What makes a person "Christian"?

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What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby The11thDr. » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:13 am

How do you/did you become one? Is it difficult/dangerous to leave the church?(like islam?), is it expensive?(like scientology) and what about tranquility, ive done some buddhist meditation and it does leave you feeling pretty peaceful. What kind of peace does a Christian experience?

I guess i've been looking for answers, well I should atleast give you guys a chance to answer up for yourself, so here it is. :esmile:
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby Canuckster1127 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:26 am

That's a very broad question and of course there can be a great deal of range in the answers you'll receive depending upon how "christian" is defined.

What makes a person Christian in my observation and experience is what they believe with regard to the person of Jesus Christ and then further whether they have personally established a relationship with Jesus Christ through faith by the personal acceptance and reliance upon Christ's life, death, resurrection.

It can become more complicated than that and there's no end of questions that can be asked of this based upon many situations (such as whether people who have not heard the message or who lack the capacity to make such a choice are or can be saved) but in the end, to my understanding, Christianity is at its core a relationship with a savior who is living and chooses to dwell within us by means of the Holy Spirit and to fellowship with us on a daily and real time basis.

The church is not an organization or institution. The church is always described in the New Testament in terms that are organic and living like, a body, a field, a building made of living stones etc. So in that sense when you are a Christian you are a part of the church and cannot by definition leave that. However, often times human and institutional organizations have been put together that are called "churches". That confuses the issue for many. One can leave these and many do to either go to a different local church and no there typically is not danger or repercutions for someone choosing to do that.

Christians experience peace that is described by some as passing understanding. It is more than intellectual. It is more than the absence of conflict. It is peace that exists because of an assurance from God to us that everything in our past that would separate us from God has been cared for by Jesus Christ on our behalf and there is nothing that separate us from God. In terms of the present we have an active relationship with God that transcends any circumstances we may find ourselves in and we know that that relationship is not dependent upon our abilities or our performance. In terms of the future we have hope that regardless of anything that may or may not happen in our lives we have an eternal relationship with God and that death is not the final statement for any of us. Christ has conquered death. Death is no longer the final enemy but is the transition for us into that eternity that has been prepared for us by God.

Meditation such as you've described in Buddhism can provide some measure of peace. We believe Christ personally is the ultimate reality for which we have been created and prepared. Meditation certainly can enter into our experience and life but the focus for us is not upon a methodology, but rather the focus of our meditation which is Christ.

That's a 30,000 foot fly-by and no doubt it can raise questions too. But without writing a book, that's the answer I would give you to your questions.

blessings,

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Faith is reaching out a hand to take hold of God's knowing that in that handclasp of relationship we find all that we need.

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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby Kurieuo » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:00 am

The11thDr. wrote:How do you/did you become one?

You become one by being drawn by God to love Him and accept the forgiveness and redemption on offer through Christ. I have been a Christian since I can remember, but also made a decisive decision during my life.

The11thDr. wrote:Is it difficult/dangerous to leave the church?(like islam?), is it expensive?(like scientology) and what about tranquility

There is no one church, unless you are Roman Catholic. Christ is the head of the church, and all in Christ belong to the church. To turn your back on Christ is to insult the gift and such has eternal consequences. To leave a church congregation on the other hand, well there is nothing dangerous unless I guess you're apart of a Christian cult or cult-like church.

The11thDr. wrote:ive done some buddhist meditation and it does leave you feeling pretty peaceful. What kind of peace does a Christian experience?

Peace, joy, a connection with something other. I am sure it is similar in many respects to what Buddhists would receive. However, despite similarities, since both religions contradict each other it is only possible for to be the true and authentic experiece.

In addition to such peace and joy however, Christians are warned that there will be trials and God wants to refine us (1 Peter 1:6-7). The life of a Christian isn't meant to be concerned with living a peaceful and comfortable life, but Scripture and the life examples of apostles indicate we should expect suffering and hardships. However, God will be by our side through such times (e.g., "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me." (Psalm 23:4)

That said, there are no specific forumlas one can follow. One should not seek out suffering and hardship for the sake of it, but neither should one expect constant peace nor bliss just because they belong to God.
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby The11thDr. » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:08 am

Sounds like you people have responsibilities as well as rights...Where do you begin? I want something easy to make sense of, i always thought that there was some kind of straight and narrow path, just i dont know the right way so ive been hitting dead ends and u-bends. :|
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby B. W. » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:21 am

The11thDr. wrote:Sounds like you people have responsibilities as well as rights...Where do you begin? I want something easy to make sense of, i always thought that there was some kind of straight and narrow path, just i dont know the right way so ive been hitting dead ends and u-bends. :|


What makes a person "Christian"?

Answer: Christ

John 3:15-21
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby Gman » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:41 am

The11thDr. wrote:Sounds like you people have responsibilities as well as rights...Where do you begin? I want something easy to make sense of, i always thought that there was some kind of straight and narrow path, just i dont know the right way so ive been hitting dead ends and u-bends. :|


You mean our commandments? Yes it is simple. We are commanded to love all Mark 12:28-31... And to believe in Christ Romans 3:22 and confess our sins.

As long as you do that you are on the right track.. It's really that simple... ;)

The problem is that we don't do that all the time... :(
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby The11thDr. » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:29 am

So theres nothing actually about going to churches? :lol: Not working on sundays? What about if you have a sin and you have forgotten what it was? Can you be forgiven if you dont know what you did wrong?
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby Gman » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:14 pm

The11thDr. wrote:So theres nothing actually about going to churches?


