What is a Christian?

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Christianity
  3. » What is a Christian?

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Justin
 
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2007 11:12 pm
Christian - what is a Christian?

I've been confronted with this question and it's a question that often comes into play within the forums. I think we've seen a variety of people who call themselves Christians... So what is a Christian?

Answers.com Defines it as the following:
adj.
  1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
  2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
  3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
  4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
  5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.
n.
  1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
  2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.
The term 'Christian' was mentioned 3 times in the Bible.

The Bible Says:
[INDENT]Acts 11:26
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Acts 26:28
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

1 Peter 4:16
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
[/INDENT]Definitions of Christian on the Web (according to Google):

  • relating to or characteristic of Christianity; "Christian rites"
  • following the teachings or manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus Christ
  • a religious person who believes Jesus is the Christ and who is a member of a Christian denomination ordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn[/SIZE]

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian[/SIZE]

  • the name given by the Greeks or Romans, probably in reproach, to the followers of Jesus ("little Christ's!"). It was first used at Antioch. The names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren," "the faithful," "elect," "saints," "believers." But as distinguishing them from the multitude without, the name "Christian" came into use, and was universally accepted. This name occurs but three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). www.calvarychapel.com/redbarn/terms.htm[/SIZE]

  • Census offices, many dictionaries, mainline and liberal Christians, and the media generally accept as Christian any group that seriously and thoughtfully identifies itself as Christian. Some conservative Christians restrict the term to only born-again Fundamentalist or other Evangelical Christians. ... www.religioustolerance.org/media_rel3.htm[/SIZE]

  • "One who believes the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin." [DD] Fundies believe only another Fundie can be a Christian. members.aol.com/porchnus/dict01.htm[/SIZE]

  • a person who believes in Christianity; also an adjective www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/festivals-christmas.htm[/SIZE]

  • "Christ's ones," that is, believers in Christ. In Acts 11:26 it says that "the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch." The word is often misused today, for it is frequently applied to people in the West simply because they are Westerners or because they are not Muslims or Hindus or Jews, etc. ... answering-islam.org.uk/Testimonies/TruePath/glossary.htm[/SIZE]

  • a spiritually born-again person who professes to be a follower of Jesus, the Christ or Messiah. This person exemplify the teachings and the life of Jesus. Further, this person believes that they have been unconditionally redeemed of their sins and have received eternal life in Christ by faith. www.exit109.com/~apg/glossary.htm[/SIZE]

  • 1. Someone who has a living relationship with Christ through Baptism. Such a person will never deny that Jesus died to save him from sin, however, not all Christians will be able to express this belief at all times. A baptized baby or a severely mentally handicapped person can still be a Christian. A person doesn't choose to become a Christian. God chooses us. Ordinarily, one becomes a Christian by baptism. ... www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/4855/jargon.htm[/SIZE]

  • Christian, as distinguished from Jewish encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861674910/gentile.html[/SIZE]

  • Poland is a Catholic country (over 95% of the population), and the Catholic Church plays a very important role in society. With AWS's victory, it has begun to wield even more power than in the past, as the line between the church and state blurs. For instance, AWS leader Marian Krzaklewski wants to create a new political party based on "Christian values and ideals", which sounds much like the Christian Coalition in the United States. ... www.masterpage.com.pl/outlook/terms.html[/SIZE]

  • Mormons only (cf. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 132). christiandefense.org/mor_define.htm[/SIZE]

  • A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST. At first Christians were exclusively Jews. After Christ's death, Gentiles were brought into the faith and after the apostasy Gentiles dominated the faith to the point of excluding and persecuting Jews. www.ida.net/users/rdk/ces/definitions.html[/SIZE]

  • Those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. re-xs.ucsm.ac.uk/cupboard/exam/examsupp/dloads/cp/cp35.htm[/SIZE]
 
Justin
 
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2007 11:26 pm
@Justin,
Brainy Quotes says:

Christian
One who believes, or professes or is assumed to believe, in Jesus Christ, and the truth as taught by Him; especially, one whose inward and outward life is conformed to the doctrines of Christ.
One born in a Christian country or of Christian parents, and who has not definitely becomes an adherent of an opposing system.
One of a Christian denomination which rejects human creeds as bases of fellowship, and sectarian names. They are congregational in church government, and baptize by immersion. They are also called Disciples of Christ, and Campbellites.
One of a sect (called Christian Connection) of open-communion immersionists. The Bible is their only authoritative rule of faith and practice.
Pertaining to Christ or his religion; as, Christian people.
Pertaining to the church; ecclesiastical; as, a Christian court.
Characteristic of Christian people; civilized; kind; kindly; gentle; beneficent.

