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Featured How do you become a Christian according to the Bible?

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by CohenDavidson, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    The general drift of one of Jesus' teachings is that basic faith and living it out was far more important than any ritual. Therefore, whether the man had been baptized or not would be irrelevant imo. Now don't take that as me downplaying the issue of baptism, however.
     
  2. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I'll repent! Sorry! I'm so ashamed. :(
     
  3. CohenDavidson

    CohenDavidson Member

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    You also have to consider that at this moment, the New Testament had not come to effect. The will only comes after the death of the one who created it. Today we are under the new testament. Colossians 2:14. Today we live on this side of the cross. The theft lived on the other side of the cross(chronologically). Therefore we can not use his instance of salvation as a model for ours. The theft was not under Christ's new will a that time. The cross of Christ stands between the old and new law. Hebrews 7:12. Therefore today we can not be saved the same way as the theft was. That will that came into effect after Christ's death came with conditions to forgiveness. We see how Christ did this many times during his walk on this Earth. He forgave men and women in several instance, but we must realize that that was before his will came into effect.
     
  4. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    You also must understand that it is the blood of Jesus that saves and not natural water that basically is cursed from the time of Adam.

    But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (not the water)
    13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (not the water)

    Your position also points to the fact that a dying man can never go to Heaven if he isn't close enough to get baptised which would be an erroneous position to hold on to.

    BUT, since everyone should follow protocol and get baptised, there really isn't a reason to argue about it.
     
  5. Buddha Dharma

    Buddha Dharma Dharma Practitioner

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    It's alright. In fact, I wasn't really offended. I don't want you to think that. I am just kinda used to Christians running to a spiritual understanding of the Bible as a way of trying to shut down non-Christians that have read the Bible in debates.

    Do you think the clear meaning is usually present at a glance? If not, this greatly weakens the convincing power that apologists often claim the Bible has.

    Yes, but that doesn't necessarily contradict the NT teaching on water baptism. One would suggest that it couldn't possibly contradict it. I'm aware you are Protestant, but I offer for your consideration one of the Catholic ways of historically solving this seeming contradiction.

    Catholics believe there are other means of being reckoned as baptized, because of extreme instances. Baptism by desire is probably how they would categorize the thief on the cross. What that means is- the thief's case doesn't negate the need for baptism or the teaching on it, but is an exceptional case regarding the grace.

    That because God would know the thief couldn't reasonably be baptized as he was being executed- he imparts baptism by desire. Catholics think this is necessary qualification though because they don't think an exception can be used to negate the teaching on baptism.

    As a Protestant, even you must somewhat appreciate the Catholic intellectual fervor?
     
  6. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    [/quote] The Bible is only clear if you ignore those points that aren't clear. The Bible was not written as one solid source. It was written as a variety of books that later were collected together.

    What you've done is taken books that were never meant to be read together, and combined them, at the same time ironing out the disagreements. And taking verses out of context really doesn't work.

    Jesus was a Jew. He stated that not a single iota of the law should pass until he came back. As in, his followers should continue following the law as it wasn't changing.

    As for there being no Jew or Gentile, Jesus never said that. He made a distinction. Paul later made the claim. Yet, Jesus was clear that the law should not pass until he came back. As in, Jews continue to follow the Law until he came back.

    And there were no Christians during the time of the Bible. There were proto-Christians. But at the time, they were still under the religion of Judaism. It really isn't until the second century that Christianity emerges.

    Jesus makes the statement that until he returns, not a single iota of the Law will pass. He's speaking to fellow Jews, and is making the case that you will have to follow the Law until I come back. He hasn't returned yet.

    The early church argues (I'm speaking of James, Peter, and John, the pillars of the Jerusalem sect) that one needs to convert to Judaism first before they can follow Jesus. Specifically, they must become circumcised. Paul objects to this, saying that one didn't have to be circumcised. That was a major disagreement. (Paul was basically stating that those who practiced Judaism, but didn't convert, could also participate. Those individuals were called God-fearers).

    This view really isn't new. It has been taught in seminary, or with religious studies courses for decades.
     
  7. CohenDavidson

    CohenDavidson Member

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    Yeah... Not following you. The Bible specifically states that Jesus death marked the point of a new covenant. Hebrew 7:12 Hebrews 9:16 colossians 2:14. The apostles were told to stay in Jerusalem and there they would be given power. Luke 24:49. The kingdom was foreshadowed to come with power Mark 9:1. In Acts 1:8 Jesus speaks of that power coming. In Acts 2 the kingdom that Jesus referred to as coming with power was being established. That day about three thousand souls became Christians. Acts 2:41 There most definitely were Christians during the Biblical times. A Christian is a member added to Jesus's church, or kingdom. In Acts 2 the kingdom came with power as it was foreshadowed by Jesus. The souls were added to this kingdom thus making them Christians.

