Monday, 5 October 2009

What is a True Xian?


Most Xians that one talks to have no trouble identifying who is a True Xian and who is not. So, maybe some of the Xian commenters and readers here can give us all a definition of what a True Xian is. So, let's hear some definitions.

What I don't want to see is something like this, "A Xian is one who is Christ-like," because that's not very descriptive.

So, have at it.

PS - For those wondering where I've been, I had a hard drive failure which incapacitated my computer for a while (prolly too much pron and baby eating recipes!) Hopefully I'll be back with regularity now.

74 comments:

Tyler said...

This should be amusing. Getting a solid definition for 'christian' from 'christians' is about as productive as trying to empty the Pacific with a soup spoon.

Leo said...

You will never accept a definition because you refuse to admit that there is only one literal interpretation of the Bible. If you could understand that, then the easy definition is, "One who follows the Holy Scriptures in all it's precepts."

B.J. said...

haha... with the volume of those who consider themselves one it makes sense why there are so many definitions. The same reason why so many people have different perceptions of what "love" is. so, Tyler, why would you expect a solid definition from a massive group? it could almost be equated to "what does being an American mean?" I am sure there would be a ton of different definitions as well. not to mention definitions change and perceptions of words evolve with culture. language is not static.

however to answer the question, a Christian can mean the following in today's society:
- A church member
- An American
- A person who believes in the teachings of Christ and the Bible
- A disciple of Christ and servant
- Someone who has visited church in their lifespan
- Someone who has accepted Salvation from Christ
- A person whose parents were Christians
- Probably more than this...

unfortunately you can be one or all of those things and consider yourself one. that is why there is little to no cohesion with the Christians in this nation. but to expect such definitive details is quite demanding for a term that originated AFTER Christ in Antioch. it's not like the name has been chosen by God or anything.

this is a definite problem because definitions to Christians are as important as job descriptions.

here is what I am: a man/ a husband/ a father/ a minister who has accepted forgiveness from God for his sins and chooses to live as a disciple of the teachings of Christ (meaning a doer of the things he teaches) and lives as a servant to others. yet i have not perfected this in my own life.

Tyler said...

Leo: You will never accept a definition because you refuse to admit that there is only one literal interpretation of the Bible.

Hundreds if not thousands of sects of christianity, and non-christians are the ones who refuse to admit there's only one interpretation of the bible.

You're a funny guy, Leo.

Tyler said...

Ben: so, Tyler, why would you expect a solid definition from a massive group?

Why wouldn't I?

GCT said...

Leo and BJ,
It seems that the two of you do not agree. Leo seems to think that there is one definition predicated on one specific interpretation of the Bible, while BJ seems to think that there are many definitions.

I will point out to you, BJ, that I did ask what is a "True Xian" which you would probably not think of some of the people on your list, correct?

And, to Leo, I would point out something similar to Tyler in that of all those sects, there are so many different interpretations that it's hard to claim that only one correct one exists and that you happen to know what it is. How do you know what it is, how does it tell you what is a True Xian, and what do you think is a True Xian?

B.J. said...

the term "Christian" is engineered. it is not something the Bible stated as a command "AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY YOU SHALL CALL YOURSELVES CHRISTIANS..." like I said, the first Christians were called that in Antioch after Christ's departure. therefore the name in itself is something I am not attached to nor care all too much about to describe myself. i use it frequently for the sake of ease in conversation.

so determine what a "True Christian" is i guess you would have to go back to Antioch to determine the real intention behind the word.

however this may just be frustrating to your original question. are you trying to ask "Who gets to go to heaven?" or "Who truly walks with God?"

GCT said...

"are you trying to ask "Who gets to go to heaven?" or "Who truly walks with God?""

Is there a difference in your mind?

Tyler said...

Ben: the term "Christian" is engineered.

Just like christ...


Ben: i use it frequently for the sake of ease in conversation.

It might make things easier when you're talking to like minded dolts. Out here in the real world, however, you're having anything but an easy time answering a simple question.


Ben: (meaning a doer of the things he teaches)

Quite a few people teach the things the Jesus character taught, some of them long before the christian myth was invented. Jesus was nothing special.

Compassionate Heathen said...

This is silly. There is no Biblical basis for the definition of Christian. The word doesn't appear in the Bible. It's a name that people give THEMSELVES. The simplest definition of a Christian then is:

"Anyone who is willing to call themselves a Christian is a Christian."

There are no other qualifications. It not even like calling yourself "American" because it actually helps to have citizenship to call yourself that. But these types of conditions do not apply to the self-labeling term "Christian".

Anonymous said...

WTF? Now you're saying the term Christian shouldn't even be used? So what do you call yourself? A believer in jesus? A believer in the bible? Stop moving the goalposts.

Goyo said...

That was my comment. I didn't mean to hit anonymous.

B.J. said...

(GCT) "Is there a difference in your mind?" ---> well, no, i was just trying to see kind of what you were going for... I just gave two purposes for being a Christian that some people think of.

(Tyler) --> I am failing to see how you are contributing anything to this discussion. Are you the guy that walks into a conversation and starts slapping people as they talk? If so, that's fine, I don't mind.

B.J. said...

(Goyo) "WTF? Now you're saying the term Christian shouldn't even be used? So what do you call yourself? A believer in jesus? A believer in the bible? Stop moving the goalposts."
--> No, I did not mean that the term "Christian" should be abolished. However with the connotation that it has these days with the rampant ignorance and hypocrisy of a large percentage of the people who identify themselves as such it makes sense to make an effort to discriminate oneself.

I am not sure what moving the goal posts means? cheating, in like football? that's not my intent either. i just explained how the word is loaded and arbitrarily used for tradition.