RiverPower.com says:

A Christian is someone who has decided to entrust his or her life to Jesus Christ. A Christian trusts Christ for forgiveness of sin, a right standing before God, and guidance in life.
Christian's are sometimes referred to as "born again" because Jesus said that one must be born of the water (the physical birth) and the Spirit:[INDENT][INDENT] John 3:3-7 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
[/INDENT][/INDENT]To be born again--born of the Spirit--a person must place his or her trust in Jesus Christ (See How does one become a Christian?. The Spirit of Jesus Christ actually comes to dwell within the new Christian, giving newness of life--His life.
In sum, Christ makes a Christian a Christian. Going to church does not make a person a Christian. A special ceremony can't do it. And nobody can be a Christian by trying to be a good person. Only Jesus Christ can make a person a Christian:[INDENT]John 1:12,13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
[/INDENT]BaptistPillar.com says:
[CENTER]Definition of a Christian[/CENTER]
[CENTER]He has a mind, and he knows it,
He has a will, and shows it;
He sees his way, and goes it,
He draws a line, and toes it.
He has a chance, and takes it,
A friendly hand and shakes it;
A rule, and never breaks it,
If there's no time, he makes it.
He loves the truth, stands by it,
Nor ever tries to shy it,
Whoever may deny it, or openly defy it.
He hears a lie and slays it,
He owes a debt and pays it;
And, as I've heard him praise it,
He knows the game, and plays it.
He sees the path Christ trod,
And grips the hand of God.
[/CENTER]


GotQuestions.org says:


Answer: Webster's Dictionary defines a Christian as "a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ or in the religion based on the teaching of Jesus." While this is a good starting point in understanding what a Christian is, like many secular definitions, it falls somewhat short of really communicating the biblical truth of what it means to be a Christian.

The word Christian is used three times in New Testament (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called "Christians" in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ. It was originally used by the unsaved people of Antioch as a kind of contemptuous nickname used to make fun of the Christians. It literally means, "belonging to the party of Christ" or an "adherent or follower of Christ," which is very similar to the way Webster's Dictionary defines it.

Unfortunately over time, the word "Christian" has lost a great deal of it significance and is often used of someone who is religious or has high moral values instead of a true born again follower of Jesus Christ. Many people who don't believe and trust in Jesus Christ consider themselves Christians simply because they go to church or they live in a "Christian" nation. But going to church, serving those less fortunate than you, or being a good person does not make you a Christian. As one evangelist once said, "Going to church doesn't make one a Christian anymore than going to a garage makes one an automobile." Being a member of a church, attending services regularly, and giving to the work of the church cannot make you a Christian.

The Bible teaches us that the good works we do cannot make us acceptable to God. Titus 3:5 tells us that it is "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." So, a Christian is someone who has been born-again by God (John 3:3; John 3:7; 1 Peter 1:23) and has put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that it is "by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." A true Christian is someone who has repented of his or her sin and put faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone. Their trust is not in following a religion or a set of moral codes, or a list of do's and don'ts.

A true Christian is a person who has put his or her faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ and fact that He died on the cross as payment for sins and rose again on the third day to obtain victory over death and to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. John 1:12 tells us: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." A true Christian is indeed a child of God, a part of God's true family, and one who has been given new life in Christ. The mark of a true Christian is love for others and obedience to God's Word (1 John 2:4; 1 John 2:10).