    DEEP BREATH

    I was not saying Jesus didn't recognize the difference between Jew and Gentile. Salvation through Christianity does not require you to become a Jew. Jesus states that the gospel is for all. Matthew 28:19-20
     
  8. KenS

    KenS Veteran Member
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    Indeed not a single iota of the Law will pass because we still need it to be a teacher to understand that we need a Savior.

    Nowhere does it say one needs to convert to Judaism. What it does say is that we are engrafted into the olive tree through Jesus Christ.

    Perhaps the confusion comes within this context: Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

    There are three groups of people. Jesus was mainly speaking to the Jew and Paul was mainly speaking to the church. Different groups and different covenant
     
  9. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    In today's CC, there simply is no judgement even for non-Christians. It is not our role to judge others-- it's the Boss'.

    I'm not negating the importance of baptism, but I do believe we must put it into a broader perspective when it comes to the issue of "salvation". Jesus said that children were already part of the Kingdom of God, and yet at that time infant baptism wasn't common.

    Rituals are all fine & dandy, but faith and morality, or the lack there of, probably is more important based on their emphasis within the gospels.

    I gotta go.
     
  10. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    Baptism is the entrance into the Christian community. After his encounter with the risen Christ St Paul was baptized in order to join the community. No water, in the Spirit. By the time Matthew writes baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is already the practice of church. I think it is only Matthew that makes reference to the community as church.
    To join the Roman Catholic church one must be a baptized Christian. Post Vatican II most churches have moved the place for baptisms from the altar area to the entrance of the church. Symbolically following the order of baptism first, hearing the word of God second and finally communion.
     
  11. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    Jesus never says that his death was a point of a new covenant. That is someone writing after the fact, that claims Jesus's death was a new covenant. Someone who we don't know. Someone who's book nearly got thrown out of the canon. The mention of a new covenant is only post Jesus. Jesus states the opposite, that the Law, which was a symbol of the covenant, would not pass away.

    So Acts does mention that later on, people who followed the movement were called Christian. But that wasn't Christianity. The name Christian preceded the actual religion. When we look at the topic historically, we can see Christianity emerging after the fall of the Temple in 70 C.E. Before that, we know people like Paul saw it as just Judaism. He's literally taking it from the OT prophets, where it said all nations would bow before God in the end days. The understanding is that the Jewish message would pass onto them.

    As for listening to what Jesus says in Matthew, he does state that the gospel is for all. He's just repeating what OT prophets said. But he doesn't simply say that. Jesus also states that not a single iota of the law should pass until the heavens pass. And that those who follow him should follow that Law. As in, he's talking to Jews (which he literally was). The message for others would be, if you're going to follow me, you have to follow the Law.

    What Jesus says isn't what Paul says, or what Hebrew says. To confuse them all for the same word just doesn't work.

    That's not what Jesus says. Jesus instead states, follow those commandments. He says nothing about needing them to understand we need a Savior.

    That's not what it says. Jesus literally says, the Laws and Prophets won't be abolished, not even a single iota of them, until the end of times. He's not coming to replace them. Instead, he tells his followers to follow those commandments. He even goes on and interprets the manner in which we should follow those commandments, and he means in the most strictest of manners. That literally means, if one is to follow Jesus, they must follow the Law, and that means converting to Judaism.
    Jesus didn't say that though. Jesus is pretty specific on how to follow him. Paul reinterprets that message, still in the context of Jewish thinking (as the OT prophets stated, in the end, all nations will bow before God. Paul thought he was living in the end times, and acted accordingly).

    That's the problem with thinking the entire Bible is a whole. It's not. Its a collection of various texts, texts that often disagree with each other, or expand on the theology as new questions arise, as the end never comes. Jesus says absolutely nothing about a new covenant, and he backs the covenant given to the Jews by God.
     
  12. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Jesus said that John was the end of the Law (all 613 Commandments), Peter negated the Kosher Laws, and Paul said that circumcision wasn't necessary.

    The issue of the Law is a bit more complex because it appears that Jesus believed and taught that the "law of love" basically covered all 613, so one can say that he actually didn't teach that there should be the end of the Law. And at no point did the early church require a conversion to Judaism first, but there's a good chance at least that the Ebionites may have.
     
