What does it mean to be a Normal Christian? I would suggest the answer to that question is all wrapped up in the definition of normal. There seems to be little doubt that the English language is complex. Someone asks, for example, “How are you doing?” Often someone answers by saying, “I am good.” Unfortunately, that is not what we typically intended by the question. To say, “I am good,” relates to my condition or my performance. What we should actually say is, “I am well, thank you.” We run into the same problem with the word “normal”.
I believe normal is a reference to what is standard. An auto designer might design the car to run on higher octane gasolines. That would be the normal for the car. But if the majority of owners preferred to buy a cheaper octane, then average would be something else. Unfortunately, I think, we tend to think of average as normal.
When David Platt wrote the book Radical, I might argue that Radical Christianity is actually normal Christianity. It is likely, however, that radical is not average. Therefore, what God’s designed normal may have been, it is not average, and is viewed as being radical.
I recall hearing Vance Havner preach when I was a much younger man. I recall a statement in one of his sermons I have never gotten beyond. He said, “We have been abnormal for so long that we think normal is abnormal.” I do not have any idea if that as original with him, or something he borrowed from someone else. But I think that he was right.
It is normal for a Christian to be Spirit-filled (in the Biblical sense, not the charismatic). God commands us to be filled with the Spirit, and that is a Present Active Participle, meaning it literally says, “Keep on being filled with the Spirit.” Many would argue that most Christians do not live in their moment by moment daily activities in the fullness of the Spirit. So it is not the average, and in that sense appears abnormal.
Jesus modeled and taught that we should be servants to others. But in our very self-centered western culture, servanthood is highly abnormal in the minds of most. We read of Christian leaders on a daily basis that get into some kind of trouble because of what ultimately is selfishness.
One might argue that just about everything Jesus called us to be and do is seen as abnormal by the world. In places where people are still persecuted for following Christ seriously, normal Christianity may appear in the radical form to which Jesus called us. But in our western comforts, Christianity seems to have morphed into something else. It has become abnormal from a Biblical perspective. In that sense, we might say, we are often normally abnormal. I plead for abnormal Normality.