PostitiveAtheism.org
says:

Battersea Town Hall under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society, England.
Bertrand Russell-
As your chairman has told you, the subject about which I am going to speak to you tonight is "Why I Am Not a Christian." Perhaps it would be as well, first of all, to try to make out what one means by the word "Christian." It is used in these days in a very loose sense by a great many people. Some people mean no more by it than a person who attempts to live a good life. In that sense I suppose there would be Christians in all sects and creeds; but I do not think that that is the proper sense of the word, if only because it would imply that all the people who are not Christians -- all the Buddhists, Confucians, Mohammedans, and so on -- are not trying to live a good life. I do not mean by a Christian any person who tries to live decently according to his lights. I think that you must have a certain amount of definite belief before you have a right to call yourself a Christian. The word does not have quite such a full-blooded meaning now as it had in the times of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant. You accepted a whole collection of creeds which were set out with great precision, and every single syllable of those creeds you believed with the whole strength of your convictions.

Nowadays it is not quite that. We have to be a little more vague in our meaning of Christianity. I think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anyone calling himself a Christian. The first is one of a dogmatic nature -- namely, that you must believe in God and immortality. If you do not believe in those two things, I do not think that you can properly call yourself a Christian. Then, further than that, as the name implies, you must have some kind of belief about Christ. The Mohammedans, for instance, also believe in God and immortality, and yet they would not call themselves Christians. I think you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men. If you are not going to believe that much about Christ, I do not think that you have any right to call yourself a Christian. Of course, there is another sense which you find in Whitaker's Almanack and in geography books, where the population of the world is said to be divided into Christians, Mohammedans, Buddhists, fetish worshipers, and so on; but in that sense we are all Christians. The geography books counts us all in, but that is a purely geographical sense, which I suppose we can ignore. Therefore I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian I have to tell you two different things: first, why I do not believe in God and in immortality; and, secondly, why I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant him a very high degree of moral goodness.

But for the successful efforts of unbelievers in the past, I could not take so elastic a definition of Christianity as that. As I said before, in the olden days it had a much more full-blooded sense. For instance, it included the belief in hell. Belief in eternal hell fire was an essential item of Christian belief until pretty recent times. In this country, as you know, it ceased to be an essential item because of a decision of the Privy Council, and from that decision the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York dissented; but in this country our religion is settled by Act of Parliament, and therefore the Privy Council was able to override their Graces and hell was no longer necessary to a Christian. Consequently I shall not insist that a Christian must believe in hell.

Christian-ThinkTank.com says:

As far as I can tell, after thirty years of experiencing God and life as a "Christian" and after thinking about this experience from several perspectives, a Christian is...[INDENT]a person who has a personal heart-to-heart relationship with the living God, characterized by warm and active acceptance on God's part; our honesty and dependence on the activities of Jesus Christ.[/INDENT]Let's look at this a little more closely.

"A personal heart-to-heart relationship":
The point of this is to exclude 'religious' relationships, in which an 'object' is revered 'from afar' but not approached in a personal way. God is indeed an 'awesome entity' but he is nonetheless a Person. A personal relationship is a reciprocal relationship, not a one-way deal. There is real interaction, real disclosure, real closeness that develops. The 'heart-to-heart' aspect intends to convey the honesty and openness of this relationship. There are no 'games' that can be played with an all-knowing God(!), no secrets withheld, no area of life concealed. (The interesting thing about this is that, even though God knows all about an area of our life, we might NEVER open it up to Him in discussion, in our efforts to 'hide' from His feedback!)

I cannot emphasize strongly enough the personal character of this relationship. I see so many aberrations and stunted-growth versions of it. It is not a formal relationship, a primarily legal one, or even simply a 'creature-Creator' relationship. (I find the human tendency to relegate God into a religious icon or image or object to depersonalize the relationship and short-change the possibilities of such a relationship--much as we do in other significant personal relationships in our lives.)

"The living God":
The subject of God is quite a vast one, but the main point here is that He is LIVING. There are feelings, and thoughts, and decisions, and actions, and initiatives, and responses, and values, and commitments... all the aspects of personal existence. He is not a force or an attitude or a "perspective on the universe". We walk around our lives 'face to face' with this One-- even if we ignore Him.

