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Topic ClosedWhat does it actually take, to be a Christian?

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: What does it actually take, to be a Christian?
    Posted: 05-Aug-2006 at 13:59

The topic in an another thread is, "What is the, proper, Christian way to view others" - and there has been many a good word about that.
To me, an equal interesting question would be:
What does it actually take, to be a (true) Christian? - how does a true Christian recognize another true Christian today?

It surely would take more than stating "I'm a Christian" - and in my opinion, if we are to take the scriptures literally, only very few could be considered Christians if they were to follow what the Bible and Christ wants from His followers.

The widely accepted perception of Christianity today, have been transformed and changed so much, that most Christians of today would not have had a chance to be recognized as one of His followers, and certainly not by Christ himself when He was here.
Can we today claim to be Christians, when we have trashed what we dont like from the scriptures, transformed/translated the meaning of other things in order adapt those words to a modern society that noone could foresee 2000 years ago? - and even more questionable, adapted the perception to our own convenience?

I'm not a theologist so I'm asking as a layman.
I'm asking because I find myself doing exactly as described above - never taking anything in the Bible literally, basically trashing the OT - and trying to adhere to the "spirit" and values of the teachings of Christ.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2006 at 14:03
-Well, traditionally, in its simplest form, all one really has to do is accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and live their lives according to the teachings of Christ. This may be a good place to start...........
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2006 at 16:48
     I didn't know Jesus said that we need to read the Bible in order to be Christians (it wasn't even written during his lifetime). In the days that I was a believer, I never read the bible or went to church, but I was as devout as they came, as it was all about prayer and belief, living a clean life, helping others when they need it, etc. As a Christian, I didn't respect the institution of church much, and now as a non-believer I despise it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2006 at 17:14
To be a good Christian, one should stop going to church, stop reading the "bible", and stop praying.
 
No, I am not trying to be cynical here. That's what I really think. My reasoning is that, if one has a real desire to be "good" (to be a "Christian"), and if God really exists, She would impact goodness directly onto you. Don't need no church, no bible, and no prayer. Just listen to the little voice of "goodness" inside you. That is already God.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2006 at 18:27
Originally posted by flyingzone

To be a good Christian, one should stop going to church, stop reading the "bible", and stop praying.
 
No, I am not trying to be cynical here. That's what I really think. My reasoning is that, if one has a real desire to be "good" (to be a "Christian"), and if God really exists, She would impact goodness directly onto you. Don't need no church, no bible, and no prayer. Just listen to the little voice of "goodness" inside you. That is already God.
 
 
You forgot that many good people actually attend church. So, positive peer pressure and influence can open your eyes and heart to your behaviors. After all, how do you know that something is bad except if you compared to something good?
 
Of course, it is your job to select a good church and one that preaches common sense of accepting others, and spreading the word by good behaviors to others rather than talk and talk and talk to them about the theology.
 
Hmmm, I tried listening to the goodness inside me one time staring on a lovely chocolate piece in the fridge that belonged to my roommate. I only heard the sound of my stomach. I ate it of courseLOL


Edited by ok ge - 05-Aug-2006 at 18:28
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2006 at 21:11
I would say a christian is someone who takes the bible as their primary source of scripture.
This obviously doesn't hold for pre-Nicean periods, where the huge variety of christian sects makes it hard to define.
The widely accepted perception of Christianity today, have been transformed and changed so much, that most Christians of today would not have had a chance to be recognized as one of His followers, and certainly not by Christ himself when He was here.

Can we today claim to be Christians, when we have trashed what we dont like from the scriptures, transformed/translated the meaning of other things in order adapt those words to a modern society that noone could foresee 2000 years ago? - and even more questionable, adapted the perception to our own convenience?

This is very true. Many early christian sects have more in common with todays muslims than todays christians.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2006 at 21:23
Originally posted by flyingzone

To be a good Christian, one should stop going to church, stop reading the "bible", and stop praying.
 
No, I am not trying to be cynical here. That's what I really think. My reasoning is that, if one has a real desire to be "good" (to be a "Christian"), and if God really exists, She would impact goodness directly onto you. Don't need no church, no bible, and no prayer. Just listen to the little voice of "goodness" inside you. That is already God.
 
 
 
That was well said, Flyingzone. Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2006 at 23:41
You forgot that many good people actually attend church. So, positive peer pressure and influence can open your eyes and heart to your behaviors. After all, how do you know that something is bad except if you compared to something good?
 
Good people are good people whether they go to church or not. One doesn't need to go to church to become good. In fact, I would argue the opposite - a lot of originally good people, after going to church, could end up becoming "bad" because churches, like any other human organizations, are themselves corrupt and are in turn capable of corrupting people. 
 
