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What defines a true christian? March 8, 2005

Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Jesus, new age, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
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I’d like to highlight a comment made by doc on the “Is God the source of evil?” blog.

I am still an Elder, and I am not asking you to ” forsake your bible-based beliefs and embrace other non-Christian belief systems.”

Rather, I am asking you to recognize that other non-Christian belief systems contain similar, if not the same, principles which are found in Scripture.

IOW, my ministry is that of recognizing and rejoicing in our sameness, as opposed to condeming others because of our differences.

In short, you do not have to give up anything to embrace your fellow man in Christ.

Rather, one only needs to recognize Christ in others, while forgiving that which is not of Christ.

The reason I do this, is because by recognizing Christ in the other, then I am better equipped to rejoice in our bond of sameness, thus promoting peace and unity between us.

But if we continue to focus only upon our differences, then we tend to sow and reap the disunity and discord that keeps us apart as enemies.

All this merely says is that we can practice a philosophy of exclusion or we can practice a philosophy of inclusion. I happen to choose the latter while it is evident that you are choosing the former.

The bottom line to the philosphy of inclusion, is that we do not ‘convert’ others by rejecting them if they do not, cannot, or will not, believe as we believe. Rather, we ‘convert’ them by revealing our samness, much as did Paul in Acts 17 when he talked about the UNKNOWN GOD.

And New Age thinking really isn’t all that bad, especially if we give credit where credit is due, that being upon the powers of love, unity, sharing, caring, mercy, and forgiveness which represent and come from Jesus Christ. All we need to do then, is reveal to those New Age thinkers just Who it is they are really worshipping, which is why I referred you to Acts 17:22 ff.

I guess you have yet to understand that a Christian is not one who judges, excludes, and condemns others by who they are not. Rather, a Christian is a person who accepts others in the Name of Christ Who is within them, and yet may still be unknown to them.

So our job is to simply tell those folks that Jesus is already in them and is being expressed through them by their acts of kindess and love towards one another. In this way, then, they will come to understand that they too are truly a follower of Christ.

Yet if you keep on going the way you have been, then others may come to think of you as being the type of individual Jesus speaks about in Matthew 7:22-23, and I’d hate to see that happen.

So perhaps all you need to do is be more loving and forgiving and less judgemental, as this latter does not really suit a follower of Christ.

doc ;)

What are your thoughts on doc’s comments?

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Comments»

1. totaltransformation - March 8, 2007

“And New Age thinking really isn’t all that bad, especially if we give credit where credit is due, that being upon the powers of love, unity, sharing, caring, mercy, and forgiveness which represent and come from Jesus Christ.”

Don’t forget that the adversary is capable of twisting scripture itself, how much more so can he manipulate seemingly good actions/intentions?

2. doc - March 8, 2007

totaltransformation said: “Don’t forget that the adversary is capable of twisting scripture itself, how much more so can he manipulate seemingly good actions/intentions?”

I believe the ‘adversary’ is one who deceives others in a way whereby they will then indulge in worship of that which is not of God.

I do not know you, and therefore I hesitate to assume you were implying that I am aligned with the Great Deceiver.

However, I do agree that what you have said is true, in that Satan can and does twist Scripture to suit his own purposes for his own gain and his own glory.

Yet it is my desire that people turn to God for His Glory, not away from Him. So I can hardly be on the side of the Great Deceiver when I tell New Agers about the “Unknown God” Whom they worship.

And one way to help others turn to God, is to ensure that they give credit where credit is due, meaning we need help others recognize exactly where their feelings and beliefs pertaining to the fruit of the spirits as noted in Galatians 5:22-23 originate, that being in Christ Himself.

Therefore, I submit that those who express these fruits toward their fellow man are indeed followers of Christ, whether they know it or not, and whether or not they choose to accept this as a reality.

Yet once their eyes and hearts have opened to this truth, then all that remains is to tell them who Christ is.

doc 😉

3. totaltransformation - March 8, 2007

I was not referring to you doc, I was referring to the accuser of the brethren- our adversary since the beginning.