"Characterized by warm and active acceptance on God's part":

From God's side, He accepts us. But this is not merely a 'political' acceptance--it has a warmth and joy to it. He 'smiles' upon us. He delights in us(!). This is more than simply the very important 'peace with God'; it is an active relationship. He gets involved in our lives for good--for our growth, our development, our character, our fulfillment, our stability, our significance in the lives and futures of others. He is always 'glad to see us'.

"Characterized by our honesty and dependence on":
From our side, the relationship is one of honesty about who He is and who we are. We are not 'gods', and as such need our Maker for the realization of the purposes for which we appear in this universe. We are a people dependent on the universe He has produced, and we are people whose goodness has been severely compromised by our regular moral failures and pervasive spiritual apathy.

The main thing in the universe that God the Father loves...is God the Son. When we are honest with the Father about who his Son is, and what he did in history for us, God welcomes us into this warm relationship...We simply have to be honest with Him about his dearly-loved Son.

The second part of this is dependence. We depend on Him for the 'repair' of our relationship WITH Him. He is the active one, coming in history to earth and taking upon Himself the consequences of our moral failure. We simply are honest about those actions/events to the extent that we rely upon those actions/events as an adequate basis for God's warm acceptance of us. In other words, we agree with God that his Son's life and work are sufficient grounds to accept us into this special relationship. It's that simple.

"The activities of Jesus Christ":
The basic 'core' truth of Who he was/is and what he did are simple. He was God the Son, who took on human flesh, lived among us, suffered at the hands of His Father (on the cross) as our substitute, came back to life after his execution, and transported himself 'outside' space-time to 'heaven'. He will return to earth visibly in the future, but for now, He is involved invisibly in the macro-forces of history, and the micro-events of our lives. His death satisfied God the Father's just moral demands upon us, and 'freed' God to lavish his warm acceptance upon us.

This is the beautiful truth of what a Christian is...a beloved child of the living and loving God...and it starts with a simple conversation with God...telling Him that you accept "His version" of who his Son was, and what He did for you...
 
Justin
 
Reply Tue 21 Aug, 2007 11:36 pm
@Justin,
What is a Christian?

So I ask, what is a Christian? So many definitions to think about and question. In your responses, please write in your own words what a Christian is to you. How do you define Christianity? What is a Christian?

This is a big question because with all the definitions it encompasses a vast amount of people. Feel free to post definitions but don't forget to comment on them. We want to hear from those of you who claim to be Christians as well as though who are not. If you find one of these definitions something you don't agree with, tell us which one and why.

Thank you all for your participation in this thread! Let's all have fun:) with this and do not argue or attack each other... That goes for the Christians as well!
 
Katherine phil
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 01:10 pm
@Justin,
The definitions you have listed from Christian perspectives are the ones that are correct. They all accurately describe being a Christian in different ways.

I would not trust non-Christian sites for answers. Christanity is a discipline and someone who does not live it cannot understand it. I've studied Buddhism, but I wouldn't dare propose to understand it because I have not committed my life to it in a way to experience what it truly is.

I think this quote from your post explains it the best:

a person who has a personal heart-to-heart relationship with the living God, characterized by warm and active acceptance on God's part; our honesty and dependence on the activities of Jesus Christ.
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 03:01 pm
@Katherine phil,
Katherine wrote:
The definitions you have listed from Christian perspectives are the ones that are correct. They all accurately describe being a Christian in different ways.

I would not trust non-Christian sites for answers. Christanity is a discipline and someone who does not live it cannot understand it...

If I were to tell you that the definitions and portrayals made about Americans are only accurate if the Americans are the ones telling the story...would you believe me?
Would you trust a British professor to give you answers about American politics, or would you say that he can't possibly understand it?

Being Christian is about living your life as Christ lived his. The title of being a Christian can't belong to an organization, any more than the right to believe in God can belong to an organization.
 
Katherine phil
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 03:09 pm
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler wrote:
If I were to tell you that the definitions and portrayals made about Americans are only accurate if the Americans are the ones telling the story...would you believe me?
Would you trust a British professor to give you answers about American politics, or would you say that he can't possibly understand it?

