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What Makes You Christian?

Does being born to a family that identifies itself as Christian make you a Christian? Does initiation into a Christian faith community, as with baptism, define you as a Christian? What if you just were born in the USA and felt you were Christian? Does that define you as a Christian?

What I want to know is, who gets to decide who is defined as Christian? Who gave those deciders the authority to make that decision? To help us make some sense of this, have a look at a blog by Jazimomo regarding religious polling. Did this help you out? When all those 88% answered the question and said; “yes, I am Christian,” the majority did not feel that regular attendance at a formal Church service was a requirement of being Christian. It seems that going to a Church service is optional, but you can still define yourself as a Christian. Perhaps in the future Christians will redefine what a Church service is. With the internet, Church service can be expanded to include a video on You Tube?In this way regular attendance might increase in the future?

Perhaps you feel like the Consider Jesus bloggers, and focus more on actions rather than social identification. This way you can use Christian scripture to define who is Christian? Was this helpful in understanding what defines a person as Christian? I have the feeling those folks who don’t go to a Church service regularly have sparse knowledge of Christian scriptures, but still feel that they are Christian.

What if all that mattered was that you wanted to tell others that you are Christian. You defined yourself as Christian. You gave yourself the authority. Would that be acceptable? Why not?

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About neodecaussade

I am a Roman Catholic quester. You will find that I have scripture based academic interests. You will discover that I am a conservative Catholic but I am also prone to heterodox tendencies. I am versed in highly pietistic traditionalist practices but I am not a traditionalist. I am interested in entering a discussion on the future of the Roman Catholic Church. I would like to have a role in discussing how the future Church will be shaped.

11 responses »

  1. i just want to know if you are a Christine and what defines you as such?

    would you go away sad as the rich young ruler if truly asked to give up all for Christ? or would you deny him as Peter did if you’re safety were in jeopardy?

    i have seen countless blogs now on this topic and for the majority i have to suggest that the writers spend more time being a Christian than wondering whether others are measuring up.

    Reply
  2. You know, don’t you, what makes someone a Christian? You are just asking because you want to see if weknow, right? =) I used to be very confused on the topic. But the Bible makes it clear: Those who want to become a Christian must confess their sins and accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross on their behalf. As I’m sure you must know, it is no small thing that Jesus took our sins upon himself, though he himself never sinned, and took our punishment so that we might be saved. Does it take church attendance? No, it does not. Is church attendance a good thing? Sure, if you go to a church that teaches the truth and clings to the Bile as reliable and inerrant. For more on true Christianity, feel free to visit my blog at http://www.phenomenaltruths.wordpress.com. Have a happy day!

    Reply
  3. This is a really interesting post. I apologise if my comment points out some stuff that you’re already aware of, but I haven’t read any of your other posts. This post just happened to be filed under the ‘Christianity’ tag which I was browsing this evening.

    Firstly, a mere belief in God (be that ‘a’ god or the one true God) can not possibly make you a Christian. As it says in chapter 2 of the epistle of James, [paraphrased] “even the Devil believes in God.”

    Similarly, nowhere in the Bible does it say that a Christian has to attend Church regularly. Granted,Church should, and indeed usually does, fullfill other requirements which scripture places upon a Christian; sound teaching, authentic fellowship and praise and worship to name but a few.

    Is it, therefore, someone who practices the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ; a Christian faith defined by actions? I don’t believe so. In fact, I think it’s much more. Some of the greatest philanthropists in the world espouse the moral ideology of Christ, but does that make them Christians? I don’t think it does. It’s here that, again, the epistle of James is always, I believe, misunderstood. When James notes that “faith apart from works is useless” it is clear that the ‘works’ are not the key to salvation. Rather, the works should be a sincere part of the faith; a faith which is the fundamental grounding for salvation.

    As Paul wrote in his epistle to Timothy “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Paul, wise man as he was, encapsulated the entire definition of Christianity within this verse. First is the recognition that we (humanity), by nature, are sinful. Second comes the understanding that this sinfulness is leading to something which we need to be saved from; hell. Finally, and most importantly, is the faith that the debt which we owe for our sinfullness has already been paid, in full, by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

    It is that belief, that faith, and that trust in His saving grace alone which, I believe, makes a person a Christian.

    Reply
  4. Jim, Andrea & Me,

    Thank you for your time and comments. I will try to visit your blog pages and leave a comment of encouragement for you. Jim, that might be tough, because the blog provider you have chosen requires registration before leaving a message.

    Well done by all.

    Reply
  5. Something I’ve learned from a Catholic friend of mine (and I could be misrepresenting the tradition as a whole, however I think it is relevant) that perhaps the question over who is Christian and who isn’t is something that we can never know. Especially if we view salvation as a process, instead of a cut and dried moment. Sure that moment is necessary… but for a lot of people its not that clear. I’m worried that people either go to the two extremes: Either someone is a Christian because they have made a _decision_ for Christ (a singly mental activity) or they dedicate their life to the poor (a singly bodily thing). That gets into the confusion of people who say they are Christian but really do not seem to have any works in their life reflecting that decision, and the people who serve the poor who do not express faith in Christ. I would lean more toward the second end of the spectrum on where our focus should be… Especially since so much of the language surrounding who is Christian and who isn’t is regarding heaven: who’s in and who’s out. N.T. Wright has offered an alternative understanding of what heaven is: the renewing of life here on earth. (http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780061551826/Surprised_by_Hope/index.aspx) Maybe we should be more focused on living like Christ did (in community with his church) instead of defining a set of fundamentals that make someone Christian or not Christian.

    Reply
  6. Jazimomo,

    Thank you for contributing, more than once. This was a good discussion, and you may be on to a view that represents the middle of the spectrum. I will have to check out the book. Very nice to have you in our little social network.

    Reply
  7. Oh, apologies, I recently updated my named link. If it still isn’t working you’ll find my blog here at good ol’ wordpress;

    http://jimdiffin.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  8. Jazimomo, What you are saying sounds good on the surface, but it is incorrect. We can know whether we are truly Christians or not. It does take simply a decision of the mind and heart. With our mind, we agree that Jesus died for our sins. With our hearts, we recognize that we are sinners in need of a Savior. The works will follow, for all true Chrisitians, because the Holy Spirit enables us to do good works.

    Those who do good works alone will not be saved. The Bible says their works are like filthy rags to God, since they stem from an unregenerate heart.

    In 1 John 5:12-13, God makes it clear:

    He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
    I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    God doesn’t want us to be confused on this critical topic.

    Much Love to you all,

    Andrea

    Reply
  9. I believe there are many aspects to being a christian. I would say internet , radio, tv, book, magazine worship service could not satisfy the fellowship requirement. Though you can worship in the privacy of your own home. Fruit is important as well and definitely faith. There is a combination of things required to be a christian. Now we are human and not perfect but we strive for perfection.

    Reply
  10. Syinly,

    Thank you for your comment. You have given us some very interesting topics to think about. Fellowship seems like a worthy notion. Perhaps all of those people who call themselves Christian desire to share in some fellowship? Perhaps they feel that they belong to a Christian fellowship? Perhaps they do, the fellowship of American Christians.

    Reply
  11. Pingback: The Epoch… « The City Forever

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