Brand Loyalty to Christ

An old friend once talked about a terrible motel room he slept in. It smelled so bad that he slept with the soap from the bathroom tucked under his nose as a deodorizer. The next time he went to a motel, he looked for a "Great Western" sign.

The "Great Western" sign meant something.

It was a brand, and brands say things. "Great Western" says "inexpensive, clean, and well-maintained."

An even better example is Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

In the long run, Microsoft cannot win its battles with Apple and Google because of brand. "Microsoft" means rich, greedy, glitches, and updates that are not improvements. Apple means innovative and reliable. Google adds "free" to innovative and reliable.

So how does this apply to Christianity?

Brands of Christianity

I saw an excellent post called Let Them Eat Cake! today. It was on brands of Christianity. It is an innovative, stinging commentary on the brand of "Sola," an obvious reference to the Protestant Reformation solas—sola gratia, sola scriptura, and sola fide.

It does an excellent job of pointing out the shortcomings of sola scriptura (Scripture only).

It falls short in the most important area, though. If sola scriptura is not producing "brand recognition" of the original faith, then what does?

They don’t address this. I’m supposing that we’re to assume they’re referring to tradition-based Christianity such as Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy.

The problem is, Roman Catholic tradition and Orthodoxy do produce a brand you can recognize.

They reliably produce worldliness, carnality, idolatry, and an indifference to the commands of Christ.

That’s not a brand I intend to be loyal to, nor make the first purchase from.

My Take on Properly Branded Christianity

I’m just cutting and pasting the comment I made on their blog …

Unfortunately, it’s not just Evangelicals who don’t have the original packaging. In fact, I’d say it’s clear they have far more of it than more traditional Christians.

The original packaging can be found in Titus 2, where Paul describes sound doctrine.

It can be found in 2 Tim. 2:19, where Paul says that the foundation involves departing from iniquity.

Scripture–whether it is sola or not–was given to equip the saints for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). At the judgment seat, we will be judged for our works, not for our opinion on the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist or our understanding of baptism.

If your doctrine doesn’t produce people who turn the other cheek, don’t return insult for insult, who stay faithful to their spouses, who love and give, and who are not friends with the world … well, then you can argue your doctrines from Scripture, tradition, or whatever else you want, and your doctrine, correct or incorrect, will be useless.

Justin Martyr described Christians of his day—A.D. 150—as people who formerly pursued wealth, but now shared everything; who formerly were sexually immoral, but who now lived in purity; who formerly hated, but now shared the same fire with men of other tribes and prayed for their persecutors.

That’s the brand of Jesus Christ—unity, love, righteousness, peace, joy, and power with God.

The rest is useless words, and of those the kingdom of God does not consist (1 Cor. 4:20).

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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5 Responses to Brand Loyalty to Christ

  1. Nate says:

    Cuts right to the heart of the matter.
    Are we walking in the fruit of repentance or are we embracing a 21st century tower of babel.
    Excellent as always dear brother.

    • Shammah says:

      Aargh. Going to miss seeing you at the conference.

      Thanks for the comment, though; more so for the emails. It’s always good to hear from you.

  2. Shammah says:

    Thanks, Britt!

  3. britt says:

    great! I’m thinking of writing a short thing on sola scriptura … finding it difficult to say what I want to say … thanks for sharing

  4. That’s wonderful and clear Shammah.

    I don’t think that there’s anything quite so liberating as the first time a believer looks at their fruit. It’s funny, the churches quote Christ talking about knowing a tree by it’s fruit, but in practice it is very rejected.

    It is a miracle of God for a man to set aside all of the words of Christianity and truly asks himself, “Is this working?”

    In Acts, Paul proclaimed that Christ’s lordship and the Gospel would set us free from ALL THINGS!

    Much would be sorted out by men asking theses questions. All of the apologetics and such I desperately studied only created more worthless talk and debate. But praise God, He have us a living Gospel that has truly produced much good fruit. PRAISE GOD!

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