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Author Topic: What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?  (Read 15352 times)

John

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Re: What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?
« Reply #45 on: August 01, 2009, 08:16:38 PM »
Firstly, I want to give my sincere apology to anyone, whether Baptist or Lutheran, that was offended. I can see how someone can take my statement about these denominations and find it offensive; it was a poor choice of words.

However, for those interested in what I was seeking to convey: the context was - what is a Christian? Is it legalism:  don't dance, smoke, drink, etc? Indeed, the church has adopted forms of legalism throughout its history and the holiness movement has affected most all denominations - so the "joke" is a familiar stereotype based on authentic problems within the church that still exists in a host of denominations. But, a Christian actually is very unlike the caricatures the world presents - which was my point, however garbled.

Thus, "if" Granny views a Christian as someone who does "things" to become holy (a common fallacy) - she would do well to understand it is the reverse. We are made holy by our relationship with Christ - which is why our liberties can be restrictive and yet express true freedom.  It is because our liberty is bound in Christ we do not have, nor want, freedoms outside of Christ.  

Now to segue to something related: When churches start making lists of what a Christian is permitted to do - they effectively short-circuit the Spirit's internalized correction and make holiness a thing obtainable by works, if you but keep the churches by-laws. Consider, what if a child makes some small error and the parent immediately says, "Now apologize!" – hasn’t the opportunity for genuine thoughtful repentance been lost? You have the remaining motivations of law-keeping and people-pleasing – neither God-glorifying. As it goes with churches it likewise applies to Christians and even Christian forums. And so what would the correct reaction be? Most would be in agreement, especially with adults, if you are truly offended, the right action is to meet with the offender, explain how you are injured under the circumstances of the offense, and leave the rest with God.  

A wrong-hearted action would be to turn your offense into a cause célèbre and bemoan the fact to the world that you haven't got your much-deserved deserts in the form of an apology. The consequences are that soon you have a polarized community with people taking sides. The end-state is that the agitator has gained an army of 'offended' proselytes under their influence. There is much power and ego in the 'offend' game and for this reason it is endlessly played.

I understand there are some professing Christians that are 'looking' for a reason to be offended - you know who you are. Yes, it is possible to be genuinely offended - with the preeminent solution being to confront the problem privately and directly. It is better to ask for clarification, "did you mean this-or-that by your statement" and perhaps both parties will recognize the misunderstanding - and the matter is defused and the parties reconciled – which is the chief end.

I think the proper Christian attitude toward small offenses is two-fold:  First, stop being hurt by every little thing, which means you must stop thinking the worst of everyone – and to do that you'll have to stop thinking so highly of yourself and your own importance. No doubt with a correct opinion of your own self-worth apart from God’s grace, all the attacks in the world would be of such little importance - what is there in this perishing world that you must be offended over it?  With that in mind, take the time to analyze why you feel offended when you are. If it something needing to be resolved, something incontrovertibly damaging – then take the steps to remedy the matter, but it ought to be approached with proper Christian charity and prayer.

Secondly, being genuinely offended, first deal privately with the person - state your case plainly (without overstatement) and make it clear how you were personally affected. And then go your way. Leave the matter with God – you are not there for an apology or to get-even, but, if there is error, to restore fellowship.

Likewise, we should on this forum first ask for clarification openly, with charity, and refrain from assuming the worst. The best rule is to assume you have misunderstood and give the benefit of the doubt to the other person. I’m speaking here of perceived slights that crop up on forums – not open rebellion or people peddling false gospels – to those we confront openly. Ah, wouldn't it be pleasant if everyone considered the other person more highly than themselves (me included)? I think so.

Consider this thread - do you recall the original question asked by Granny? It is all but forgotten. Did you personally provide any type of informative answer for her? Or did you simply reply to this thread to defend/defame someone. Truthfully, I'm disappointed that such a small thing was handled with so little diplomacy or grace - and it is unacceptable that those who felt the need to do so, including purposeful misrepresentation, do not feel any call in themselves to apologize for their actions. And no, I'm not fishing for apologies - I'm not insulted - just disappointed.

