“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18 (NIV)
If Jesus had not risen from the dead, the disciples would have had a kind of “orphan faith,” a faith which was less than true Christian faith. They would have only had:
These men had the teaching of Jesus—the greatest teaching that this world has ever heard. They had the Beatitudes and they had the Sermon on the Mount. In other words, they had a pattern to live by that they could have shared with the world.
These men had the example of Jesus. They had observed a perfect human life. They had been moved and inspired by His example. So they could have gone into the world and said, “We want to tell you about Jesus. We call you to obey His teaching and follow His example.”
With this great teaching and this great example, they had enough to construct a faith that drew from Jesus but did not depend on Him actually being there.
Orphan faith draws its inspiration from Jesus but it does not depend on Him actually being there. It has massive appeal because anyone can buy into it. It is a personalized faith, custom built from selected words and actions of Jesus that seem meaningful to the individual today. You simply take what you find helpful in Christ’s teaching and example and adopt it into your life.
Orphan faith does not need a living Christ. It brings no obligation to Him. Our culture is full of this kind of faith. But orphan faith is not Christian faith.
What makes orphan faith less than true Christian faith?