“A turning point in the Gospel narratives is the question Jesus addresses to his disciples at Caesarea Philippi: ‘But who do you say that I am?’ (Matt. 16:15; Mark 8:29; and Luke 9:20). The question marks a turning point in Jesus’ relation to the disciples and in the larger narrative itself because it points to a central feature of Christian faith–namely that a person’s understanding of Jesus’ identity is inseparable from his or her understanding of the nature of discipleship. What a person believes about Jesus cannot be separated from how he or she lives in the world. Faith in the God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ has serious but unavoidable consequences for daily life, from the most mundane issues to questions of life and death.
At the center of Christian faith is the question of identity, a question that is two-sided. On the one hand it is a question about Jesus of Nazareth and the God whom Christians confess to be disclosed in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Christian theology is the attempt to think through and understand what faith confesses about the God revealed in Jesus Christ. But that is only one side of the identity question in Christian faith and only one part of the task of theology. Equally important are the consequences of what it means to confess that Jesus Christ is ‘the only begotten Son of God.’ Traditionally Christians have claimed that anyone who makes that confession is led to reconsider what kind of person one is and how one lives in the world. In more cases than not that confession seems to require a person to ‘turn around,’ reinterpret personal identity, and live differently in the world. What a person believes about Jesus Christ cannot be separated from how one lives in the world without tearing apart the fabric of Christian faith. But while the two go hand in hand they also are never perfectly conjoined. The agony of Christian existence in both its personal and corporate forms is that what one believes and confesses is rarely demonstrated consistently and without distortion in daily life. Sin remains as much a reality for Christians as non-Christians. Yet the two-sided question of Christian identity–who one understands Jesus of Nazareth to be and what it means to confess him as Lord–stands at the very center of Christian faith.” (George W. Stroup, The Promise of Narrative Theology: Recovering the Gospel in the Church, pp. 14-15)