If one's desire to seek "God" is real, and if "God" is really omnipotent, I can't see why one needs the church or anyone or anything else to act as an intermediary between God and you. Shouldn't God's power itself be potent enough to affect you? Shouldn't God's own "goodness" be enough for you to distinguish good from bad? Why does one need any "positive peer pressure" in order to be good or to tell good from bad? Isn't that an insult to God's power and God's own goodness?
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2006 at 01:10

 One doesn't need to go to church to become good. In fact, I would argue the opposite

I never said that going to church will guarantee you will be a good person. Just like going to Accounting school does not mean you will be a good accountant. But likely.

 a lot of originally good people, after going to church, could end up becoming "bad" because churches, like any other human organizations, are themselves corrupt and are in turn capable of corrupting people.

Uha, and a lot of bad people after going to church, end up being good because of chruch. Just like many corrupt, materialistic, and immoral persons.
 
Shouldn't God's own "goodness" be enough for you to distinguish good from bad?

I dont think a theif thinks he is doing good by stealing. He knows it is bad most likely.  Associating yourself with people who follow good moral code is a positive thing. Wither they are in a church or in a beach. But most likely, and from my own experience, I think church is a good place to find those.

Why does one need any "positive peer pressure" in order to be good or to tell good from bad? Isn't that an insult to God's power and God's own goodness?

Positive peer pressure and negative peer pressure is a fact of life which God himself created. God power does not mean we are as human out of the influence of other humans. He created human being as social animals. This means we are under influence by those surrounding us. A fact.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2006 at 08:01
Hi,

I was in the US lately and I was fairly shocked by the number of Evangelical program on TV. Yet the most extraordinary of them all (all I've seen I mean) is defently the Jack Van Impe's funny journal set at four in the morning in the middle of commercials.

This weirdo is presenting news took from whatever newspaper around the world with his wife aged 60 trying hard to look like she's 21. He constantly quotes the bible about anything and is explaining us that not only the Armagedon's coming but that it's going to be soooo cool. No use to say that he is pro-Israeli to a point that would disgust Mr. Sharon himself. But he has a special trick of his, the Apocalypse's coming of course with the four infamous horsemen. One of them's the Arab world, the second the Russian, the third the Chinese and the last is the EU. Yes the EU, backed by the Catholic church, is the Anti-Christ in person...

This could be almost fun if it wasn't dangerous. Indeed, what should you do against the Antichrist? Kill him whereever you find him. So on the air, you have a madman saying in the most powerful country of the world that I am to be killed as a dog for the sake of humanity. I do not understand how people can watch him, give him money , support him. He should be in jail for insitation to murder.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2006 at 09:26
Originally posted by Maharbbal

Hi,

I was in the US lately and I was fairly shocked by the number of Evangelical program on TV. Yet the most extraordinary of them all (all I've seen I mean) is defently the Jack Van Impe's funny journal set at four in the morning in the middle of commercials.

This weirdo is presenting news took from whatever newspaper around the world with his wife aged 60 trying hard to look like she's 21. He constantly quotes the bible about anything and is explaining us that not only the Armagedon's coming but that it's going to be soooo cool. No use to say that he is pro-Israeli to a point that would disgust Mr. Sharon himself. But he has a special trick of his, the Apocalypse's coming of course with the four infamous horsemen. One of them's the Arab world, the second the Russian, the third the Chinese and the last is the EU. Yes the EU, backed by the Catholic church, is the Anti-Christ in person...

This could be almost fun if it wasn't dangerous. Indeed, what should you do against the Antichrist? Kill him whereever you find him. So on the air, you have a madman saying in the most powerful country of the world that I am to be killed as a dog for the sake of humanity. I do not understand how people can watch him, give him money , support him. He should be in jail for insitation to murder.

M.


I have seen this nutjob. The Bible translation of "Russia" is so idiotic that it is not even funny. There was no "Russia" in Biblical times. There was only the landmass, it was not united, and the Kievan Rus was not formed for over five hundred years later. And these people think that a person that wants to make the world better by having a UN or EU type deal is the anti-Christ. Of course, the anti-Christ has to be European, because no American could be the anti-Christ. I don't refer to these people as "televangelists" I refer to them as "comedians" because everything they say is so innaccurate it is comical.LOL

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2006 at 15:41
Just another God-loving evangelist - Benny Hinn.
 
I am sure many pious Christians can get a lot of "positive peer pressure" from gatherings led by people like him.
 
 
 
 
For more about this world-famous Christian evangelist/miracle-worker, go to:
 


Edited by flyingzone - 06-Aug-2006 at 15:45
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2006 at 16:03
    

As a Saint of the Orthodox Church sayed, the scope of the life (of a Christian) is the achieving of the Holy Spirit.

for that, we have to leave in continuously contemplation.