Being Christian is about living your life as Christ lived his. The title of being a Christian can't belong to an organization, any more than the right to believe in God can belong to an organization.


Being a Christian is about a life surrendered to Jesus Christ. His Authority, His Purposes. Simply immitating Him is not enough. Please see definitions below.
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 03:36 pm
@Justin,
what definitions? If you posted a link, it's not there.
 
Katherine phil
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 03:44 pm
@Justin,
The definitions posted by Justin. In order to define a Christian, one must use a Biblically based definition. Webster will not help in this arena if you are truly trying to understand what Christians are.
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 03:55 pm
@Justin,
In order to define America, must I listen to GWB's definition of America, since he's their leader?
 
Katherine phil
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 04:02 pm
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler wrote:
In order to define America, must I listen to GWB's definition of America, since he's their leader?


You're off topic. We are discussing the definition of a Christian. Christians find their understanding of who they are and what they do from the Bible. You can't make up a definition on your own without consulting either a practicing Christain or the Bible.
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 04:22 pm
@Justin,
I'm providing an example of fallacy.
A Christian's definition of being a Christian is to worship God in the way that was taught by Christ to us. To live in light of his examples, and to be forgiving of each other.
An anti-Christian's definition of a Christian might be to go to church every sunday and pray to a false deity, while following instructions from an outdated book that was written thousands of years ago.
A Buddhist's definition of a Christian might be someone who has devoted their life to the teachings of their god, according to the gospels of his son.
A non-religious person's views might be that Christians are people who go to church every sunday, follow Jesus and pray to a god so that they can go to heaven.


Just because someone is not of a specific denomination, does not mean that their definition or interpretation is any more or less correct than a Christian's is.

You're also assuming that I have little or no understanding of the bible or its teachings I think.
 
Justin
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 04:39 pm
@Justin,
Katherine, have you actually seen some of the posts made by your fellow practicing Christians? Saying you are one and living it are two separate things. Man made up the definition from the beginning why should we have to consult a practicing Christian... Oh wait, I've heard many stories of practicing preachers being pedophiles. So do we follow the Church and the leadership of the Church or the pastor? So many Christian pastors don't even have a clue as to what they teach. Matter of fact, there are only a rare few seminaries that teach about Jesus. So I go to seminary to be a minister and they teach me theology so I can then go forth into the world and claim my place on a pulpit teaching my own version of theology and my own beliefs. Meanwhile after church, life is different...

The bottom line here is that most of these Churches are under the assumption that the more money you give, the more God loves you.

I've met a great many Christians in my time and I've really only met one that I've seen practicing what they preach. So there are not only several variations of a Christian but there is also a lot of the blind leading the blind.

So, I personally believe in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Does this mean I'm a Christian? Jesus never put a label on this nor did he tie a religion into it. The way I've seen Christians act in this forum, I would be embarrassed to call myself one... But, I've been labeled as one by some others.

Jesus didn't preach Christianity he lived and died showing love and forgiveness of one another. Jesus taught us to love the unlovely and to turn the other cheek and most of all, Jesus described the Unity of mankind and the Oneness of mankind and God. Treat your neighbors as if they were Jesus.

Am I a Christian? Should I be? I don't want anything to do with Christianity because of what it has become. Does that mean I will rot in hell? That's what a Christian will tell me. On the contrary, that hell and that heaven are something we live everyday of our lives.

So, back to the original question, What is a Christian? ... other than a half cocked organized religion with 1000 or more variations. Maybe I'm a Scientific Christian...
 
Katherine phil
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 05:09 pm
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler wrote:


You're also assuming that I have little or no understanding of the bible or its teachings I think.


I am not assuming that at all, I am saying that you are using an oversimplified definition to remove any real distinctions between someone who actually follows Jesus and someone who is a 'nice' person.

I see what you are saying in reference to an organization owning the title. I did not see what you meant at first. Being a Christian is not an organizational alligence at all, but it is an alligence to a Person.
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 05:20 pm
@Katherine phil,
Katherine wrote:
...Being a Christian is not an organizational alligence at all, but it is an alligence to a Person.


That's what I was saying, just using different words.

