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Who is a Christian?

RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
Christian beliefs and rites are changing constantly, and as they do, different sects denounce one another as "non-Christian". Increasingly, there are sects (some now quite old) professing Christian faith who nevertheless may have almost unrecognisable beliefs to others professing the same faith.

So who is a Christian?

I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


So, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians satisfy this definition easily, and have done so for a long time. And obviously, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, traditional Jews and Jainists would not, as one might expect.

So let's look at some marginal groups.

Historically, Mormons didn't satisfy the definition, since they met 1) and 2), but traditionally didn't meet 3).

However, Mormons are now increasingly invited to ecumenical meetings.[https://bycommonconsent.com...] [http://www.christianitytoday.com...] Should they now be accepted as Christian by the mainstream? If not, why not, and at what point should that be revisited?

Jehovah's Witnesses also seem to fall outside this definition, in that they meet 1) and 2), but seem to both reject ecumenism, and be generally rejected by ecumenical Christians. So who, other than Jehova's Witnesses themselves, has an argument for why they should be considered Christian?

Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why?
dee-em
Posts: 6,477
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4/30/2016 1:37:39 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:

Christian beliefs and rites are changing constantly, and as they do, different sects denounce one another as "non-Christian". Increasingly, there are sects (some now quite old) professing Christian faith who nevertheless may have almost unrecognisable beliefs to others professing the same faith.

So who is a Christian?

I find the definition given by a Christian bishop circa 180CE, Theophilus of Antioch, interesting:

And about your laughing at me and calling me Christian, you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first anointed? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

It seems to have nothing to do with being a follower of Jesus Christ.

(Sorry if I am derailing your thread).
FATHER_Help
Posts: 13
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4/30/2016 1:38:47 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
That which IS of The TRUTH changes not, for TRUTH IS, WAS, and ALWAYS WILL BE!

And unless a soul "receives a love of The TRUTH" they can not be saved from their own self("I", ego, id, pride)life....... (II Thessalonians 2:10-13)

TRUTH IS! "religion" was, and IS yet needful for "disobedient and gain-saying (contradicting and opposing GOD) people", those souls who would "rather have a man than Our FATHER and GOD, speak to and rule over them"! (Romans 10:21, Acts 7:51, Exodus 20:19, I Samuel 8:4:21)

And TRUTH IS! As The Messiah testified, so also His brethren have REALized, "i can do nothing of my own self"! (John 5:19, 30; 8:28-29)

FATHER Help!

HE DID! and HE Does.......

HalleluYAH!
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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4/30/2016 5:35:21 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 1:37:39 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Christian beliefs and rites are changing constantly, and as they do, different sects denounce one another as "non-Christian". Increasingly, there are sects (some now quite old) professing Christian faith who nevertheless may have almost unrecognisable beliefs to others professing the same faith.
So who is a Christian?
I find the definition given by a Christian bishop circa 180CE, Theophilus of Antioch, interesting:

And about your laughing at me and calling me Christian, you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first anointed? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

It seems to have nothing to do with being a follower of Jesus Christ.

Yes, there wasn't really an official dogmatic canon until about two centuries after Theophilus, so any patriarch was free to say "God's only on my side, and nobody's a True Christian but me" -- and many of them did, as they vied for adherents and social influence.

Theophilus did it with Marcion for example, (mentioned recently in another thread [http://www.debate.org...].)

Without canon or much historiology, there's very little evidentiary accountability for their opinions, but an awful lot of wild claims and slanders, some rather funny. For example, centuries after his death, Marcion was accused of being excommunicated from his family for seducing a virgin. [http://www.masseiana.org....] So hyperbole and vilification tended to mount over time. :)

Anyway, it's not entirely off-topic because it points out the challenge of appealing to canon in working out who is and isn't Christian. That's a big part of why I proposed a sociological definition instead: if you draw on the same traditional texts, identify as Christian, and other Christians trust you to achieve common Christian ends, you may as well be treated as Christian. :)
Emmarie
Posts: 1,907
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4/30/2016 6:02:24 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:


Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why?

A follower of Christ is someone who knows his words that he spoke, that are recorded in the 4 Gospels and even some Gnostic Gospels. Some Christians could also be orthodox, in that they are part of an official "religion," and don't believe in Gnostic Gospels." The important aspect of being a Christian is knowing Christ and his Spirit thru his teachings. Most people who call themselves Christians do not not much of what is recorded that he taught, so it is impossible for them to actually follow his teachings. You do not need to be a part of any organized religion to be a Christian, nor do you need to follow any Church fathers or theologians. You simply need to follow Christ to be a Christian.
Emmarie
Posts: 1,907
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4/30/2016 6:05:35 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Christian beliefs and rites are changing constantly, and as they do, different sects denounce one another as "non-Christian". Increasingly, there are sects (some now quite old) professing Christian faith who nevertheless may have almost unrecognisable beliefs to others professing the same faith.

So who is a Christian?

I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


So, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians satisfy this definition easily, and have done so for a long time. And obviously, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, traditional Jews and Jainists would not, as one might expect.

So let's look at some marginal groups.

Historically, Mormons didn't satisfy the definition, since they met 1) and 2), but traditionally didn't meet 3).

However, Mormons are now increasingly invited to ecumenical meetings.[https://bycommonconsent.com...] [http://www.christianitytoday.com...] Should they now be accepted as Christian by the mainstream? If not, why not, and at what point should that be revisited?

Jehovah's Witnesses also seem to fall outside this definition, in that they meet 1) and 2), but seem to both reject ecumenism, and be generally rejected by ecumenical Christians. So who, other than Jehova's Witnesses themselves, has an argument for why they should be considered Christian?

Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why?

By the way - Why do Atheists care about canon, or who is a Christian?
Why don't you canonize Atheism, for your own credibility?
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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4/30/2016 6:16:25 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 6:05:35 AM, Emmarie wrote:
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why?

By the way - Why do Atheists care about canon, or who is a Christian?
I don't know why atheists might, but I know why I might.

For better or worse, a Christian sense of identity shapes a large part of my society. Unlike my own form of morality, which does not adhere to cultural identity, Christian cultural identity often informs Christian ideas of what is kind and just.

That being so, I'd like a clear idea of what is and isn't Christian. Obviously, my idea of that definition won't be the only one in society, but I didn't want a poll; I wanted critical discussion. If there's a better definition, what is it? If there's no cohesive definition, then that is interesting too.

Why don't you canonize Atheism, for your own credibility?
It's not relevant to this discussion, but atheism is already well-defined: it's the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in gods and similar spiritual beings. [http://www.britannica.com...]

In that regard, atheism is a theological category; not a sociological one. It requires no dogma and hence has no canon. You can be an atheist from many different cultures, and have nothing in common with any other atheist except rejection of these theological premises.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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4/30/2016 6:23:35 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 6:02:24 AM, Emmarie wrote:
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why?
A follower of Christ is someone who knows his words that he spoke, that are recorded in the 4 Gospels and even some Gnostic Gospels.
I think that accords with the first two criteria of my definition, Emmarie:
A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


Now, what would you do with self-identified Christians who say (for example) that Christ was only an inspirational man and may be followed but shouldn't be worshiped as inerrant or a saviour?

Or that Christ wasn't the son of God, but only a prophet?

Or a cult that says their leader is Christ returned?

Or a Deist who denies that God has interaction with humanity, and dismisses miracles and all ideas of heaven, but who identifies as culturally Christian, and is a professed admirer of Christ?

Many Muslims and Jews make studies of Christian canon. Are Muslims and Jews Christians under your definition or not? If not, why not, and what additional criteria does that imply?
dee-em
Posts: 6,477
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4/30/2016 8:13:32 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 7:19:04 AM, tarantula wrote:
Christianity seems to cover the benign to the ridiculous, and much in between!

Isn't the phrase "from the sublime to the ridiculous"?
Composer
Posts: 5,858
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4/30/2016 8:17:00 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
There are NO genuine jebus believers outside of bible Story book land!

Only those that ' claim ' to be.

John 14:12 & 1 John 3:6 prove that!

&

The biblical jebus was an eternal Jew!
tarantula
Posts: 859
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4/30/2016 11:36:32 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 8:13:32 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 4/30/2016 7:19:04 AM, tarantula wrote:
Christianity seems to cover the benign to the ridiculous, and much in between!

Isn't the phrase "from the sublime to the ridiculous"?

Not the way I meant it. Some Christians practise their faith in a moderate way, which does no harm and is benign. However, some are extremist in their beliefs and can cause a lot of harm.
frbnsn
Posts: 353
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4/30/2016 11:59:58 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Christian beliefs and rites are changing constantly, and as they do, different sects denounce one another as "non-Christian". Increasingly, there are sects (some now quite old) professing Christian faith who nevertheless may have almost unrecognisable beliefs to others professing the same faith.

So who is a Christian?

I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


So, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians satisfy this definition easily, and have done so for a long time. And obviously, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, traditional Jews and Jainists would not, as one might expect.

So let's look at some marginal groups.

Historically, Mormons didn't satisfy the definition, since they met 1) and 2), but traditionally didn't meet 3).

However, Mormons are now increasingly invited to ecumenical meetings.[https://bycommonconsent.com...] [http://www.christianitytoday.com...] Should they now be accepted as Christian by the mainstream? If not, why not, and at what point should that be revisited?

Jehovah's Witnesses also seem to fall outside this definition, in that they meet 1) and 2), but seem to both reject ecumenism, and be generally rejected by ecumenical Christians. So who, other than Jehova's Witnesses themselves, has an argument for why they should be considered Christian?

Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why?

Dear Mr/mrs,

according to me, as a rational muslim:

What is the most important is 'there is no god but Allah'; Christ is just one of a lot of messengers of Allah.

For me, denominations are different opinion currents which established by men in the course of history; some of them true but most haywire.
EtrnlVw
Posts: 2,307
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4/30/2016 12:53:19 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Who is a Christian?...
Shall we ask the Founder Himself? Simple answers....

Matthew 7

21...... but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Galatians 5

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

22.... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Labels don't mean much within spirituality, Christianity is an application not a label.
FATHER_Help
Posts: 13
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4/30/2016 2:31:40 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 12:53:19 PM, EtrnlVw wrote:
Who is a Christian?...
Shall we ask the Founder Himself? Simple answers....

Matthew 7

21...... but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Galatians 5

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

22.... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.


Labels don't mean much within spirituality, Christianity is an application not a label.

And a soul needs Live The TRUTH, not just read and quote "The Word of TRUTH"!

Sadly those souls bound in the chains of "strong delusion" that is religion's way(except the Active Faith as revealed in James 1:27) more than likely have not yet "received a love of The TRUTH so that they might be saved" from their own self("I", ego, id, pride)life.

Yet if they have Truly "received a love of The TRUTH" and yet abide in that TRUTH, they will, soon and very soon, "Come out from among them and be separate"! (II Thes 2:10-13, II Corinth 6:17, Rev 18:4)

FATHER Help!

HE DID! and HE does.......

HalleluYAH!
oo00
Posts: 134
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4/30/2016 3:13:50 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Christian beliefs and rites are changing constantly, and as they do, different sects denounce one another as "non-Christian". Increasingly, there are sects (some now quite old) professing Christian faith who nevertheless may have almost unrecognisable beliefs to others professing the same faith.

So who is a Christian?

I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


So, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians satisfy this definition easily, and have done so for a long time. And obviously, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, traditional Jews and Jainists would not, as one might expect.

So let's look at some marginal groups.

Historically, Mormons didn't satisfy the definition, since they met 1) and 2), but traditionally didn't meet 3).

However, Mormons are now increasingly invited to ecumenical meetings.[https://bycommonconsent.com...] [http://www.christianitytoday.com...] Should they now be accepted as Christian by the mainstream? If not, why not, and at what point should that be revisited?

Jehovah's Witnesses also seem to fall outside this definition, in that they meet 1) and 2), but seem to both reject ecumenism, and be generally rejected by ecumenical Christians. So who, other than Jehova's Witnesses themselves, has an argument for why they should be considered Christian?

Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why? : :

A Christian is anyone who claims to be a Christian just like an alcoholic is someone who claims to be an alcoholic.
DPMartin
Posts: 1,096
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4/30/2016 3:33:23 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Christian beliefs and rites are changing constantly, and as they do, different sects denounce one another as "non-Christian". Increasingly, there are sects (some now quite old) professing Christian faith who nevertheless may have almost unrecognisable beliefs to others professing the same faith.

So who is a Christian?

I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


So, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians satisfy this definition easily, and have done so for a long time. And obviously, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, traditional Jews and Jainists would not, as one might expect.

So let's look at some marginal groups.

Historically, Mormons didn't satisfy the definition, since they met 1) and 2), but traditionally didn't meet 3).

However, Mormons are now increasingly invited to ecumenical meetings.[https://bycommonconsent.com...] [http://www.christianitytoday.com...] Should they now be accepted as Christian by the mainstream? If not, why not, and at what point should that be revisited?

Jehovah's Witnesses also seem to fall outside this definition, in that they meet 1) and 2), but seem to both reject ecumenism, and be generally rejected by ecumenical Christians. So who, other than Jehova's Witnesses themselves, has an argument for why they should be considered Christian?

Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why?

are you a Christian and if so who is your witness that you truly are one. also Jesus Christ calls His own children, not Christian, it is the world that has used that tag.

also your definition of a Christian maybe your view of what proves a Christian but anyone can fake those things. the definition to what a child of God is to the satisfaction of the Father is Jesus Christ, anything else is heresy and a lie in respect to what a child of God is.

you speak like most fools that don't know or understand.

there are those who call themselves Christian and say they know what a Christian is. and then there are those who God calls His, and He knows them by name.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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4/30/2016 5:59:09 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Very good topic.

A Christian is one who follows "the way". A Christian is someone who is practicing the discipline.

The discipline is about pure unadulterated Truth worship. We do this through sincerity of faith, charity with our love and judgement, and struggle for purity of heart. It's all intrinsically related, and the morality itself is based on this.

The church is Catholic, which means "Universal", which means that everyone is a part of it. Church simply means, "congregation" or a group of people.

There is also a communion of the saints, which means spending close intimate time with those who take part in the discipline. It's not performing a vain ritual. What did Jesus say to do in remembrance of him? Eat, drink, and socialize with the faithful. There are no lone wolf Christians.

But it is also written, "..whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."

and it is also written...

"as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."

and it is also written...

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen."


and as it is also written...

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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4/30/2016 6:03:01 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Theologically speaking, if you understand who Jesus really is, then you realize that it isn't necessary for someone to belong to these cultural backgrounds to be a saint.

Certainly, I would consider many Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, Physicists, Hindus, Agnostics and Christians to be saints.

They are few and far between, but they are there.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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4/30/2016 6:05:23 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 11:59:58 AM, frbnsn wrote:
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.

Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why?

Dear Mr/mrs,

according to me, as a rational muslim:

What is the most important is 'there is no god but Allah'; Christ is just one of a lot of messengers of Allah.

Dear Mr/Mrs Frbnsn,

As you're aware, my question pertains specifically to the offshoot of Judaic monotheism identified as Christianity, but I'm happy to broaden it to worship of the god of Abraham -- if only so our Muslim members can offer views too, recognising the long-standing Muslim tradition of respecting all Abrahamic worship.

So my question for you is a parallel one:

There are many kinds of monotheists, but not all observe reverence of the Judaic Tanakh, as do Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha'i. Zoroastrians, for example, revere the Avesta, which is older, and of a different tradition. [http://www.avesta.org...] Yet they are monotheistic dualists too.

So do they worship Allah because they are monotheistic dualists, or do they worship something that is not Allah because they do not observe Judaic traditions and their prophets?

It is a common Muslim tradition that Allah is not knowable; therefore which monotheistic worship can be said not to be of Allah, and why? As a self-identified, rational Muslim, what evidence do you think matters most -- monotheism, or scriptural tradition and prophetic reverence?
RuvDraba
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4/30/2016 6:06:53 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 3:13:50 PM, oo00 wrote:
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Christian beliefs and rites are changing constantly, and as they do, different sects denounce one another as "non-Christian". Increasingly, there are sects (some now quite old) professing Christian faith who nevertheless may have almost unrecognisable beliefs to others professing the same faith.

So who is a Christian?

I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


So, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians satisfy this definition easily, and have done so for a long time. And obviously, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, traditional Jews and Jainists would not, as one might expect.

So let's look at some marginal groups.

Historically, Mormons didn't satisfy the definition, since they met 1) and 2), but traditionally didn't meet 3).

However, Mormons are now increasingly invited to ecumenical meetings.[https://bycommonconsent.com...] [http://www.christianitytoday.com...] Should they now be accepted as Christian by the mainstream? If not, why not, and at what point should that be revisited?

Jehovah's Witnesses also seem to fall outside this definition, in that they meet 1) and 2), but seem to both reject ecumenism, and be generally rejected by ecumenical Christians. So who, other than Jehova's Witnesses themselves, has an argument for why they should be considered Christian?

Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why? : :

A Christian is anyone who claims to be a Christian just like an alcoholic is someone who claims to be an alcoholic.

Even if they have never drunk alcohol?

In a similar vein, are there minimum observances and behaviours required to verify Christian identity?

Why or why not?
RuvDraba
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4/30/2016 6:23:05 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 3:33:23 PM, DPMartin wrote:
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.

Is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why?
are you a Christian and if so who is your witness that you truly are one.
I'm not a Christian, DP, have never been and never wanted to be one, and have no interest in becoming a Christian. However, as I mentioned to another member who asked a similar question, Christian identity shapes a great deal of the culture of the society in which I live, and Christian identity politics frequently inform social policy.

So it's a legitimate question for me as a citizen and as a human being sharing the rich tapestry of human thought and immersed in the ebb and flow of cultural identities: who is a Christian, and how can Christians most accurately be identified?

also Jesus Christ calls His own children, not Christian, it is the world that has used that tag.
While that may be true in a world where Jesus could be consulted whenever we wanted as a final arbiter, that doesn't help us today.

Using only what we know today, how can we most accurately identify members of the sociological category Christians have called Christianity?

also your definition of a Christian maybe your view of what proves a Christian but anyone can fake those things.
Yes, they could fake devotion for purely psychological or social benefit, and I suspect that some self-identifying Christians do. I agree: my definition doesn't distinguish between adherents who fake devotion, adherents who are devoted but have doubts, adherents who are devoted but ignorant of Christian traditions, and well-versed adherents who have never doubted in their life.

So, should it? If so, given only what we know today, how can we objectively and most accurately discern a fake Christian (say) from a sincere Christian with doubts?

you speak like most fools that don't know or understand.
Well, since I've outright asked members what they think, I believe I'm admitting that I don't know. And since I've asked for better insight than I have, I'm certainly seeking to understand.

So how is admitting ignorance and seeking better insight foolish?

To me, DP, it seems more foolish to offer self-important opinion that doesn't answer the question, and cannot be used to advance knowledge. So, do you have some advice I can use to help answer my question, or are you just participating to be conceited, rude and unhelpful?

there are those who call themselves Christian and say they know what a Christian is. and then there are those who God calls His, and He knows them by name.
Since we cannot today consult God or Jesus, but only our best understanding however imperfect, what do you think best captures that understanding?
RuvDraba
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4/30/2016 6:38:09 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 6:03:01 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Theologically speaking, if you understand who Jesus really is, then you realize that it isn't necessary for someone to belong to these cultural backgrounds to be a saint.
Certainly, I would consider many Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, Physicists, Hindus, Agnostics and Christians to be saints.
They are few and far between, but they are there.

This seems more than a little vague, S&T, but it might be interesting too. It sounds like you've replaced the question I asked -- who is a Christian -- with one I didn't -- who correctly worships the right God.

So to clarify, please could you answer the following questions for me:
1) Do you identify as a Christian?
2) Do you identify as a monotheist?

Please only answer the following questions if you answered 'Yes' to at least one of the above.

3) Do you believe that all Christians are of the same faith as you?
4) Do you believe all monotheists are of the same faith as you?
5) Do you believe there are polytheists of the same faith?
6) Regardless, how do you identify people of the same faith?
7) How can you tell when someone is not of the same faith, no matter how they self-identify?
RuvDraba
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4/30/2016 6:53:11 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 12:53:19 PM, EtrnlVw wrote:
Who is a Christian?...
Shall we ask the Founder Himself? Simple answers....

EV, while I thank you for your contribution, I confess that I'm not really interested in what ancient Biblical authors said, so much as how you interpret their writings and the traditions of your faith in a modern context.

So how do you recognise Christians? Or alternatively, if you believe (as one Muslim member pointed out) that Christianity is simply one line of traditions in a family of tradition all sincerely worshiping the same god, how do you recognise when an adherent is worshiping the same god as you?

How do you discern when they're not?

For example, I asked earlier:
There are many kinds of monotheists, but not all observe reverence of the Judaic Tanakh, as do Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha'i. Zoroastrians, for example, revere the Avesta, which is older, and of a different tradition. [http://www.avesta.org......] Yet they are monotheistic dualists too.

So do they worship God because they are monotheistic dualists, or do they worship something that is not God because they do not observe Judaic traditions and their prophets?

How can these questions best be answered?
oo00
Posts: 134
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4/30/2016 6:59:42 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 6:06:53 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/30/2016 3:13:50 PM, oo00 wrote:
At 4/30/2016 1:12:43 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
Christian beliefs and rites are changing constantly, and as they do, different sects denounce one another as "non-Christian". Increasingly, there are sects (some now quite old) professing Christian faith who nevertheless may have almost unrecognisable beliefs to others professing the same faith.

So who is a Christian?

I want to propose the following, sociologically-inspired definition for consideration and discussion.

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


So, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians satisfy this definition easily, and have done so for a long time. And obviously, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, traditional Jews and Jainists would not, as one might expect.

So let's look at some marginal groups.

Historically, Mormons didn't satisfy the definition, since they met 1) and 2), but traditionally didn't meet 3).

However, Mormons are now increasingly invited to ecumenical meetings.[https://bycommonconsent.com...] [http://www.christianitytoday.com...] Should they now be accepted as Christian by the mainstream? If not, why not, and at what point should that be revisited?

Jehovah's Witnesses also seem to fall outside this definition, in that they meet 1) and 2), but seem to both reject ecumenism, and be generally rejected by ecumenical Christians. So who, other than Jehova's Witnesses themselves, has an argument for why they should be considered Christian?

Finally, is this a good approach for identifying Christian faiths? If not, what is a better approach and why? : :

A Christian is anyone who claims to be a Christian just like an alcoholic is someone who claims to be an alcoholic.

Even if they have never drunk alcohol?

There are many former alcoholics who don't drink alcohol anymore who confess to be an alcoholic.

In a similar vein, are there minimum observances and behaviours required to verify Christian identity?

What are those observances and behaviours that require being a Christian?

Why or why not? : :

Why or why not what?
RuvDraba
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4/30/2016 7:01:29 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 5:59:09 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Very good topic.
A Christian is one who follows "the way". A Christian is someone who is practicing the discipline.

S&T, thank you for this response also. By way of disclosure, I confess that I was reading and responding to replies out of order. I didn't see your first post before I'd read and replied to your second, and it helps contextualise and clarify somewhat for me. So some of the questions I asked you may be irrelevant -- my apologies.

Perhaps what's most interesting for me is this comment:
There are no lone wolf Christians.

Yours is the first post that has mentioned membership of (or at least welcome in) Christian community as being critical to Christian identity, and so it seems to me too.

You also mentioned the Roman Catholic church, which as we know, has a history of excommunicating adherents whom they feel should no longer participate in the Christian community.

So my revised question: what to you, constitutes the minimum criteria for acceptance within a Christian community, and what are the minimum criteria for ejection?
RuvDraba
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4/30/2016 7:03:03 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 6:59:42 PM, oo00 wrote:
At 4/30/2016 6:06:53 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/30/2016 3:13:50 PM, oo00 wrote:
A Christian is anyone who claims to be a Christian just like an alcoholic is someone who claims to be an alcoholic.

Even if they have never drunk alcohol?

There are many former alcoholics who don't drink alcohol anymore who confess to be an alcoholic.

In a similar vein, are there minimum observances and behaviours required to verify Christian identity?

What are those observances and behaviours that require being a Christian?

Why or why not? : :

Why or why not what?

Forgive me, but I'm not finding these responses coherent, productive or interesting.
oo00
Posts: 134
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4/30/2016 7:15:26 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 7:03:03 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/30/2016 6:59:42 PM, oo00 wrote:
At 4/30/2016 6:06:53 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/30/2016 3:13:50 PM, oo00 wrote:
A Christian is anyone who claims to be a Christian just like an alcoholic is someone who claims to be an alcoholic.

Even if they have never drunk alcohol?

There are many former alcoholics who don't drink alcohol anymore who confess to be an alcoholic.

In a similar vein, are there minimum observances and behaviours required to verify Christian identity?

What are those observances and behaviours that require being a Christian?

Why or why not? : :

Why or why not what?

Forgive me, but I'm not finding these responses coherent, productive or interesting. : :
I'm sorry that my response was inappropriate. I read your second sentence as a statement instead of a question to me so I was asking you what you thought should be the observances and behaviours required to be a Christian.

By they way, thanks for your advice about guitars the other day. Now you should know who is responding to you.
RuvDraba
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4/30/2016 7:29:29 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 7:15:26 PM, oo00 wrote:
At 4/30/2016 7:03:03 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/30/2016 6:59:42 PM, oo00 wrote:
At 4/30/2016 6:06:53 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/30/2016 3:13:50 PM, oo00 wrote:
A Christian is anyone who claims to be a Christian just like an alcoholic is someone who claims to be an alcoholic.

Even if they have never drunk alcohol?

There are many former alcoholics who don't drink alcohol anymore who confess to be an alcoholic.

In a similar vein, are there minimum observances and behaviours required to verify Christian identity?

What are those observances and behaviours that require being a Christian?

Why or why not? : :

Why or why not what?

Forgive me, but I'm not finding these responses coherent, productive or interesting. : :
I'm sorry that my response was inappropriate. I read your second sentence as a statement instead of a question to me so I was asking you what you thought should be the observances and behaviours required to be a Christian.

By they way, thanks for your advice about guitars the other day. Now you should know who is responding to you.
Hey Brad, you cheeky lad! You certainly tricked me that time! :D

Sorry for misunderstanding. I don't myself know what observances and behaviours should be required to recognise Christian identity. I suspect they're actually changing anyway.

So I drafted a sociological definition that I hoped might work even as things changed:

A Christian is someone of any faith whose:
1) Traditions draw from the traditional sources of Christian canon (i.e, those drawn on by early Christian church fathers); who
2) Identifies as a follower of Christ; and whose faith
3) Is generally recognised in Christian ecumenism -- that is, meetings encouraging interdenominational Christian cooperation.


That's as specific as I could get without entering a place I felt was full of confusion and potential injustice. Under that definition, I think most 'mainstream' Christian faiths -- Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Coptics, Protestants -- would certainly sit inside the definition. Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Zoroastrians would sit outside it. Borderline cases like Mormonism might squeak in, but for now, Jehova's Witnesses wouldn't.

As for yourself Brad, I'm not sure. I think you'd have no problems with Christian ecumenism. I'm just not sure they'd be happy ecumenically with you. :) Maybe the Quakers would be comfortable with you, and some very liberal Christians like Shelby Spong. I think Buddhists and Jainists would be delighted by you -- unfortunately I don't think that helps you much with the Christians. :)

What do you think?
SpiritandTruth
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4/30/2016 8:05:48 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/30/2016 7:01:29 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 4/30/2016 5:59:09 PM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
Very good topic.
A Christian is one who follows "the way". A Christian is someone who is practicing the discipline.

S&T, thank you for this response also. By way of disclosure, I confess that I was reading and responding to replies out of order. I didn't see your first post before I'd read and replied to your second, and it helps contextualise and clarify somewhat for me. So some of the questions I asked you may be irrelevant -- my apologies.

Perhaps what's most interesting for me is this comment:
There are no lone wolf Christians.

Yours is the first post that has mentioned membership of (or at least welcome in) Christian community as being critical to Christian identity, and so it seems to me too.

You also mentioned the Roman Catholic church, which as we know, has a history of excommunicating adherents whom they feel should no longer participate in the Christian community.

So my revised question: what to you, constitutes the minimum criteria for acceptance within a Christian community, and what are the minimum criteria for ejection?

When I say "Holy Catholic Church", I am not referring to the Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church.

There is a spirit behind the concept. As I said earlier, the name "Catholic" means "Universal". The Roman Catholic Church, though an image of this church, is a denomination.

I realize that this requires a paradigm shift, but for the church to be universal, it has to include everybody. It's not a man made institution, it's The Kingdom of God. God is sovereign over all things, so it is not said in vain, "The Kingdom of God is at hand".

If you are specifically going to be Christian, you have to follow the discipline. The discipline is very simple, as it is writen, "teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."

Before there were "Christians", the disciples of Jesus claimed to follow "The Way". For comparison, read Chinese "Tao Te Ching", which translates to "The way and it's virtue".

Compare Jesus' statement of "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you" to the Hindu Upanishads when they declare, "Thou art that".

The faith is universal, and the real disciples are recognized partly by their ability to recognize The Faith in alien scriptures. The biggest evangelical tool in all of history has been to show God and the faith through the cultural and religious practices of diverse people.

Christianity is not a faith about destroying everything, it is a faith of preservation. The name "Jesus" means "Salvation".

But you know, 2,000 years will do a lot. The state of the church today is not too dissimilar to the state of the church at the time of Jesus. People don't really change that much, they just like to think they do. I've studied history extensively, and I am of the opinion that people have not really changed that much since ancient times. The funny thing is, people always think they are more advanced or civilized than those who came before them, and because of that they never learn exactly what they should from them. Pride is the sin of the devil, you know, and the current climate in America is overtly satanic and pagan. They don't even try that hard to hide it, because they know how seductive it is, and people are too ignorant to even notice. I digress.

The point is, if you are a Christian, you should be working for the betterment of humanity, not the betterment of those who use the same language to describe their beliefs as you. The church is universal, we're all in this together. That doesn't mean that everyone is right, but you should love them regardless, because there is no man who is not guilty of sin. We all fall short, and God has forgiven us all through divine grace. If we don't pass this on, according to Jesus we are like the slave who was forgiven all of his debts, and then goes out to break the knees of those who owe him money. The punishment these people get for what they do is deserved. God is sovereign. There is no compulsion in religion, God is the one who hardens and softens hearts. With charity, there is patience.

If I were to teach Christians, I would make sure they understood that without discipline, there is no discipleship. There is a difference between a disciple and someone who is just riding on grace.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,