God's church lives within us.. 1 Corinthians 3:16. We go to church however to worship God and fellowship with others... It's not a legalistic thing if that is what you mean. We do it out of respect and love for God and others..

The11thDr. wrote: :lol: Not working on sundays?


There is no legalism in Christianity.. The Sabbath was created so that we don't work ourselves to death and have some time with God and others. We can't work ourselves to heaven.. Today, the Sabbath could be on any day.. It's interesting that the secular world still adheres to Sunday for our time off.. You can probably thank God for that.. :P

The11thDr. wrote:What about if you have a sin and you have forgotten what it was? Can you be forgiven if you dont know what you did wrong?


As long as Christ is with us then all is well.. Whenever you confess that Jesus is your lord, all sins are forgiven. Jesus takes the punishment for our sins. However, we can still keep sinning (walking out of love). I just pray for the sins I may have committed whether consciously or unconsciously just to be sure however. I do a lot of my sins consciously however.. ;)
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby The11thDr. » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:58 pm

shops are still open on sunday, but most of the rest of the people are doing the shopping :lol: How exactly can you do things wrong when you are unconcious? ;)
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby Gman » Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:27 pm

The11thDr. wrote:shops are still open on sunday, but most of the rest of the people are doing the shopping :lol: How exactly can you do things wrong when you are unconcious? ;)


Yes.. What I mean is unintentionally... ;)
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby zoegirl » Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:22 pm

11th Doc,

If you would like great books to start with, read through the New testament for information about Christ (and ask us about them!!). Then read through Romans for a great, legal approach to mankind's status to God and Christ as the solution!

http://www.biblegateway.com

Also, read through "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis and "More than a Carpenter" by Josh McDowell.

http://books.google.com/books?id=OF-YSM ... &q&f=false

for a preview of Mere Christianity

The11thDr. wrote:Sounds like you people have responsibilities as well as rights...Where do you begin? I want something easy to make sense of, i always thought that there was some kind of straight and narrow path, just i dont know the right way so ive been hitting dead ends and u-bends. :|


11th Doc, the way IS straight and narrow and, in fact, we can't do it! The law, in essence, reveals to us that we are guilty before God and need reconciliation. The wonderful news is that Christ IS that reconciliation. He has redeemed us and reconciled us before God. God loved us so much that Christ died in our place! John 3:16

That's pretty cool! It makes us want to celebrate!! It can be daunting to see yourself as needing a savior, it is a very humbling thing to say to God "I need you, I am indeed guilty and you are the only one who can save me".
"And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ"
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby The11thDr. » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:27 am

I think my granddad has that book "mere christianity", i will ask for it. In the mean time i'll read through the new testement like you say. I got a NiV now so it should be easier to understand. By what you are saying, it seems like its impossible without help and that implies you are getting the help doesn't it?

Is it possible to take pride in your humility? Shouldn't you watch for that? :?

I think it will probably take some time for me to give up my prejudice's but i'll give it a try! trust me on that. Is there a book in the new testement you particulary recommend? Also why does the inscription above the cross say different things in different books? It cant be some kind of magic one that says different things to different people can it? :lol:
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby zoegirl » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:11 am

The11thDr. wrote:I think my granddad has that book "mere christianity", i will ask for it. In the mean time i'll read through the new testement like you say. I got a NiV now so it should be easier to understand. By what you are saying, it seems like its impossible without help and that implies you are getting the help doesn't it?

Is it possible to take pride in your humility? Shouldn't you watch for that? :?


sure, but someone who is aware that they are proud is often the one who is able to make themselves humble. Humility is simply seeing oneself in the proper perspective and relationship to God, not seeing yourself as not needing God.

I think it will probably take some time for me to give up my prejudice's but i'll give it a try! trust me on that.


Hey, not a problem...the most important thing is understanding what Christianity is about... that will soften most prejudices

Is there a book in the new testement you particulary recommend? Also why does the inscription above the cross say different things in different books? It cant be some kind of magic one that says different things to different people can it? :lol:


Hmm, they all have important roles to play. However, aside from the Gospels, I would say Romans and Ephesians have a lot to say about becoming a Christian and the Christian walk.

What do you mean....the charge against him was "King of the Jews"...Matthew, Mark, and Luke all simply say "King of the Jews." John 19 has "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews"....hardly a deep dark contradiction. If you were giving testimony about an event, leaving things out is hardly the same as changing the story. The first three writers state the sentence as "the charge against him", so it is hardly surprising that they don't include the Jesus of Nazareth section.
"And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ"
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby jlay » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:11 am

I'd recommend The Gospel of John and Romans to start with.

Also keep in mind that what makes a person Christian can have a different meaning depending on the context.

For example: If I lie to someone one, you could say, "that isn't the Christian thing to do." But, does that mean I am not Christian? No.

I'd give Mere Christianity another thumbs up.
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"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious
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Re: What makes a person "Christian"?

Postby The11thDr. » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:46 am

So, ive been reading John and it does feel like its leading up to something huge. its kind of different to read it how im reading it now than to skim through it looking for inconsistancies and errors. Esspecially since this version reads much better than the centuries old version.

I think that the slower I read it, the more I take in. I got about half way through before starting again more slowly.now im halfway through the third chapter, this part[with nicodemus] feels significant so im going to mull it over.

Faster isn't always better is it?
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