Any second we are ocupied with something else is a lost for us, a wasted time and an abrutization of our mind.

Because everything we do is changing us. If we live like animals, we become animals, if we dedicated our whole life to God, we get closer to Him each second.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2006 at 18:03

BMC said:
Adhere to teachings... accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and live their lives according to the teachings of Christ. This may be a good place to start...........

Armenian said:
No bible... I didn't know Jesus said that we need to read the Bible in order to be Christians

Flyingzone said:
No church ... Being good -  Just listen to the little voice of "goodness" inside you. That is already God.

cok qec said:
Behaving.... spreading the word by good behaviors to others.

Omar said:
Bible as source... A christian is someone who takes the bible as their primary source of scripture.

I agree with all of you that these are signs of a Christian - but Armenian ... how can we know about Christ if we dont read the Bible?
I also agree with Maharbbal, Flyingzone, Barbarossa about their remarks on the Teleevangelists.

However, the question remains: Is this really enough? Didnt Christ ask more of His followers?

I think Menumoret hit the nail by saying:


As a Saint of the Orthodox Church sayed, the scope of the life (of a Christian) is the achieving of the Holy Spirit.
for that, we have to leave in continuously contemplation.
Any second we are ocupied with something else is a lost for us, a wasted time and an abrutization of our mind.
Because everything we do is changing us. If we live like animals, we become animals, if we dedicated our whole life to God, we get closer to Him each second.

Doesnt that imply a whole lot more than what we consider to be a Christian life in our modern world. How many think about achieving the Holy Spirit? - how many is living in continuously contemplation?
Only very few as I said in the original post - but isnt that really what Christ said and asked from his followers?
 
A couple of questions more from the top of my head - can a wealthy man be a Christian? - can a soldier (who is learning to kill) be a Christian?

 



Edited by Northman - 06-Aug-2006 at 18:06
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2006 at 19:33
Originally posted by ArmenianSurvival

I didn't know Jesus said that we need to read the Bible in order to be Christians
 
No, reading x number of pages in the Bible will not make you a Christian.  Christ did say, however, that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through him.  So someone would either have to present this in the Gospels or one would have to read it for themselves and believe.  There is no salvation by osmosis.
 
Originally posted by ArmenianSurvival

In the days that I was a believer, I never read the bible or went to church, but I was as devout as they came, as it was all about prayer and belief, living a clean life, helping others when they need it, etc.
 
Belief in what, exactly?  You have not stated what you actually believed in.  The other things, "living a clean life," "helping others," "praying," etc. does not make someone a Christian.  As flyingzone has stated, many people are good and do good works but are not Christians. 
 
It is possible to be good and not go to some church or believe in God.  Even Satan and his demons believe that God exists and they tremble at this realization.  Being a Christian involves a personal relationship with Christ, first by accepting him as savior and by repenting from past sin.  One can accept Christ and thus obtain salvation, but remain dead in their faith.  However, having a personal relationship with Christ through reading the Word and fellowship with other believers makes one's faith manifest.  The "good works" and the desire to be a Christ-like example are results of this personal relationship.
 
Originally posted by flyingzone

To be a good Christian, one should stop going to church, stop reading the "bible", and stop praying.
 
No, I am not trying to be cynical here. That's what I really think. My reasoning is that, if one has a real desire to be "good" (to be a "Christian"), and if God really exists, She would impact goodness directly onto you. Don't need no church, no bible, and no prayer. Just listen to the little voice of "goodness" inside you. That is already God.
 
But this not being a "good Christian" or even being a Christian at all.  This is being a "good person," who might believe in some kind of higher power when the time is right to them, and who by and large relies on their own faculties rather than on some kind of god's. 
 
Originally posted by flyingzone

Just another God-loving evangelist - Benny Hinn.
 
I am sure many pious Christians can get a lot of "positive peer pressure" from gatherings led by people like him.
 
Hmm, somehow I am sensing some cynicism in these comments.
 
