts 11:26; 14:24, NKJV), and saints (Acts 9:13; 2 Corinthians 13:13, ESV). Before his conversion, Saul sought out those “who belonged to the Way” (Acts 9:2), showing that an initial marker for Christians might have been “people of the Way” (see also Acts 19:9; 24:22).

Believers in Christ came to be called “Christians” during a time of rapid expansion in the church. Persecution had forced many believers from Jerusalem, and they scattered to various areas, taking the gospel with them. The evangelism was at first limited to Jewish populations. That changed when “men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:20–21). Barnabas was there in Antioch, as was the newly converted Saul, and they were both teaching in the church. “And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26, BLB).

At the time that believers got the appellation Christians, it was common for the Greeks to give satirical nicknames to particular groups. So those loyal to the Roman General Pompey were dubbed “Pompeians,” and the followers of General Sulla were called “Sullanians.” Those who publicly and enthusiastically praised the emperor Nero Augustus received the name Augustinians, meaning “of the party of Augustus.” To the Greeks, it was all a fun word game and a verbally dismissive gesture. Then a new group cropped up in Antioch; since they were characterized by behavior and speech centered on Christ, the Greeks called them “Christians,” or “those of the party of Christ.

Non-believing Jews of that day would not have referred to believers as “Christians,” since Christ means “Messiah” and refers to the Son of David. Christ was exactly what they did not believe Jesus to be; such a term would not have been used by Jews until it became an established, stand-alone word. In the book of Acts, we see the unbelieving Jews referring to Christians as those “of the Nazarene sect” (Acts 24:5)—Nazareth being a city of low repute in the minds of most Israelites (see John 1:46).

Both the Bible and history suggest that the term Christian was probably meant as a mocking insult when it was first coined. Peter actually tells his readers not to be “ashamed” if they are called by that term (1 Peter 4:16). Likewise, when Herod Agrippa rejects Paul’s appeal to be saved, he says, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” and he was probably playing off of the negative reputation of that term (Acts 26:28). Why would he, a king, submit to the indignity of being called a “Christian”? It doesn’t appear that believers used the term Christian in reference to themselves until the time of Ignatius of Antioch, some 60 to 70 years after the resurrection of Jesus.

So, who exactly is a Christian? According to Acts 11:26, the followers of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch. Why were they called Christians? Because they were “followers of Christ.” They had committed their lives to “walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

Other Scriptures explain how a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ and begins this relationship. For example, Ephesians 2:8-9 reveals that a person becomes a Christian by faith, not by following a list of rules or good works: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” A true Christian has faith in Jesus as the Savior.

Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” A true Christian is unashamed to say Jesus is Lord and believes Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

First Corinthians 15:3 says this message of the resurrected Jesus is of “first importance.” Without Jesus’ resurrection our faith is “futile,” and we are “still in [our] sins” (v. 7). A true Christian lives by faith in the resurrected Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:13-14).

Paul writes, "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. . . . The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans 8:9, 16). A true Christian has God’s Holy Spirit living within.

The evidence of a true Christian is displayed in both faith and action. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). James says, “I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Jesus put it this way: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). A true Christian will show his faith by how he lives.

Despite the wide variety of beliefs that fall under the general “Christian” label today, the Bible defines a true Christian as one who has personally received Jesus Christ as Savior, who trusts in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness of sins, who has the Holy Spirit residing within, and whose life evinces change consistent with faith in Jesus.

So, as the census enumerator asks you about your religion, before answering the question, consider the words of Christ in Matthew 7:21-24, and think through it. Are you really a Christian? What is the need of being a ‘census Christian’ only for you to be disowned by Christ in the end? As Christians, we’re not fascinated with numbers, better for us to be 10% of the population in the census and all end up in Heaven than the exaggerated 85+% yet majority of them face God’s wrath eternally in Hell!


P.S. Additionally content from Got Questions