4. doc - March 8, 2007

Well, then, I’m glad I did not give into the temptation of making a false assumption.

doc 😉

5. mysteryofiniquity - March 8, 2007

I think doc’s comments are “right on.” More Christians should adopt his loving attitude.

6. Mark - March 9, 2007

Doc is using “smooth words” to cover up his earlier words, in which he encouraged me to read about occult belief systems such as Osiris et. al. and consider embracing them.

His “smooth words” are also intended to cover over that he is willing to embrace that Jesus may have reincarnated throughout history as other deities (Osiris etc.)

The sheer volume of smooth words won’t sway me away from sticking to the bible as it is written. From the basis of the bible I can venture out into the unknown. But if the bible said to the Jews not to go into Egyptian witchcraft and Jesus reiterated that we should not be unequally yoked… then I see no reason to go there.

The bible says I should be loving to others and I am, regardless of what doc or roopster think. I won’t be judged by them, but by God. My starting point is the bible and I won’t be swayed from it. If you want to believe that Jesus is reincarnated, or if you want to get involved in Egyptian witchcraft, that is your choice.

I find it incredible that you’d imply that Jesus would reject me (Matt 7:22-23) for believing in Him as the only Son of God (not reincarnated) and for believing in God and not being mixed with other deities (Osiris, Egyptian witchcraft). Your logic is astonishing.

There remains a judgment at which both of us will be judged. I stand by the bible as it is written, I follow the command of Jesus to love and believe in God as He has revealed Himself in the bible.

And you? You believe Jesus is reincarnated, you think God might be connected to belaliel (osiris) and you read other “divine” scriptures and treat them as equal.

Thanks,
Mark.

7. doc - March 9, 2007

Mark,
Where did I ask you to ’embrace’ anything, other than your fellow man in Christ?

What I did do, was refer you to certain ancient beliefs that have a lot in common with certain Christian beliefs, using them to make a point about how there is a common thread that runs throughout many religious belief systems, and that we can use that commonality as a stepping stone to create unity between various peoples of differing beliefs.

I am sorry you have difficulty with this, and I am sorry you perceive me as a silver tongued devil, but my point was intended to help you understand that you are using your belief system to create divisions rather than unity between yourself and others, and this lends to the continuation of destruction and chaos.

IOW, It appears that you continue to distance yourself from those who also have Christ within them, simply because they hold an understanding that is not like yours.

How is it, then, through your actions of exclusion, can you help to open up the eyes, ears, and hearts of those who may be totally unaware that Christ resides within them? Do you also call them wrong in their beliefs while pounding them over the head with a Bible?

I am fully aware we are not to follow pagan beliefs, as those beliefs are centered around idols which, while having no power in and of themselves, often cause people to turn away from the One True God.
However, we can use those same idols to redirect the object of their worship towards God, rather than tossing them out like so much manure.

For example, in Jeremiah 10:3-4 the Isrealites were told not to cut down trees and adorn them with gold and silver, nor were they to fix those trees with nails so they did not move. They were told not to do these things because they were worshipping the tree itself instead of God.

Nowadays, we use Christmas trees as a reminder that God was born among us as Jesus Christ, just as we use the cross as a reminder that He died for our sins.

So we are able to add those idols into our belief system by turning them into objects that will remind us of God instead of remaining as objects to be worshipped in and of themselves.

Such is the power of reconciliaiton: It has the ability to turn us away from idolotry and back towards God.

As to referencing Matthew 7, I hope you understand that belief in Jesus is not enough to save us, as even the demons believe in Him. (James 2:19)

Rather, the rejection as stated in Matthew 7 occurs as a result of creating the kind of discord and strife which keeps men separated from one another, and failing to help remove the veil that keeps others from recognizing Christ already dwells within the Kingdom that is in each and every one of us.

In short, those men spoken of in Matthew 7 may have done many wonderful things in Christ’s Name, but they made a great show of it and most likely condemned and dispirited many more people in the process.

Perhaps it is too early to awaken you to all these ideas, and I apologize for causing you to become so defensive, as that is not my intent.

Rather, my intent is to show you that you are not being as accepting, loving, and kind to all men, only appearing to do so with those who are righteous according to your own standards, this being fairly common in this day and age.

