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Christian: What is a Christian?

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by Katzpur, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Would you mind elaborating, Michel? If you are personally happy with certain doctrines, do you believe that all Christians must also be happy with those same doctrines. Can a person be a Christian and have differing viewpoints on these doctrines?
     
  2. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Mormons and communists, huh? Both seeking to undermine Christianity. What about Protestants? They reject many of your doctrines. Where do you draw the line? Isn't heresy heresy? Or is a certain amount of heresy permissible among Christians?

    (By the way, I specifically requested, in my opening post, that this not turn into a discussion of who is and who is not a Christian. I wish you hadn't decided to turn this into a "Why Mormons Aren't Christians Thread.")
     
  3. Searcher of Light

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    To me, on the most basic level a Christian is:

    Looking at the english word "christian" nets the word "Christ" and the suffix -ian The definitions of each are:

    Christ means "the annointed"

    -ian
    1) of, relating to, or resembling
    2) one relating to, belonging to, or resembling.

    Putting these terms together nets the following definitions:
    Christian
    1) one who resembles the Annointed
    2) one who relates to the Annointed
    3) one who belongs to the Annointed

    Now, let us take things a step further. Annointed is the title that is given to Jesus in the gospels. It is often used interchangeably with His name as well and thus we get:
    1) one who resembles Jesus
    2) one who relates to Jesus
    3) one who belongs to Jesus.

    Ok, what does it mean to resemble, relate, and belong to Jesus? If we resemble or relate to something we are similar to that object or idea. What does it mean to be similar to Jesus? To answer this question we turn to the gospels to examine what kind a person He was. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all talk about His love. Jesus also gives us two commands:

    "...you shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, with all of your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27

    Jesus sums up His own life. The gospels record that He loved God with all of His being and loved His neighbor. To relate and resemble Jesus we have to love. Adding this to our definition we get the last iteration:

    1) one who loves God and his neighbor
    2) one who relates to Jesus' ability to love
    3) one who belongs to Jesus' love

    There is much conflict and confusion with all of the different opinions about what a christian is. If this basic definition is followed than morality will become automatic. Jesus' love would be the highest measure of morality. Hopefully, everyone will find my view of it on the most basic level and away from all the confusion and biases we all have.
     
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  4. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    All I meant was that some Christians, JWs for instance, would not agree that Christ was the Only Begotten Son of God. Of course, such people are about as far as you can get from historical Christianity and so would be on the opposite end of the spectrum from Orthodoxy, believing as they do in the ancient hersey of Arianism condemned at Nicea. Other such groups would include Oneness Pentecostals, who are Sabellians, and others who follow, for instance, Adoptionalist theology. I'm not really sure about the Christological beliefs of the LDS so couldn't comment on where you would fit in on this issue.

    There are about 100-150 million Orthodox Christians (I can't remember the exact figure, but it's certainly over 100 million as there are about 80 million Russians and 20 million Romanians, the two largest local churches). There are also a significant number of Oriental Orthodox, in Egypt, Ethiopia, India and the middle east who also reject these Protestant doctrines. Given that everybody prior to the Reformation would have been either Roman Catholic, Orthodox or Eastern Orthodox I think it's fair to say that the majority of current, and the overwhelming majority historically, of Christians would reject them. If modern Protestant groups are to deny our Christianity on the basis of our rejection of sola scriptura or sola fide, then, they would likewise be denying the Christianity of every single Christian prior to the 16th century. You are right, though, that they do attempt this sort of thing with adherents of all three churches I mentioned above.

    I pretty much agree with you on this but I would never use the term born again simply because of all the Protestant baggage that goes with it. For me the equivalent would be baptism and this is the beginning, not the end, of our journey towards salvation.

    I'm not sure how that's confusing or contradictory, but I'll try and clarify. I wouldn't deny the name Christian to anybody who sincerely tries to follow Christ no matter how far off base their theology is but, like I said, I see this as a continuum spanning from Orthodoxy on the one end to out right heresy on the other. What I meant by using the Orthodox Church as the yardstick was that I judge the degree of Truth in a Christian group's teachings by how closely they conform to Orthodoxy. As I said, I'm sure most Christians would do similar. Hope that helps.

    James
     
  5. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    The funny thing about this argument is that I've seen that mormons and catholics have the most in common. I have more in comman with a catholic than with a baptist, for example.
     
  6. fromthe heart

    fromthe heart Well-Known Member

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    Christians: First called as such in Antioch...the first Christians WERE the disciples. see Acts 11:26

    There is a different way to look at it in Christian behavior...God said you will know them by their works.(This is of course after they were repenting and put away their sin and wanted to walk in the path of Jesus Christ and were baptised as John the Baptist did when he baptised Jesus)...But to know a Christian is in fact a Christian is God's job...but for us to reccognize another Christian is to look at their behavior see Romans 12:3-21...Pauls letter to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians deals with Christian conduct. Paul laid it all out on the table as for believers in what they were to do and not do.

