Who Is A "Christian"?

C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,230

Brethren,

This word or term "Christian" has been used for a long time and in many places. It is often spoken, but how many of us have genuinely encountered one? I don't know it all. However, I would like your input on a question put to me in another thread. How would you answer these questions, especially, the individuals Bill named in another thread attached to this topic? Take your time and answer as many as you choose or even none at all. Put flesh and a face on this word, "Christian."  Please answer the following questions:

  1. Do we really know what it means and the characteristic of people who holds to the titles? 
  2. What is its origin?
  3. Does the Bible, tells us who is a Christian? If so, where and how?
  4. Is a Christian attached to a religious body or a denomination?
  5. Is there a universal definition of Christian?
  6. Does a Christian adhere to a specific body of biblical truth?
  7. Is a Christian a profession or a possession?
  8. Are there different types of Christians?
  9. One can assume a particular lifestyle is expected of a Christian. Does it also mean, he or she must internalize a body of truth and give expressions of them in his/her daily conversations in written or spoken forms with others?
  10. What is a Christian's relationship with Christ?
  11. What is the belief and practice of a Christian?
  12. Where does one look for the test of a genuine Christian?

The Christian and Christ:

  1. Are the Christian subjects to Christ?
  2. Is Christ the head and savior of every Christian?
  3. Does the Christian belief in the "virgin birth" of Christ?
  4. Does the Christian believes Jesus is the "Son of God"?
  5. Does the Christian believe Jesus is "Savior and Lord"?
  6. Does the Christian believe Jesus has forgiven him of sins?
  7. Is every Christian a witness for Christ? 
  8. Is the life of the Christian lived with Christ?
  9. Does the Christian belief in the Trinity?
  10. Is Jesus the Christian's Savior? Can He forgive sins? 
  11. Does the Christian view Jesus as eternal
  12. Is Jesus the true and full God in the highest sense?
  13. Does the Christian believe all of the answers to the above questions?

The answers you supplied may serve as a mirror to reflect who you are. CM

PS. Is it against the forum rules if one has more questions than answers? 

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Comments

  • When asked about my faith affiliation, my choice is "a follower of The Way" since Jesus said: " I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life; no one comes to The Father except through me." (John 14:6) My desire is to speak/write Truth in Love (Ephesians 4:14-16) using kind words (James 1:17-20) with conversation that is gracious and interesting (Colossians 4:1-6), which is challenging. Thankful for Jesus being asked "What is the most important command in Torah ?" Answer is Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (beginning of The Shema) and Love Your Neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). Personally am a work in progress who is still learning to Love God with everything in my being, which enables me to Love one another as God Loves (including myself so God's Love flowing into me is followed by flowing out to others so God's Love is Living Water). God Loves every human while hating sin choices and enjoying love acts (righteousness) by believers in God. Thankful for God changing my vision so can truthfully say to everybody (while Smiling): "I see the image of God in you. You're special. God Loves you." (often causes a Smile to appear on the person's face)


    Followers of The Way (worshipped Jesus Christ as Lord God) in Antioch were called "Christian" by others who worshipped Roman gods.

    Do "Christians" kill "Christians" ? (as Crusaders did when worship style in Middle East was different than Europe)

    Do "Christians" force Jewish conversion to "Christianity" ? (as happened in many countries over several centuries) Note: Jews accepting Yeshua as their Messiah completes their Jewishness (does not need Gentile cultural conversion)

    Do "Christians" arrest people with legal process of guilty until proven heretic ? (allowed "Christian" inquisition by a church to seize property & kill)

    Do "Christians" use words to falsely accuse/slander ? (with numerous examples in CD interactions, fake news, political postering, conspiracies, ...)

    Does repeatedly saying "In the name of Jesus Christ" make one a "Christian" ? (while remembering Matthew 7:21-23)


    By the way, reading news provides reason to weep & pray for many hurting people. Thankful God answers prayer in His perfect time and way. Holy is God's healing from sin (for everyone hurt by sin actions). Thankful for nature's daily reminder of being redeemed by the blood of Jesus (especially sunrise & sunset between my forgiven sins) plus all nature singing Praise to God (so little child in me wants to join in Praise to God).