I'm not involved in any organized religion, due to my own beliefs and apprehensions about their general structure and purpose, but I have studied the Bible in great detail over the years, and I do have some very strong beliefs about God and his teachings.
I am a firm believer in Christ and his lessons, but I am no Christian. I defile my body with tobacco, alcohol, piercings and tattoos. I have in the past, also defiled it with drugs. I am not legally married, but I have three children. I swear, I curse, I lie, and I covet. I have stolen, cheated and gambled in the name of greed. All these things have made me a sinner, but they have made me no less a believer.

Kat, go check out the thread on debates, I think it's something I'd like to challenge you on, since we're both stubborn about the same topic.
 
jkennedy312
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 05:54 pm
@Aristoddler,
Hello,
I had a pretty good post all ready to send but somehow deleted it instead.

My basic attitude is that Christianity as an organized religion is as bound up in man-made garbage as any bureaucracy. Whatever belief system you were raised with will probably have a lasting impact, and you will feel more attuned to the images and ideas you've grown up with.

I believe the work Christ relates to the Greek Cristos which has more to do with the connection between each of us and our creator. Organized religion, in my opinion seeks to put barriers between us and our creator with priests, saints, holy men/women, etc who are asked to intervene for us. If we can each connect with the Christ within, we don't need anyone's help.

To me, God is a part of everything and everyone while also being the stuff that binds us all together - maybe dark matter, who knows. The fact is that we are all One we just need to truly believe it. Then when any one suffers we all care.

Thanks for listening.
JudyK
 
dpmartin
 
Reply Wed 22 Aug, 2007 06:25 pm
@Justin,
Justin

The definition of what a consummate Christian should be is Jesus the Christ. One who speaks and does as Jesus speaks and does. And that definition is written out in the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The worrisome thing about ministers and such, many preach and teach others to be like them when they are suppose to preach and teach be like Jesus. Follow Jesus and no one else. Because if I preach that you should be like me, then surly I will eventually disappoint you. But if I preach be like Jesus and not me, then should I fail, you will not be disappointed in Jesus. It is Jesus that is ordained by the Father to be the Trusted One. Not us.

Thanks for the opportunity to say so.
 
karmapolice
 
Reply Thu 23 Aug, 2007 12:49 am
@dpmartin,
I am an agnostic, skeptic, open-minded, spineless..whatever you want to call it:confused:


I've spoken to Christians, logically and rationally many times but the conclusion is always the same.

We, philosophers believe through reason, whereas they claim to believe by faith. If I ask for a christian to explain the source of their certainty, they respond, "by faith." I ask four the source of their faith... they respond, with the help of the holy spirit. And from this point on, the dialogue reaches a dead end.

I realized that I can not reason with a christian. They claim that our reason and logic is limited, and through the help of the holy spirit, a force that overtakes them, they are able to be certain of beliefs that we can not understand through reason. They claim a different method of discovering truth. Therefore, practicing Christians who claim to be possessed by the holy spirit and in virtue of this fact, are able to become certain by faith, may claim that only they are able to understand or experience Christianity. Or perhaps better put, they claim that those who have understood and experienced the bible by logic, rationality, and reason will never experience the genuine christianity that only holy sprit possessed christians may understand and experience, by faith.

This is what the Christians claim. But reason-lovers will be forced to reject this claim and assert that certainty and reason are inseparable.

Then the question remains, who is correct? The believer of reason or the believer of faith?

Unfortunately, I am a skeptic. The answer to this question... i do not know. Yet..
 
Katherine phil
 
Reply Thu 23 Aug, 2007 07:44 am
@karmapolice,
karmapolice wrote:
I am an agnostic, skeptic, open-minded, spineless..whatever you want to call it:confused:


I've spoken to Christians, logically and rationally many times but the conclusion is always the same.

We, philosophers believe through reason, whereas they claim to believe by faith. If I ask for a christian to explain the source of their certainty, they respond, "by faith." I ask four the source of their faith... they respond, with the help of the holy spirit. And from this point on, the dialogue reaches a dead end.

