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.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 12:31pm
*And what was it that he said he was*

He said He is the Son of God.

*and why was it that he said he was on earth?*

To save us from death by dying for our sins.

*Was Jesus ever very clear about either of these things? *

To me, yes He was. In fact, when I read the Bible it is crystal clear to me. This is what I believe makes a Christian a Chistian. To believe what Christ said about himself by the Grace of God and through the help of the Holy Spirit.

Avatar for duende
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 2:22pm
Well, I could go either way. I mean, I could say that Jesus showed THE path, but that there are other ways to find it, or I could say that Jesus showd A path, but there are other paths available. To me, both are true in the sense that they describe two sides of a 3-dimensional issue. And, yes, I agree that I am quite pantheist in my theology. Thanks for noticing!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 6:30pm
I don't think that he did say that. I don't think that he directly said that he was the son of God. I think that he allowed others to believe that (if we are to believe scripture) by saying things like, "If you say so" and "you are blessed for saying that", but he didn't directly say this. When did he say that he was dying for our sins?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 7:57pm
For Jesus to be called "Christ" by Peter, certainly isn't surprising. Even the use of the phrase "son of God" had been used before and not in a surprising way. Son of the living God might be something. However, this phrase was used before, and from what I can tell not in a prophetic manner but in a particularly affectionate or special way. I refer to Hsa 1:10. What Peter said could very well be "You are the messiah (however this was personally interpreted that to mean) and you are a very special person of God. I don't think that that includes any idea of the trinity or of forgiving sins or being the literal son of god. And even if you did, Jesus said in response only that this was revealed to Peter by god, he does not say, "Bing! You are right!" Jesus was never that forthcoming.

As for "Jesus saith unto him, yes, it is as thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Not every version interprets this verse this way. And this is very crucial to the overall interpretation, does Jesus say, "Yes, that's right" or did he say, So you say"? I see a mixture of interpretations regarding this verse.

I understand that just the sentence of death because of blasphemy insinuates who Jesus thought he was, and that the forgiveness of sins is an insinuation of Jesus's divinity but what I am saying is that Jesus never really clearly states his nature and his purpose outright. Why not do you think?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-04-1997
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 12:52pm
Why do you think Jesus woould allow others to say that he was the Messiah, the son of the livng God, the king of the Jews, etc, without correcting them, if that wasn't who he thought that he was?
Avatar for maryrca
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 1:14pm
The difficulty with that is that everyone defines "truth" differently, including you. You may say, perhaps, that you rely upon the bible to reveal the "truth" to you -- others could point out that you're depending upon some human's interpretation of the document.

Any human interpretation, and human institution must be shaped by human wants, desires, knowledge or lack thereof. There simply IS no way for us imperfect human beings to know what's "truth" to any degree of certainty.

By definition, every individual will have his or her own perception of the truth. PC or not, that's just the way it is.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 8:20pm
Well, supposing that the gospels are recorded history and inerrant history containing exact quotes, all of which I doubt, I think if all that was said was said and done, I guess there would be a couple of options. Either he really did think of himself as the messiah, and again, as defined by whom, there were many different ideas of who the messiah was, or he was playing some kind of game or maybe he was loonie. Yes, the whole, lord, liar lunatic argument. I think he could have been any of them or any combination thereof. My personal guess he is that the gospels are a record of events that lead to a theological idea and are highly errant. I also think that possibly Jesus thought of himself in some form of the other as the messiah and "annointed of God" and a special "son" of God but even that idea is highly subject to personal interpretation.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 10:00pm
Yep, yep and yep!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 6:49pm
You said "There simply IS no way for us imperfect human beings to know what's "truth" to any degree of certainty."

Well, maybe. Maybe not. But we certainly should be seeking the truth, not making it what we'd like it to be. And I think many people come up with a version of the truth *as they would like for it to be*. Christians (in general) accept what the Bible says as the truth. We don't just make it up. We believe God gave us the Bible to show us the truth.

"By definition, every individual will have his or her own perception of the truth. PC or not, that's just the way it is."

Yes, different people will have different *perceptions* of the truth. But that doesn't make them right. And it doesn't change the truth. Unless we (and I'm talking all religions and philophies and people) are *all* wrong, some of us will be right and some will be wrong. There are many around today who want to say that there is no right and wrong, it's just whatever suits you or as long as you are sincere, that's all that matters, etc. The truth does matter.

Avatar for maryrca
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 7:18pm
I'm not saying there is no right or wrong in the world, and that everything is relative -- I think you're taking a rather big jump there.

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What I'm saying is, this isn't necessarily so. You're looking at a rather narrow definition of Christianity. Many of us are emphatically NOT literalists. We think there are important lessons contained in the bible, but that it is definitely effected by the human beings who wrote it, compiled it, translated it, etc. Every last one of them fallible, every last one of them human.

Even if you accept your definition, the idea that the bible contains all the necessary "truth" and we have but to follow the rules laid out therein, is equally problematic. The translation you're reading from, and deciding what is truth from, is undoubtedly full of mistakes, translation errors, even outright intentional errors. That human stuff, again. Compound that with your *interpretation* of the bible -- or that of whomever you take to be authoritative... again, human beings, and fallible.

I do believe we're all *searching* for the truth. I just do not believe that any one of us has found it. That will, hopefully, come in another life after this one.