 I’d recommend henceforth, for the more mature members of this forum to police the more juvenile members who are apt to flame others and strive to stir-up controversy. There are certainly a plethora of other so-called Christian forums where this kind of thing is about all that the member do - so when a newbie comes here full of that spirit, it would be best to correct the immature Christian before it gets unmanageable.  Ideally, each post, by every person here, should be enriching and edifying – that is to say, something you’d be proud to read before your Savior – otherwise, delete it and re-do it so it is edifying. Certainly joining in on the feeding-frenzy is the wrong approach.

Lastly, I'd like to apologize to Granny, wherever you are. You took the time to ask a question and rather than getting supplementary posts from other Christians providing a fuller more-developed clarification of what it is to be a Christian, you got to read protracted rubbish.

By the way – this forum is my internet start page – so though you think I’m “on-line” or “lurking” by the last-active stat, I’m not. I saw this thread briefly Friday and typed this reply today. I check back as time allows, which isn’t too often, it may be a month before I do. In the meantime, if you feel I’ve offended you, which could be, or you just want to contact me, use the forum’s message feature – I’ll most likely see it and reply.


John
Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!

Granny

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Re: What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?
« Reply #46 on: August 01, 2009, 09:46:47 PM »
Thanks John. Yes granny's still here. She is listening and learning, as we're never to old to receive a lesson from God. I'm learning we're all a handful of clay and we all are imperfect. I'm learning that a small matter can grow into a big one if not attended to. I'm learning that if I offend any members of the Church, and realize it, should go before God first, and then apologize to any brother or sister offended by my comments. I've learned that there will always be instigators, and so I should do so swiftly. I've learned that there are a lot of good solid Christians on this forum, among which I count you. I'm happy to be here with the opportunity to learn.

Thank you, and the others who addressed my question. I appreciate your feedback.

Melanie

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Re: What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?
« Reply #47 on: September 10, 2014, 04:27:32 PM »
Hi again,
 Been reading with interest. I have to ask, What does it mean to be a Christian? I know it means we are saved, but what really does it mean?


It means that you have been blessed of the Lord to believe in God, who alone is the deliverer of your soul, and the faith to overcome.

 I Peter 1:21
 "Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God".

It means that you no longer live for yourself, you live for Christ because you are a totally new creation in his holy spirit. It means that you have been born from above so that your old man is dead. It means that you no longer look at God's word as a complement to your own, but as the rule of faith for your life. Ultimately, it means you love God because he first loved you.
 

Drew

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Re: What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?
« Reply #48 on: September 12, 2014, 02:37:57 PM »
It means that you no longer live for yourself, you live for Christ

Melanie, now who actually does that? Do you know of anyone who actually does that. Not in the apostles day, but now?  Everyone I know of lives and works for themselves, their rent, their car, their mortgage, to pay for their kids education, to pay for daycare, to pay police and firemen, to pay for roads and vacations and weddings and retirement accounts and so on and so forth.

In other words, we're all practical. You and others are not being practical, you're bring into bondage of the law.

NoMass

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Re: What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?
« Reply #49 on: September 13, 2014, 09:51:06 AM »
It means that you no longer live for yourself, you live for Christ

Melanie, now who actually does that? Do you know of anyone who actually does that. Not in the apostles day, but now?  Everyone I know of lives and works for themselves, their rent, their car, their mortgage, to pay for their kids education, to pay for daycare, to pay police and firemen, to pay for roads and vacations and weddings and retirement accounts and so on and so forth.

In other words, we're all practical. You and others are not being practical


Now THAT is a good point. There are no apostles here. You're all living for yourselves, are you not?


Fred

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Re: What Does It Mean To Be A Christian?
« Reply #50 on: December 07, 2014, 03:50:22 PM »

Not to beat a dead horse


I can’t believe this conversation has lasted this long.  I guess that poor horse needs a few more stripes.  We all know different denominations are known for certain distinguishing characteristics.  The last Baptist church I attended was just as bad as the Pentecostal and catholic church in their teachings.   There’s not a nickel’s worth of difference between them if you ask me, lost is still lost. 

I wasn't talking to you, so who asked you? There is plenty difference between Baptist Churches, Pentecostal and Catholic Churches. Your comments just serve to show how demented Calvinists can at blind condemnation of a whole group of Christians.

Wow! I'd hate to be the Baptists on this forum.



 


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