  13. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    And that's why the Bible, as a whole, is complicated. What Matthew says, where it is clear that you have to follow the Law, is different from Luke of John. They don't agree. And we can't assume they believed what the other authors did. It's just a mess.

    Paul did say circumcision wasn't necessary, and Peter negated the Kosher Laws, and both instances were major problems. For Paul, it was something he had to fight for, and he fought against the disciples of Jesus, and the brother of Jesus. For Peter, it was a problem he and Paul ended up fighting over, where Paul brags about how he called Peter out for being a hypocrite. The issue was messy.

    As for the Law of Love, ehh. So Jesus isn't the first to say that the sum of the law was love God, and your neighbor. It was a common saying in Judaism, and we have other writings that look at it. Basically, the view is simple. We can look at the Law through different interpretations, different perspectives. This saying (which many still use today) is that we should interpret the Law through a perspective of love. As in, if following the Law would cause harm to another, you can circumvent it and be okay. The Law is not meant to be harmful. It also gets to the heart of the matter of the Law. The Law isn't something that is crushing. It is a symbol of love. Jews keep it because of their love for God. Yes, they will break it, but the Law was never set up to be unbreakable.

    You are correct that the early church didn't require conversion, but that is after the fact. The early church really doesn't form until the second century, when Christianity breaks away from Judaism. Before that, it was a pretty hotly debated topic. If we look at Jesus, yes, you have to be a Jew. If we look at James, the brother of Jesus, as well as the disciples of Jesus (specifically John and Peter), there again we see that circumcision, and becoming a Jew, was important. We know it was important because Paul later disagrees with them, and argues that circumcision (and converting to Judaism fully) wasn't needed.
     
  14. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    It actually began with Jesus and the apostles as being the first "Christian" (a name assigned later) "community" ("eklesia"-- "church"). It had a structure to it as it evolved forth. Along with this, Jesus gave the leadership not only the power to bind or loosen sins, but also to teach, convert others, and make necessary changes, much like God gave to Moses and his community.
     
  15. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    So lets assume that what you're saying is how it was (it may be more semantics than anything else. I don't consider it to be the early church until Christianity is formed after it split from Judaism, so in the late first century and early second century. That generally is manner in which it is defined in the scholarship as well, but again, it can boil down to semantics).

    So lets say it starts with Jesus and the apostles. This community really evolves out of the Jewish synagogue, where Jesus would have started, and where the movement stayed (Paul even mentions that he always approached the synagogue first (or the Jewish community), and then went out from there.

    When Jesus dies, that leadership passes on to James, the brother of Jesus. This was the common way for such a thing to happen, and Paul and the book of Acts supports this. The Pillars of this leadership is James, the brother of Jesus, along with two disciples of Jesus (two apostles), John and Peter. According to this leadership, what you label the early church, one definitely had to be circumcised before coming into the movement. We know this because it become a matter of debate later on, when Paul becomes involved with the movement. It was no small matter.

    When it was discovered that Paul was teaching you didn't have to be circumcised, the apostles and elders of the movement (including the pillars) told Paul he needed to come to Jerusalem for a meeting. We are told that there was a good deal of debate on the matter, and only then was it ruled that Gentiles didn't necessarily have to be circumcised. And that's only was because they believed Jesus would return soon, so they needed to get the word out to as many people as possible.

    So yes, the early church required people to convert to Judaism first.
     
  16. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Depends on who's scholarship one is reading. The fact of the matter is that there was a continuum that led from Jesus to the apostles and to who the apostles later appointed as evidenced in Acts and some of the epistles.

    James was the political leader of the Way, but Peter was the spiritual leader, and when Paul comes to the Twelve, it's Peter whom he deals with, not James. Matter of fact, when the apostles are listed, Peter's name is almost always first, and sometimes it just reads "Peter and the others".

    Since the Way was already walking away from strict adherence to the Law shortly after Jesus died, and since the Twelve would have tried to follow Jesus' teachings as close as possible, what Jesus taught must have led up to these changes vis-a-vis the Law. It's unimaginable that they would have defied him if he taught that strict adherence to the Law was a must. The Law is a vital necessity within normative Judaism, so Jesus had to have opened the door in some way to have the Twelve walk away from the letter of the Law.

    It is probable that just after the first decade or so of the church, that might be true, but definitely not after that.