    Keep Smiling 😀

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,230

    Keep Smiling,

    Even with your smile for Jesus, your last post is not the clearest for understanding. Some unpacking may be necessary, if you're inclined to do so. CM 🤔

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 486


    Before I attempt to answer the questions in the OP I would like to provide a few excerpts from my personal library that have influenced my thought on the issue raised in the OP (here's a fw):

    The naming of the new group: ‘first’ in Antioch called ‘Christians’ ”

    Acts has enough of a sense for what we call the universal church to note in 11:26 the beginning of a name, “Christians.” The eponym is significant in Acts’ story because it delivers on the programmatic “You shall be my witnesses” of 1:8. Cancik is right that the “first” that Luke includes in 11:26 is significant (p. 677). Still, I cannot find evidence for Cancik’s description of this name within this institutional history as “its central designation” (p. 677). Luke does not embrace the name, for he only uses it here and in 26:28. While we cannot say for certain that it was first coined as a term of abuse, the evidence within Acts and early Christian literature seems to be that “it was not a name early accepted by the Christians themselves.” The variety and haphazard occurrence of names and locutions used to describe those we might call believers in Jesus in Acts are not evidence of institutional onomastics,(41) but rather show that Luke’s focus is not on the end product of the proclamation (i.e., the church, according to an institutional history thesis) but on the activity of proclamation itself, which Luke describes as a necessary sequel to Jesus’ life.


    Reasoner, Mark. “The Theme of Acts: Institutional History or Divine Necessity in History?” Journal of Biblical Literature 118 (1999): 645. P




    It is instructive that the name Christian is found only three times in the entire New Testament! (Acts 11:26, 26:28, I Peter 4:16). The name arose at Antioch, probably among the pagan populace, because a new label was needed to designate a new kind of society-neither Jewish nor pagan, but combining both Jew and Gentile in a new kind of Fellowship. There is some documentary evidence to support a possible play on words between Chrestians and Christians-Chrestian meaning “good fellows” or, as we might say, “do gooders.”


    Review and Expositor 71.4 (1974): 518.




    The expressions “those who believe” and “the disciples” signify the same group of people (cf. Acts 6:7; 9:26; 11:26; 14:21–22). Disciple was also the earliest synonym for Christian (Acts 11:26). Therefore, all Christian believers are disciples...


    Wilkins, Michael J. “Unique Discipleship to a Unique Master: Discipleship in the Gospel according to Mark.” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology Volume 8 8.3 (2004): 54–55. Print.

  • @C_M_ Keep Smiling,

    Even with your smile for Jesus, your last post is not the clearest for understanding. Some unpacking may be necessary, if you're inclined to do so. CM 🤔

    Apologies for not being a human mind reader so curious about unpacking desire(s) ?


    Thankful for a plural unified God who does read minds and hearts (so also praying for divine guidance)


    Keep Smiling 😀

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572

    If you deny Christ and who He is, you are not a Christian.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited October 8

    If you deny Christ and who He is, you are not a Christian.


    well, this idea provides fertile ground for any group with their particular idea of who Christ is to call anyone else a non-Christian if they do not agree with that particular idea.

    From my own experience, I believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, and yet many consider me to not be a Christian because I do not agree with their idea that Jesus is God, that Christ and God are one and the same.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572

    I would also hold to that you are not a Christian. If you do not know who Christ is, you cannot actually follow him.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    @Wolfgang From my own experience, I believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, and yet many consider me to not be a Christian because I do not agree with their idea that Jesus is God, that Christ and God are one and the same.

    @reformed I would also hold to that you are not a Christian. If you do not know who Christ is, you cannot actually follow him.


    Hmn ... then there are those who consider people who believe Jesus = God to not be a Christian.

    And there are those who consider people who do not hold membership in a church to not be a Christian.

    And there are those who consider those who are members of a different church from their own to not be a Christian.

