In a recent sermon given by a friend of mine an interesting statement was made concerning what it means to follow Jesus. The logical conclusion was that if Mother Teresa were still alive, and if we could work with her, we would know what it means to follow Jesus.
Now to even challenge such an idea in today's postmodern climate is heresy. Evangelicals have so abandoned the Gospel or have become so biblically illiterate, or so watered down the meaning of language, that the Gospel has become something we do and not something Christ has done. The Gospel becomes redefined in such a way as to bring unity among those who would otherwise be opposed to one another.
What is interesting is that my Jehovah's Witness friend believes Roman Catholics do not preach the Kingdom of God. He sees the work of Jehovah's Witnesses as being unique. Yet by my pastor friend's definition of what it means to follow Christ, would not a Jehovah's Witness be a Christian? What about Mormons? They put more of their money, time and effort into "following Christ" than most other groups. Are they Christian as well? Why stop there? Let's include Gandhi.
In other words, why make something of Mother Teresa that she would never have claimed for herself. If she was a faithful Roman Catholic (I have no doubt she was) then why turn her into someone who denied Rome's teaching on Justification or Indulgences or the Mass or the Treasury of Merit or Purgatory (all of which denies the Biblical Gospel). Certainly she had a love of her neighbor that flowed from her man-made religion. That is easily explained by the fact she was made in the image of God and therefore very religious. However, being religious does not equal being saved by God's grace alone due to the finished work of Christ alone in which we trust by faith alone.
The question of what it means to "follow Christ" needs to be answered. The Gospel needs to be defined with clarity. The different groups need to have their views contrasted with a biblical definition of these things. We need not make Mother Teresa believe something she never claimed for herself. We need not make Rome's view of the Gospel something akin to Play Do in our own minds. They might not appreciate it.
It is no wonder that many non-Christians are so offended when Christians say Jesus is the only way. If the Gospel can unify people of such opposing definitions of the Gospel, if the Gospel becomes something we do, if the Gospel becomes a tool to fix my marriage or a help to quit drinking or the mirads of other problems that man has need to get his best life now, then why not Buddha, Muhammad or Krishna or even naturalism's ways to "self help"?