    Christians once born again they are required to be baptised and in doing so recieve the Holy Spirit to dwell within them and in doing so are joined with all other Christians into the One Body...which is in Christ...therefore Christians are Christ like. (Thus the term CHRISTians)

    None of this can happen through good works..good works doesn't count for a hill of beans unless you have been born again and your name is written in the Lambs Book of Life.

    A lot of folks who have a problem with drinking and have gone through the 12 steps to becoming free of their demon should get part of the concept that to become a REAL Christian you must first take the proper steps:
    #1 Ask Jesus for forgivness of your sins and ask Him to come into your heart and make you His own.
    #2 Be baptised in the name of the Father; Son; and Holy Ghost
    #3 walk in your life in respects to how a Christian should behave as stated above.

    No one person will ever walk totally sinless...the only one to ever do that was Jesus Christ and that is why He was the only one to ever walk the face of the earth pure enough to become the sin sacrifice for all humankind on this earth.

    If you look II Corinthians 5:17 Once you are a believer you have become a new creature...after which your works become a thing guided by the Holy Ghost and you do not wish to sin against God...when you do you are guilted inside and wish to make amends and ask forgivness of these deeds. One day you will stand before God in judgement of the good OR bad you have done I Corinthians 5:10...if you are not in fact a Christian at this point you will hear "Depart from Me; I never knew you". AT this point you WILL suffer the Eternal Lake of Fire...it says eternal for one reason...it's for eternity...you can not pick and choose with life what parts of the Bible you want to believe...if you believe in one part can you justify saying the Eternal Lake of fire should NOT be believed....Christians know and they DO NOT want a single living soul to ever go to that awful place...to look inside your self and say there is no place...you must reread the written Word of God...for it indeed exsists.

    You can't judge who is a Christian by just how they may appear...it's all what is in their hearts that shows through to signal someone to 'believe' this person may be a Christian.

    So...What is indeed a Christian???!!! It's not whether you are of a certian church or a certian walk...it is within your heart and you will know...if you have doubt perhaps you are not ...only You can say who you are!

    Respectfully... I am a Christian,:)
     
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  7. CaptainXeroid

    CaptainXeroid Following Christ

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    In my eyes, anyone who believes that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and was sent to die on the cross for the sins of Mankind, and who seeks to live as Christ taught us, is a Christian. I try to look past the man-made divisions among us.:162:
     
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  8. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Protestantism is heresy.... I don't know why this is so troubling for you... you believe us to be members of an Apostate Church--- but when I say it, it is somehow "wrong".:banghead3
    I am not a Moderator... YOU ARE. I can't "turn" a thread into anything... you decided to focus on a one part of a ON TOPIC comment I made and decided you needed to take the thread OFF TOPIC and tell me I can't define a Christian as I see fit. Do I have to call Muslims "Christians" now too, so as not to offend? Atheists? You just let me know what I'm allowed to say on this forum and we'll go from there, deal?:)
     
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  9. Todd

    Todd Rajun Cajun

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    Everyone, Please stay on topic.

    Being a Christian to me is to be imperfect, corrupt, and a sinner, but made perfect, incorruptable, and sinless through Christ Jesus (we still sin, but Jesus paid for the sin with his life). He died so that we could be seen as perfect through God's eyes.
     
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  10. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    I agree Todd but does that not get too vague?

    ~Victor
     
  11. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I see. I didn't actually realize that JW's don't believe that Jesus Christ was God's Only Begotten Son. I also understand that many Unitarians claim to be "Christian," but don't believe that Christ was divine. As far as I'm concerned, if someone believes himself to be a Christian, I don't see it as my place to tell him he's not.

    Although I don't actually want to get into the LDS viewpoint in very much depth on this thread, we definitely do believe that Jesus Christ was the Only Begotten Son of God. We believe that He was with His Father in the beginning and was the creator of our universe (acting under His Father's direction). We believe that He was "God" at that time. He did not progress to be "God" at some later time. Admittedly, we differ from mainstream Christianity in some of our beliefs about the Godhead, but maybe this brief explanation will clarify the basics for you.

    Wow, I didn't realize there were so many Orthodox Christians. But, in thinking about it, I actually know about as many Orthodox Christians as I do Roman Catholics, which is kind of funny, I think, considering the overall numbers.

    I agree with you 100% on both statements.

    Yes, it helps a lot. Thanks!

    Kathryn
     
  12. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Fromtheheart,

    From the tone of your post, I would say that you certainly are!

    Kathryn
     
  13. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    CX,

    And from my perspective, you've always done a very good job of doing so. Thank you!

