In a society where the term “Christian” increasingly has negative connotations, Addison Bevere is breathing new life into the word “saint,” an ancient term he believes is key to unlocking the meaning, identity, and purpose many believers crave.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Bevere, COO of Messenger International, an organization that impacts millions of people in over 150 countries through its various initiatives, admitted he “hasn’t enjoyed” calling himself a “Christian” in nearly two decades.
“I’m not ashamed of Jesus, but I don’t like the stereotypes and labels and stigmas that have attached themselves to what it means to be a Christian. It doesn’t resonate with me,” he shared. “It’s not that Christian is a bad word, but for me, it’s become something that feels cheap. When you Google ‘Christians,’ so often you’ll see words like ‘judgmental, hypocritical, backward, out of touch with reality.’”
“It almost feels like the world looks at Christians and says, ‘We tried Christianity. We tried this pathway and it didn’t work, so now we’re pursuing something else, a secular, ‘do-it-yourself’ spirituality.’ My response is, we never tried it, really. The Gospel message is big enough for our big world.”
Five years ago, Bevere, son of popular ministry leaders John and Lisa Bevere, was reading a book where the author made mention of saints, describing them as “people who participate in the mystery of the final day.”
“That,” he said, “wasn’t the picture of a saint I had in mind. I always associated ‘saint’ with stained glass windows and being a part of a special, elite, unattainable group.”
But according to Bevere, the term “Christian” is used only three times throughout Scripture, whereas the Greek word hagios — translated as saints — is used more than 60 times. This, he said, indicates something special about the archaic term.
“As I read the Bible, I wondered, ‘Why are so many people identifying as saints? Why would Paul address entire letters to saints?’” he said. “I realized that the idea of a saint isn’t something that belongs to people once they die; it’s something that identifies and energizes and gives meaning and purpose. It’s a prophetic declaration. It’s how God works. He sees us as we should be. He loves us along the spectrum.”
According to Bevere, a saint is “someone whose life is marked by a hope and a purpose that astound our world and point people to the One who is life.”
“I believe,” he added, “that when we view ourselves as saints, it’s lifechanging. We find the meaning and purpose that so many of us crave. I believe that until we discover the life we’re created for, we’re going to find ourselves frustrated with existence and religion. It’s time we re-think what it means to be a saint.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett