What is the definition of Christian?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
What is the definition of Christian?
32
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 12:02pm
So many people have meanings to this word. Is it possible to come up with a defintion that everyone can agree with?

How do you define what a Christian is?

Is it one who follow Christ?

does one have to have certain beliefs?

Let's here it.

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 12:56pm
I think the simple answer is "One who believes that Jesus Christ is the perfect son of God in human form who died on a cross as payment for our sins and was resurrected."

When you begin using words such as follow, then the definition of 'follow' must be agreed upon. Likewise with trying to determine just which beliefs constitutes Christianity. I have heard some say that Mormons aren't Christians. I am not especially familiar with Mormonism, but I thought that they do believe in Christ. I know others who say Catholics aren't really Christians either. In both instances, those statements were based on one's particular bias towards belief.

Avatar for duende
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 1:43pm
Well, I don't believe all that, and I'm a Christian. I agree with what you say about the difficulty of pinning down definitions of words, but I still believe your definition of Christian is too narrow. I do not believe that Jesus was/is the "perfect son of God", nor do I believe in substitutionary atonement, yet I am still a Christian.

This question has been hashed around for years, on this board (which is no reason why we can't do it again, don't get me wrong-- I'm happy to discuss it!) and no good conclusions have been reached. I'm tending to think that there *is* no good definition of who is a Christian, because Christianity is a *relationship*, not a membership, and the form and quality of that relationship is particular to each person and God. No one else can define what it means to be Christian for any other person.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 4:16pm
funny isn't it. We through around this term so easily yet when it comes to define it, we have problems. Someone I know became upset when someone else told them they were not a Christians. That you had to have certain beliefs to be a Christian. Some of us hold this term above anothers head, "I am better than you" or "Your not good enough".

Sad isn't it. It seems like Christianity is about division not guidance.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 4:46pm
Oh, give me a break. If you want to bash Christianity, go ahead an bash, but don't be coy and passive aggressive about it. The exact same arguments take place in *every* religion. For that matter, they take place in every human social group, period.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 4:58pm
Oooops, sorry, I didn't mean it to be so general. But I have seen a lot of that.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 5:04pm
Yeah, I hear what you're saying and I agree -- especially since converting to the LDS Church 2 years ago and all those who have come out of the woodwork to judge my Christianity -- but, I would change something you said.

You said:

Sad isn't it. It seems like Christianity is about division not guidance.

I don't think it's *Christianity* (that which came from Christ) that's about division, I would say it's *some Christians*.

And, I would further add that I think this comes from (a) the way they are taught Christian principles and (b) the tendency man has to paint themselves into a corner with their views.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 6:21pm
Okay, you said you DON'T beleive that Christ is God's perfect son. And you DON'T beleive in substitutary atonetonement. But you DO call yourself a Christian. right?? So could you please tell me what you DO beleive?? Not being facetious here, I'm really rather confused and curious.
Avatar for duende
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 6:31pm
I believe in God, the source of all that exists. Everything that is, is God. Nothing exists that is not God.

God is the void out of which existence was created. Before, nothing existed except God, and there was no substance from which to create but the substance of God:

God is the creating and the creation.


I believe in the child of God, Jesus, by whom the path to grace and salvation was revealed. God acts in creation through his children, as with Jesus. I act, as God's child, whether my acts are for the good or the bad in relation to myself or to the whole. God's grace, which is free to all regardless of creed, guides my acts towards good. Rejection of this grace leads to despair and wrongdoing.



Jesus was God aware of who he is. Like Jesus, I am a child of God. Through the imitation of Jesus' life, and by his gift of death and his resurrection in faith, I too can become aware:

Where I am, the Kingdom of God is, also.


I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Love of God, which lives and breathes through us all. By this spirit, I am of one substance with God. When I cease to exist in this life I will remain of one substance with God. I can no more be separated from God than water can be separated from the ocean.



I meet God in others-- all, like me, children of God. In coming together with others I recognize the presence of God's Love in our midst. By this spirit, in those whom I serve and in those who minister to me-- God is served:

In serving others I serve God though them.

Avatar for maryrca
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Thu, 03-27-2003 - 8:03pm
Duende, that's quite beautiful and thoughtful.
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Thu, 03-27-2003 - 8:05pm
"Rejection of this grace leads to despair and wrongdoing."

This is the creed that you wrote several years ago, is it not? I remember reading something from you and thinking it was was lovely. Maybe I missed this the last time.

What does it mean to you to "reject" grace? I am not clear how you see Jesus in relation to the path to God's grace? Can one find grace without Jesus? Is despair and wrongdoing the only alternative to not finding grace. And what is grace, anyway?

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