    And there may be those who have still other consideration points for which they would deem someone not to be a Christian.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572
  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,230

    Reformed,

    It sounds like you are saying only those who believed in Christ (Jesus) are Christians and they are the only ones who will be saved? If yes, then, one is forced to ask, what is it means to believe "In" or "On" Christ? CM

    PS. My questions are not limited to just you. CM

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    All of that is irrelevant. If you deny Christ, you are not saved.


    But I do not deny Christ ... so then why did YOU in an earlier post write you would consider me to not be a Christian?

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572

    You deny the very basic nature of who Christ is, so yes, you deny Christ.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited October 9

    You deny the very basic nature of who Christ is, so yes, you deny Christ.


    Not so ... I reject a dogma introduced into "Christianity" several centuries after Christ and the writing of Scriptures. If you hold to these dogmas as your basis for your belief, then one could say that I deny YOUR idea about who and what Christ is.

    I do hold exactly to what Scripture declares Christ is => the only begotten Son of God, the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. The one who appears to deny these Biblical truths concerning Christ is you. You elevate your belief to a place as if your idea were the absolute truth .. and that even in the face of its obvious contradiction to the testimony of Scripture.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572

    Here is the false part. It wasn't a dogma introduce several centuries after the writing of the Scriptures. That is an outright lie. It's right in the Scriptures themselves. You deny what the Scripture says about Christ.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    Here is the false part. It wasn't a dogma introduce several centuries after the writing of the Scriptures. That is an outright lie. It's right in the Scriptures themselves. You deny what the Scripture says about Christ.


    @reformed, you seem ignorant of basic information from church history and the development and establishment of church dogmas at church councils in the 4th century AD.

    Did Paul deny what Scripture says about Christ? how about John? Since I was actually repeating and quoting what they wrote as found in John's gospel (cp 3:16) and Paul's epistles (cp 1Tim 2), and you declare what I wrote as "deny what Scripture says about Christ", your comment is somewhat strange because in essence it makes John and Peter denying Christ.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    John said Jesus is God.


    Hmn ... let US see what we find in the gospel of John:

    __________

    Joh 1,34   And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

    Joh 1,49   Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

    Joh 3,18   He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Joh 5,25   Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

    Joh 9,35   Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

    Joh 10,36   Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

    Joh 11,4   When Jesus heard [that], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

    Joh 11,27   She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

    Joh 19,7   The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

    Joh 20,31   But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

    __________

    As you and anyone else can see, just in the gospel of John there are 10 mentions of Jesus being THE SON OF God, whereby God is obviously understood to be Jesus' FATHER.

    There is no mention in John of Jesus being God.

    Are you reading a different gospel of John perhaps? Or do you have a different theology from John which makes you interpret John falsely?

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572

    In the beginning was the Word (Jesus). The Word was with God and the Word was God.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    In the beginning was the Word (Jesus). The Word was with God and the Word was God.


    Aside from the fact that this statement does not say that Jesus was God or that Jesus was the Word, why would John contradict this statement by stating in the many other places that Jesus is THE SON OF God and not God?

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572

    Not a contradiction. And it does say Jesus is the Word if you read the whole chapter and it definitely says the Word, which the chapter clarifies is Jesus, is God.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    Not a contradiction.


    It is a flat out contradiction .. as a Father cannot be his own Son, nor can a Son be his own Father.


    And it does say Jesus is the Word if you read the whole chapter and it definitely says the Word, which the chapter clarifies is Jesus, is God.


    No, nowhere in John 1 does it say Jesus is the Word .... what John 1 does say in John 1:14 is that what had been WORD BECAME FLESH (that is, a human being of flesh and blood). That is something entirely different from what you are claiming. Now, should we believe that your idea is true and John 1:14 is wrong? Or would be better advised to believe John 1:14 and consider your idea to be incorrect?

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572


    It's only contradicting if you think of it as a literal human son which he is not. Then when was the Son of God born? It wasn't in Bethlehem. That was only his birth as a human form.