I realized that I can not reason with a christian. They claim that our reason and logic is limited, and through the help of the holy spirit, a force that overtakes them, they are able to be certain of beliefs that we can not understand through reason. They claim a different method of discovering truth. Therefore, practicing Christians who claim to be possessed by the holy spirit and in virtue of this fact, are able to become certain by faith, may claim that only they are able to understand or experience Christianity. Or perhaps better put, they claim that those who have understood and experienced the bible by logic, rationality, and reason will never experience the genuine christianity that only holy sprit possessed christians may understand and experience, by faith.

This is what the Christians claim. But reason-lovers will be forced to reject this claim and assert that certainty and reason are inseparable.

Then the question remains, who is correct? The believer of reason or the believer of faith?

Unfortunately, I am a skeptic. The answer to this question... i do not know. Yet..



Karmapolice, I couldn't have said it better myself. What a great post!!


.
 
Katherine phil
 
Reply Thu 23 Aug, 2007 11:06 am
@Justin,
Justin wrote:
Katherine, have you actually seen some of the posts made by your fellow practicing Christians? Saying you are one and living it are two separate things. Man made up the definition from the beginning why should we have to consult a practicing Christian... Oh wait, I've heard many stories of practicing preachers being pedophiles. So do we follow the Church and the leadership of the Church or the pastor? So many Christian pastors don't even have a clue as to what they teach. Matter of fact, there are only a rare few seminaries that teach about Jesus. So I go to seminary to be a minister and they teach me theology so I can then go forth into the world and claim my place on a pulpit teaching my own version of theology and my own beliefs. Meanwhile after church, life is different...

The bottom line here is that most of these Churches are under the assumption that the more money you give, the more God loves you.

I've met a great many Christians in my time and I've really only met one that I've seen practicing what they preach. So there are not only several variations of a Christian but there is also a lot of the blind leading the blind.

So, I personally believe in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Does this mean I'm a Christian? Jesus never put a label on this nor did he tie a religion into it. The way I've seen Christians act in this forum, I would be embarrassed to call myself one... But, I've been labeled as one by some others.

Jesus didn't preach Christianity he lived and died showing love and forgiveness of one another. Jesus taught us to love the unlovely and to turn the other cheek and most of all, Jesus described the Unity of mankind and the Oneness of mankind and God. Treat your neighbors as if they were Jesus.

Am I a Christian? Should I be? I don't want anything to do with Christianity because of what it has become. Does that mean I will rot in hell? That's what a Christian will tell me. On the contrary, that hell and that heaven are something we live everyday of our lives.

So, back to the original question, What is a Christian? ... other than a half cocked organized religion with 1000 or more variations. Maybe I'm a Scientific Christian...


I missed this, Justin. I do know what you mean. I've actually been through a church split that made me stop going to church for a couple of years. I still have a little streak of rebellion, I really call myself a Christ-follower, instead of Christian just to make the distinction, but that is probably not a good thing to do either, so pray for me! But if you had a chance to read my testimony on the CS Lewis thread, you know I had that experience not being in church, not having a Christian anywhere around me? I didn't even know what a gospel was when that happened. I got mad at my pastor for lying to me when I got the book of Numbers and still hadn't seen ANYTHING about Jesus! Dumb as a rock about the things of God--and He introduced Himself to me! If God were just a religion, I would have never become a Christian. As a matter of fact, I was way too 'street' to ever be accepted into any group of Christians I ever knew. But because God introduced Himself to me as a living and interactive Father that He is, I was able to meet Him. And after some searching, I have found a group of Christians where I belong. If you ask God to reveal Himself to you, He will. And, no, it doesn't make a bit of sense! Wink
 
