Since being born-again 20 years ago, I have hesitated at times to call myself a “Christian” – not because I don’t love God and follow Jesus and don’t want to say so openly, but because I don’t identify with most people who call themselves Christian. The name has been so abused and misused and misapplied and watered down that it has lost its original meaning, morphing into the dreaded parody known as “churchianity”. Sticking “born-again” in front of “Christian” doesn’t make it any more accurate, as spiritual rebirth is also generally misunderstood, even by people who claim to be born-again. In any case, a Christian should, by definition, be born-again, so “born-again Christian” is actually a tautology, like wet rain or cold snow.
I thought about “non-denominational Christian”, but I’ve been to so-called non-denominational churches and church services, and what I found was that if you dig deep enough into their funding stream and statement of beliefs, you’ll find a direct connection between the alleged “non-denominational” church and international Pentecostalism, Evangelism, or some other well-established denomination. The non-denominational church is actually an offshoot or a “no-name brand” (read “tax write-off”) of something else that is very much denominational.
And “radical Christian”, in the Age of Terrorism, is obviously not going to fly.
So what to do? What word or term do I apply to myself to accurately convey who I am?
How about “off-grid”?
Let me try that on for size: “I am an off-grid Christian.”
By “off-grid”, I don’t mean I live in the woods disconnected from the mainstream power supply; I mean I live in God’s Kingdom disconnected from mainstream Christianity. I don’t get my knowledge second-hand, bumped down and redirected from fault-prone doctrines of man; I get it naturally and directly and freely from the one and only true source – God, just as God intended.
Off-grid Christians hearken back to the early Christians, all of whom were genuinely Spirit-filled and fervent followers of Jesus. Their faith must have been genuine and fervent; otherwise, they wouldn’t have willingly been led to the slaughter, as many of them were, simply for professing their faith in Jesus as the Christ.
So from now on I will introduce myself as an “off-grid Christian”, unplugged from mainstream Christianity. I belong to no church but God’s church, established by Jesus Christ. My loyalty is to Jesus, not to a denomination; my choices in life follow those of Jesus, and my worship is to God Almighty, who is also my Heavenly Father. Nothing comes between me and God and the Word – there is no place in my life for a denominational church.
If you feel the same, please join me in identifying as an “off-grid Christian”. If nothing else, it will get the discussion started on why you identify as “off-grid” rather than a specific denomination, and that discussion is long overdue.