    Jesus took on the form of a human. The word became flesh. That is not different than what I am saying. I fully agree with John 1:14 and the rest of the passage.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,773
    edited October 11


    @Wolfgang posted:

    No, nowhere in John 1 does it say Jesus is the Word .... what John 1 does say in John 1:14 is that what had been WORD BECAME FLESH (that is, a human being of flesh and blood). That is something entirely different from what you are claiming. Now, should we believe that your idea is true and John 1:14 is wrong? Or would be better advised to believe John 1:14 and consider your idea to be incorrect?

    Wolfgang, your exchange with @reformed in this thread prompts me to give an update on my Sunday group's Christology Bible study. Last Sunday, the thirteenth week of our journey, we finished the Gospel of Matthew, a process that led us to review 40% of the Gospel's verses, and all of them that had Christological implications. We've committed to each other not to draw final conclusions until we've finished what will be a several months'- to a year-long experience as we look at every relevant verse and passage in both Testaments, but the comments group members have made during these first three months have been revealing.

    To a person, every one in the group - including the commendably biblically literate man who began the study confident that Jesus is God, and a Roman Catholic person whose connection to our church is limited to our Sunday group, and whose passions on this subject run deep - has commented on how text after text after text after text after text in Matthew makes it clear that Jesus is not God, and did not consider himself to be God. Of the 50+ Matthean passages we've examined, no more than two or three have generated ANY serious consideration that they might in some way support the Jesus is God view. Said possibility, however, did not survive the group's deeper engagement with those texts.

    In the first half of this decade, I created and led a 4-1/2 year, 188 session content study of the entire Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. That will likely always be the most satisfying Bible study experience of my pastoral career. But this current Christology study will likely end up in second or third place given the intensity and authenticity of our group members' interest, and their determination to discover for themselves the biblical truth about a crucially important subject.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited October 11

    @reformed wrote

    It's only contradicting if you think of it as a literal human son which he is not.


    It does not matter what I think ,,, plain English 101 with it's definition of the terms "FATHER" and "SON" already determines that a Father can NOT be his own Son, nor can a Son be his own Father. For you, language appears meaningless, as you do not adhere to most basic word definitions.

    In addition, you say Jesus is not a "literal human son", that is "a son who is a human being"?? Why do you so boldly contradict what Peter told his audience on the day of Pentecost when he very plainly called Jesus THE MAN whom you crucified??


    Then when was the Son of God born? It wasn't in Bethlehem. That was only his birth as a human form.


    You know more than what God had the angel Gabriel tell Mary ... Lk 1:35 ("And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.") Perhaps Gabriel was lying to Mary when he told her that she would CONCEIVE a child (cp Lk 1:31)?? Or maybe neither Gabriel nor Mary had any idea what "conceive" means in the context of a woman conceiving a child ???


    Jesus took on the form of a human.


    No ... as a human he took on the form of a slave ... (cp. Phi 2:5ff).


    The word became flesh. That is not different than what I am saying. I fully agree with John 1:14 and the rest of the passage.


    What you say flat out contradicts what Scripture says and certainly does not agree with Scripture ... how can it when you do not even understand most simple words such as "father" and "son" correctly??

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,572

    And this confirms that @Bill_Coley is a wolf who is leading people astray. There is special punishment for people like you.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    And this confirms that @Bill_Coley is a wolf who is leading people astray. There is special punishment for people like you.


    @reformed, it appears far more that you are the one who is "out in some field" with your ideas ... you flat out contradict what Scripture plainly states, and because you don't like what Scripture states you start falsely labeling others.

    On the other hand, what I have presented straight from Scripture above is definitely designed to leading people astray from false dogmas and false doctrines and to the Scripture truth.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,773

    @reformed posted:

    And this confirms that @Bill_Coley is a wolf who is leading people astray.

    With all due respect to your powers of spiritual discernment, @reformed, knowing the men of our Sunday group the way I do, I think it more likely confirms that those guys are willing to allow Scripture to speak for itself.



    There is special punishment for people like you.

    Here we agree. I experience that "special punishment" right here in these forums, every time I am the recipient of one of your seventh grader-like name-calling temper tantrums.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,230

    There is no need to call names. What is a Christian? CM

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