Justin
 
Reply Thu 23 Aug, 2007 12:17 pm
@Katherine phil,
Katherine wrote:
I missed this, Justin. I do know what you mean. I've actually been through a church split that made me stop going to church for a couple of years. I still have a little streak of rebellion, I really call myself a Christ-follower, instead of Christian just to make the distinction, but that is probably not a good thing to do either, so pray for me! But if you had a chance to read my testimony on the CS Lewis thread, you know I had that experience not being in church, not having a Christian anywhere around me? I didn't even know what a gospel was when that happened. I got mad at my pastor for lying to me when I got the book of Numbers and still hadn't seen ANYTHING about Jesus! Dumb as a rock about the things of God--and He introduced Himself to me! If God were just a religion, I would have never become a Christian. As a matter of fact, I was way too 'street' to ever be accepted into any group of Christians I ever knew. But because God introduced Himself to me as a living and interactive Father that He is, I was able to meet Him. And after some searching, I have found a group of Christians where I belong. If you ask God to reveal Himself to you, He will. And, no, it doesn't make a bit of sense! Wink


Katherine, I read your testimony on the thread and I'm here to tell you, you make a very good point that I think you even miss and I'm going to point this out in the end of my post.

Praying for you... I pray for all. People seem to think that prayer involves asking God for something. My observance of Christian prayer always involves the asking of something. Go to Church, pray and ask God for forgiveness and ask God for abundance. God will work with us and through us but he's not working for us.

Now, you made this quote:
Quote:
... you know I had that experience not being in church, not having a Christian anywhere around me? I didn't even know what a gospel was when that happened
Right there you nailed it. God's omnipresence was within you the entire time and then, at that moment you recognized it... you knocked and that door opened. It changed you forever. The problem is, we have questions, doubts and desires to know more so we begin to seek answers through others. I reiterate, truth will come from within, and in your case it did. You seen a glimpse of the light and you seen it was good. Then you more than likely went seeking for answers where everyone else goes... the Church.

You see, Jesus said (not verbatim), many will knock but few will enter into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom he was describing is not a fictitious one and it's certainly not out of our reach. We are the Kingdom of God and this Universe is the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of God is instilled within us. You discovered the light of God... Wait, I may be wrong, you may have just thought that becoming holy is the 'right' thing to do because others are doing it and it has changed them and you wanted some of that. So then we submit ourselves to the authority of a Church under the Authority of Christ. - I'm just talking in general here, not at you.

You also said:
Quote:
As a matter of fact, I was way too 'street' to ever be accepted into any group of Christians I ever knew. But because God introduced Himself to me as a living and interactive Father that He is, I was able to meet Him. And after some searching, I have found a group of Christians where I belong. If you ask God to reveal Himself to you, He will. And, no, it doesn't make a bit of sense!
So God revealed himself to you from the inside so you could then go seeking outside. This doesn't make any sense to me. Nobody was too 'street' for Jesus because Jesus said (not verbatim), that when you hurt those on the street you are hurting me, (not in those exact words). What you do unto others you do unto God. What you do unto other you do unto yourself. If you want to hurt yourself, hurt someone else.

When most people are confronted with something in their life that they are unable to overcome, they tend to seek Religion and God. While others take a good look inside of themselves and pray as Jesus taught and truth is revealed. For some, they become a Christian and for them, the faith is there and that is all they have to have... so they believe. Their faith, influence by the faith of those surrounding them, leads them wherever they will go. When people influence other people and don't truly seek truth and that inner divinity present in everything, it's the blind leading the blind and the only way this would be revealed is by the teachings of Jesus, The Sermon on the Mount and praying and meditating in the way that Jesus Christ himself had instructed us to do... the way he himself did. He was an example.

I'm quite passionate about this subject of Christianity and I don't mean to come off as if I'm against you because I'm not. I just feel that there are a lot of people in this world being led by other people who have never even had communion with God. ... ... Argh! Smile

So, Christianity... What is it? I would be willing to bet a third of the world call themselves Christians... However, only few will enter into the Kingdom of God.

In addition:

Matthew 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Matthew 7:7-9 (in Context) Matthew 7 (Whole Chapter)

Luke 11:9

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Luke 11:8-10 (in Context) Luke 11 (Whole Chapter)

Revelation 3:19-21 (King James Version)

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Great post by the way Katherine. This is a deep subject and a necessary one. I hope you don't run from these things because most Christians have a hard time discussing this. Usually they turn tail and run because they cannot fathom anything outside of the faith that has been taught to them by others. Open mind, open heart and open the door.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Christianity
  3. » What is a Christian?
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 04/20/2019 at 11:28:15