I will ask that you try to be more open to the possibility of seeking Christ in all people, and endeavoring to build upon those small threads we find as we seek Him in others, rather than thinking I am trying to unravel you.

And in order to see Christ in others, we must approach each individual as if they were Christ Himself, not in awe or skepticism, but in the humility it takes to recognize we are all one and the same in Christ.

IOW, we are in our brothers and sisters, they are in us, and we are all in Christ just as He is in all of us.

I also apologize that I have not proven this connection with you, although I do recognize you to be a Child of God. And yet, I perceive that you are not fully matured in Christ, this being evident because I myself am not fully mature in Him either, only having been walking with Him for a little over 50 years.

So continue to stand on your Bible,and continue to learn from it, as I would not tell you to do any differently.

I will, however, suggest you use what you learn in a way whereby you can be more tolerant and accepting of others, no matter what it is they might believe, while showing them the more perfect way of what they believe, meaning show them where Christ fits into their beliefs and reconciling them with Christ, much as what has occured with Christmas trees and crosses.

doc 😉

8. sola - March 9, 2007

What defines a true Christian?

The definition of the word Christian itself is problematic for me these days – for “Christian” seems to push the religion founded on believing in Christ, rather than a religion that is based on actually doing what Jesus instructed.

That being said, my own opinion of Christianity has changed. Back in my youth I thought Christians were a bunch of do-gooders who were a little pious and prim and proper but their hearts were in the right place.

Then I myself became a Christian as a young adult and then I thought Christianity had the answer to the world’s problems, which I considered at that time were sin and selfishness. I thought Christians, by sharing the gospel could free people – kind of like the world was a giant Frozen Tag game and all those incomplete statues of humans needed was the touch from a Christian to free them.

However I noticed something quite disturbing in the realms of Christianity – our simple church was carpeted and the lovely wooden pews updated into individual padded chairs with the money I was told I had to give ‘to God’. It seemed strange that God would care more that our bottoms were getting a little stiff for one hour on a Sunday morning when human beings were dying because they could not afford to live in other parts of the world.

Christianity today seems to me about power trips for those in leadership positions and a self serving – ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’ social club. I see denominations vying for business opportunities in busy centers. The church seems to follow the dollar rather than the need. Missionaries live in comparative comfort and abundance to those they serve.

Today when I think of the word Christian I think of people with self-interest, people securing their place in the kingdom, people living in fear of an angry god or people using this guilt and fear based community as a basis for milking wealth and status.

I think that any religion that comes between God and man has something the matter with it. Christianity places sin and unworthiness between God and man and sells the cure to this problem in the form of a magic prayer of acceptance of this ‘Christ’ as the only way to be forgiven and wanted by God. Christianity distorts God into an ogre to be appeased by belief in a blood sacrifice.

So the term Christian to me no longer brings expectations super-human people with all the answers and compassion for the world. I am not shocked when I hear the latest sex scandal, I am not surprised when I hear that celebrity ministers have used ministry funds to fund opulent lifestyles nor am I surprised when a Christian farmer, after listening to five hours of Christian radio while working a field, can resent a gift of water to a back-road African town. I am not surprised hearing about how lazy African people are and that won’t do anything for themselves – and I’m not surprised when the idea that Jesus wanted us to give water to the thirsty is returned with a blank stare.

I also see many good hearted people stuck in a system they have inherited or have been roped into by bait and switch advertising. Christianity can be a trap for ‘nice’ people.

Christianity is something one earns – something one has done to themself – therefore is not the Christian’s fault when those around them have not done what is necessary to secure the same eternal rights and current privileges they enjoy.

9. doc - March 9, 2007

Leave it to sola to slap us in the face with reality…

😀

10. Scotti - March 9, 2007

A ‘true Christian’ is someone who professes faith (belief, trust, reliance) in Jesus Christ and gives evidence of that faith in their lives. One can discover the truth about Jesus Christ and God’s plan for salvation by reading the Word of God. Once we confess our belief and put or faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, we are born again and the Holy Spirit dwells within us. The Holy Spirit gives us the desire to be a disciple of Christ, to obey His commands and enable us to live a life pleasing to God.

Blessings in the Lord,
Scotti


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