    IMO, Paul sees a problem, namely how does the church mesh two very different elements, namely the Jewish branch that adheres closely to the Law, versus the "God-Fearers" (gentiles) that didn't? How do they conduct the Agape Meal? kosher? (remember that James caught Peter eating cheeseburgers with gentiles ;)) What about their kids because conversion to Judaism was a requirement for Jewish marriage. observant or not?

    IMO, Paul figured out that it couldn't be done, namely have two different groups operating under two different sets of rules, but still trying to be of "one body". The early church believed that their central teacher was Jesus, and so it had to be Jesus that opened the door on such a change, and I believe it comes from his very liberal attitude towards the Law itself ("law of love"). There's simply no logical way that the Twelve would have abandoned any of the Mosaic Law if Jesus hadn't somehow opened that door.

    Interesting conversation.
     
  17. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    The consensus in mainstream scholarship, is that Christianity formed, in a separate form from Judaism, after the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. The early church period is then measure from there.

    There is a continuum for sure. The power went from Jesus, to James, Peter, and John. And from there it split incredibly. There were multiple factions that emerged, which Paul even criticizes.
    There is no suggestion that James was just a political leader or that Peter was the spiritual leader. Yes, Peter is often mentioned first, but Acts and Paul both state that Paul and Peter had some sort of relationship anyway. Both also agree that James was at the head. There is no distinction between a spiritual leader and political leader there.

    And there shouldn't be a difference. Looking at the common practice at that time, spiritual and political leaders were the same. Jesus was both a spiritual leader, who also was seen as a potential political leader. John the Baptist fits the mold as well. As do the Roman Emperors, or any of the Jewish Kings. The two went hand in hand.
    We know virtually nothing about "the Way." All we really know is that the Way is one of various names in which the Jesus movement was called, and that it was led by James, Peter, and John. It was a Jewish movement at the core, but at sometime, it allowed for Gentiles to also enter in. We don't know if they were walking away from strict adherence to the Law shortly after Jesus died. We really don't hear anything about the movement until a number of years later, when Paul first mentions the movement briefly. And at that time, when Paul first interacts with them, they are still quite strict.

    However, Judaism, at that time, was always open to Gentiles to a point. There were people called God-fearers who were on the outside. So allowing Gentiles to get into the mix wasn't even straying from Judaism.

    We also don't know how closely they would have followed the teachings of Jesus, especially since they had to deal with a lot that Jesus never mentioned. As time moved on, the entire movement had to begin rethinking the message. And changing what Jesus said wasn't a big deal. He wasn't seen as God. He was seen as a human, who was fallible.

    A lot of your argument though relies on ignoring what Jesus said, and instead assuming he had to have said something because later people believed it.
    That was my point. To begin with, one had to convert to Judaism. Later on, that became lax, until the movement was removed from Judaism.
    There was no need to open any door. In Jeremiah (I believe that's the book) we see an OT prophet saying that at the end of times, all nations will bow to God. Paul saw himself living in the end times. So much so that various churches that he wrote to already believed that they had been resurrected. That in itself had already opened the door. The believe that the end was near was everything Paul needed in order to spread the message to the Gentiles, as he believed Judaism encouraged. And we know Paul was thinking in that manner as he alludes to it multiple times.

    I agree though, a very interesting conversation.
     
  18. Apologetics

    Apologetics Member

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    The answer is is not complicated. A christian is a person who follows the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. I include the Apostles because Jesus said John 17:20 Those that believe on me through their word. Which is our New testament Books written by some of the Apostles.
     
  19. CohenDavidson

    CohenDavidson Member

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    Lets read the full verse now... Matthew 5:17-18 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
    When Jesus died... it was accomplished... all was accomplished. When Jesus dies he said "it is finished" John 19:30. Jesus's death marked the point of a new covenant, nailing the old law to the cross. Colossians 2:14-17 Paul did not see the old law and the new law as the same. He wrote that previous verse in Colossians. He realized that the former law was in our favor when it comes to forgiveness. He also realized the old law was nailed to the cross. Just because e sited the old law does not mean he still was a Jew in religion. When the old testament refers to things such as books of wisdom or historical event, etc. they are to be believed and used for our learning, Romans 15:4. These thing are obey Christians. the only thing is the method of worship and salvation. The law of Moses was a collection of over 600 laws and statues that we are not bound to today.
    That verse Matthew 28:19 does not directly state that the gospel is for all directly, ill give you that, but come o you know what its saying. When it says tech ALL nations it is implying the gospel is for ALL. Romans 1:16 says it is for the Jews and Gentiles... meaning ALL
     
  20. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    And the elements used in these are symbolic and the connection to what these elements signify goes to the root meaning.
     
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