    Kathryn
     
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  14. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    A Christian is one who loves Christ, and will do his/her best to do what he/she believes Christ would wish. I see doctrines as minutiae that muddy the waters of the true message - that of Love and Salvation.:162:

    That is a wonderful message Captain X; I hope you don't mind my copying it as an endorsement of my views.;)
     
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  15. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Okay… Stop banging your head against the wall for a minute and listen to what I’m saying. So you believe that Protestants are heretics. Does that mean that they are not Christians, or does it just mean that they are Christians who are incorrect in some of the doctrines they believe? I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to phrase the question in such a way that it will be much easier to understand. If it doesn’t make sense to you, please just let it go.

    My person al belief, and the teaching of my Church, is that only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Roman Catholics and Orthodox Catholics also believe that to be the case about their respective Churches, unless I am mistaken. However, we don’t believe that all of the denominations other than our own are “non-Christians.” We just believe that some of their doctrines are incorrect. I’m trying to understand where you’re coming from as far as how you view so-called “Christian” denominations other than your own and mine (since I already know where you stand concerning mine).

    I would love to hear you define the word Christian. That’s what I asked for in my opening post. Unfortunately, you never got around to answering that question. You simply proceeded to tell me I’m not one.

    I don’t believe that either Muslims or atheists would actually appreciate your calling them Christians, Scott. But, since I worship Jesus Christ as my Savior, being known as a “Christian” is important to me. I don’t think I need to let you know what you’re allowed to say on this forum. If you’d stick to answering the question I posed, you’d be quite safe.

    But you know what, Mother Teresa once said something I thought was just great. (Actually, she said a lot of things I think are great.) But this particular statement makes a lot of sense, in the context of this discussion:

    "For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It never was between you and them anyway.”

    Kathryn
     
  16. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Victor,

    Why do you think it is too vague? Do you think it would be an unacceptable definition to Jesus Christ?
     
  17. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I totally agree!
     
  18. Todd

    Todd Rajun Cajun

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    You right Victor, it is a little vague. All of a sudden I got busy at my job and had to type this quickly.

    Well, I don't hold to any particular doctrine. I am basically a non-denomination bible reading Christian :D. Christ is the corner stone, the foundation, and the rock of my faith. I think most if not all Christians believe this, as Christian is derived from the name Christ (not trying to be sarcastic). I guess I base a lot of my faith as a Christian on the following verses in the Bible (this is the NIV version).

    Romans 10 (verses 8 - 13)
    8But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
     
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  19. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    You are most certainly not mistaken about the Orthodox position. I would agree with you totally in this apart, of course, from which Church has the fullness of the Truth. You can be a Christian and have incorrect beliefs even within the Church.

    James
     
  20. Baerly

    Baerly Active Member

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    Becoming A Christian

    January 22, 2005 by Mike Riley - Mike Riley's Blog /thepreachersfiles.com
    One of the most loosely used words in modern English is the term "Christian". It has been applied to almost everyone from the faithful member of the church, to the non-religious moral man, who holds as his greatest attributes that he provides for his family and does not mistreat his wife. In this present generation, multiplied thousands who thus consider themselves Christians, have never realized what the Bible actually teaches on this vital subject.
    What Constitutes A Christian?
    As we learn from a study of the Bible, merely "believing in Christ" does not make one a child of God, but rather gives us "power to become sons of God" (John 1:12). Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).
    Again we remember the wicked rulers who "believed on him" but did not confess him because "they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:42-43). Since the term "Christian" is used in the Bible only to refer to active, obedient followers of Christ (Romans 6:17; Gal. 5:6), it is obvious that it takes more than mere faith for a person to actually become a Christian (Acts 11:26; 1 Peter 4:16).
    We should always bear the following in mind when defining a "Christian": Merely "thinking" ourselves to be saved does not make it so, and even if the whole world should judge us to be a Christian, that this is not the true test of discipleship. God is our savior, not man, therefore only He has the divine right to say "how" we are to be saved and thus to rightly wear the name of His Son.
    Becoming A Christian
    What is it to become a Christian according to God's Word? The New Testament teaches that one:
    (1) must hear the Word of God (Romans 10:17) in order to acquire faith (Hebrews 11:6).
    (2) must believe in Christ (John 8:24).
    (3) must repent or turn from their sins (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:30).
    (4) must confess Christ as God's Son before man (Matthew 10:32).
    (5) must be baptized "into Christ" for remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Gal. 3:26-27).
    (6) must be faithful in serving the Lord daily (Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13; Revelation 2:10).
    Becoming and living daily as a faithful Christian should be the aim and goal of all of us (Revelation 22:17; Matthew 24:13; Revelation 2:10). In love Baerly
     
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