Anyone can see for themselves that Benny Hinn does not lead a Christ-like life and is not setting a good example.  His obsession with money, power, and image - is this something Christ would condone?  Has he repented of sin?  Does he emphasize accepting Christ and having a personal relationship with him?  No.  Benny Hinn is on the fringe and I do not think he has a personal relationship with Christ or his life and actions would dictate otherwise.  Rather, we see the Devil at work here.  Satan likes to confuse people and set himself in place of God, but all the while trying to make it seem like he (Satan) does not exist.  But the victory has already been won at the cross and Satan and the rebellious angels have already been assigned their punishment.  Now it is up to mankind to choose who to follow.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 06:09
     I should have probably noted that while I didn't read the bible, I had taken courses in religion and was taught about Christianity and the bible by some priests. I never actually picked it up and read it though.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 12:23
I honestly believe that to be a Christian, a person MUST believe in the Bible. If you don't believe in the Bible and believe in Christ as your savior, then you have some of the worst logic ever. The only source for Christ being the "Son of God" is the Bible, and if you reject that and still believe in Christ, you have NO source for your beliefs whatsoever.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 14:06
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

That's all it takes to be a Christian. The debate then really should rest on what does it take to be a good Christian? Yet to talk about this kind of treads on dangerous ground (who are we to say who is a good and bad Christian?)...

I'll address my views on some of the points made so far.

I didn't know Jesus said that we need to read the Bible in order to be Christians


Eh, maybe, but there were texts (i.e. the Law and the writings of the prophets). These were taught - wait, supposed to be taught - in the temple by the priests. Jesus even asks people "Have ye not read?" but I can't remember off the top of my head who He asked. Christ quoted from the Old Testament all the time.

To be a good Christian, one should stop going to church, stop reading the "bible", and stop praying.


I disagree, though I see where you're coming from. Going to church, reading the Bible (as many Christians do it), and praying don't make someone much of a Christian. I heard someone say once that sitting in church didn't make you anymore of a Christian than sitting in a garage made you a car.

I think that people should read the Bible, but with understanding. This allows people to receive the message of that "goodness" that's inside. Being a Christian is a lot like being a citizen; you can be a citizen and do your own thing, or you can be a productive citizen and improve the lives of others. By reading the Bible, you understand what God expects from you and how to imrpove your life and other people's lives. But...this doesn't mean just "reading" the Bible as some people do, in a methodical "look at how religious and holy I am" way.

Prayer also should be done. It's communicating with the "goodness" inside of you. It's how you repent. God is pretty basic about prayer...He doesn't want you to go all fancy and make a big scene, He doesn't want you to add a bunch of pomp and special words to it...it's just talking to Him.

If one's desire to seek "God" is real, and if "God" is really omnipotent, I can't see why one needs the church or anyone or anything else to act as an intermediary between God and you.


Exactly. God is His own intercessor, according to Christianity, though some have failed to recognize this.

Indeed, what should you do against the Antichrist? Kill him whereever you find him.


That is a dangerous thing...if you think you know who the Antichrist is and you go off and kill him...then I hate to break it to the killer, but that wasn't him. You can't kill him. He's cast directly from heaven by Michael and is meant to rule over the world...until Christ returns and Michael throws him in the pit. People who propose that you can just go around killing him are not only proposing the impossible, but are trying to interfere in God's plan...also that, they're endangering people's lives.

And these people think that a person that wants to make the world better by having a UN or EU type deal is the anti-Christ. Of course, the anti-Christ has to be European, because no American could be the anti-Christ.


How can a European or an American fool people into thinking they're God? How can any human? Why would the Antichrist bother to take up a human body? These things age and get sick...wouldn't it make more sense if he appeared more Christ-like?

Didnt Christ ask more of His followers?


He did. But he never said "You must do X and Y and Z as well as believe on me in order to get into heaven".

A couple of questions more from the top of my head - can a wealthy man be a Christian? - can a soldier (who is learning to kill) be a Christian?


Why not? The Law prohibits murder, but people are always killing each other in battle throughout the Bible. As far as a wealthy man...there is nothing wrong with being blessed by God, but there is something wrong with extortion. It is possible to gain wealth through honest means, and these people aren't punished. Those who extort and don't repent are. I think a lot of people quote the verse where Jesus says that it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to pass into the gates of heaven as proof that God hates rich people. But in Jerusalem, there was the Needle Gate, which was smaller than the others and was open during the night when the main gate was closed. Camels that passed through here had to unload everything that they were carrying in order to pass through. As such, so must a rich man unload all of his wealth in order to pass into heaven.

Has he repented of sin? Does he emphasize accepting Christ and having a personal relationship with him? No.


Agreed with you up to here. I think it isn't for us to decide whether or not Benny Hinn has repented of sin. We don't know. He might. He might not. We might see in his actions a man who is greedy and power-hungry. That much we do know, but the rest we don't.

As far as the second part goes, this is a very important thing to emphasize and teach on, if not the most important. BUT...it does little good to preach salvation to a group of people who are already saved. The Bible says that that's like crucifying Christ all over again, and is definitely unkool with God.    
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 16:08
"How can a European or an American fool people into thinking they're God?"
It has happened before.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Aug-2006 at 18:48
Not me. I know there is only one God.
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