GCT said...

BJ,
We often see people claim that Xians are more moral or have some sort of special relationship or some other claim that sets Xians apart. Or maybe someone says that an atheist wouldn't vote for a Xian. When the atheist says that he voted for Obama, the Xian replies that Obama is not a True Xian.

Now, I'm well aware that the definition of True Xian most likely depends on the person defining it and that no two Xians will ever agree on exactly what makes a True Xian, but I thought that it would be a stimulating discussion as different ideas of what it means to be a Xian were brought up by actual Xians.

Tyler said...

Compassionate Heathen: The word doesn't appear in the Bible.

In fact, it appears twice.

Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16.

Tyler said...

Ben: (Tyler) --> I am failing to see how you are contributing anything to this discussion.

There's a shocker.

Tyler said...

Ben: However with the connotation that it has these days with the rampant ignorance and hypocrisy of a large percentage of the people who identify themselves as such it makes sense to make an effort to discriminate oneself.

When rampant ignorance and hypocrisy is built right into the religion, discrimination from it is impossible.

B.J. said...

(tyler) "There's a shocker."
--> why, do you get that often where you go? GCT seems to be speaking rationally and respectfully here -- he's an atheist and i see his contribution.

(GCT)"When the atheist says that he voted for Obama, the Xian replies that Obama is not a True Xian." --> yeah i have heard this and it is kind of appalling. i did not vote for him but to place such judgment on one another is detrimental to Christianity.

Tyler said...

Ben is at least hinting toward what constitutes a true christian, at least according to the christ character, with his questions regarding who gets into heaven/gets to walk with god.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Of course, few if any of those who call themselves christians comprehensively 'doeth the will of the father.' But, of course, they can all fall back on the parts of the christian superstition that contradict what the Jesus character himself said.

Tyler said...

Ben: (tyler) "There's a shocker."
--> why, do you get that often where you go?

Do the points make loud whooshing sounds when they fly over your head?


Ben: GCT seems to be speaking rationally...

I challenge you to demonstrate where I'm speaking irrationally.


Ben: ... and respectfully here --

If he feels you're worthy of being treated with respect, that's his choice. I, on the other hand, do not. :)


Ben: ... he's an atheist and i see his contribution.

He's not saying anything fundamentally different than I am.

GCT said...

So, BJ, is Fred Phelps a Xian?

B.J. said...

(Tyler)"Do the points make loud whooshing sounds when they fly over your head?" ---> if only they did... i would be amused at least by the noise.
"I challenge you to demonstrate where I'm speaking irrationally." --> I did not say you were speaking irrationally. Rather when you were speaking prior to my comment it was only filled with statements of distaste and nothing to build on. I mean what can you say to someone calling you an idiot in a debate - "no i'm not."? it failed to progress the conversation. but if it offends you, i can take it back...
"If he feels you're worthy of being treated with respect, that's his choice. I, on the other hand, do not. :)" --> i am okay with the fact you do not want to give me respect, however i am unsure of the basis when you decide to give respect and when to withhold. generally you have to respect someone if you want to have a genuine conversation with them and have an interchange for mutual understanding of different or opposing views. but if that's your shtick in this place then i will attempt to see the humor in it.

(GCT) "So, BJ, is Fred Phelps a Xian?"
---> maybe? i actually am unfamiliar with current events and people. lemme look him up real quick... (looking up) oh... one of those. yeah, so he may identify himself as a Christian. but offhand I would assume that he does not try to emulate Christ. as for "is he going to heaven?" - i do not know. all i see is how many things this guy is "anti" of. Christ is not against people. Christ is against sin (whatever sin that may be - not blind hatred of gays, swedish, catholics, and jews). i feel that this guy may not get the point, although i have never met him, at best i feel he is a crap-tastic christian.

Anonymous said...

A "True Christian" hates sin, but loves a sinner.

Tyler said...

Ben: (Tyler)"I challenge you to demonstrate where I'm speaking irrationally." --> I did not say you were speaking irrationally.

Your wording indicated otherwise.



Ben: Rather when you were speaking prior to my comment it was only filled with statements of distaste and nothing to build on.

It's not my fault you've failed to build on any of my posts, all of which have been on topic, regardless of how much distaste they may or may not convey.

Much like this post of yours, which doesn't even attempt to address what I gave you to build on in my post acknowledging your allusion to who makes it into heaven (and is thus a 'true christian'), where I quoted your imaginary friend in Matthew.



Ben: I mean what can you say to someone calling you an idiot in a debate - "no i'm not."?

You could, you know, demonstrate that you're not an idiot. Up to you.



Ben: ... it failed to progress the conversation.

It failed to progress the conversation because you failed to acknowledge everything else in the post, idiot.



Ben: ... but if it offends you, i can take it back...

I doubt you could genuinely offend me on your best day.



Ben: "If he feels you're worthy of being treated with respect, that's his choice. I, on the other hand, do not. :)" --> i am okay with the fact you do not want to give me respect, however i am unsure of the basis when you decide to give respect and when to withhold.

Reciprocity, pure and simple. You know, that whole "golden rule" thing your imaginary friend talked about.



Ben: generally you have to respect someone if you want to have a genuine conversation with them and have an interchange for mutual understanding of different or opposing views.

I understand your view just fine - arguably better than you do - which is why you haven't earned any respect, genuinely.



Ben: but if that's your shtick in this place then i will attempt to see the humor in it.

The real humor is in your hypocritical, off topic whining. "It fails to progress the conversation."

Anonymous said...

Don't you love internet bullies? It's ok Tyler. We'll find the bully who gave you a wedgie in the 8th grade and make him apologize. Would that make you feel better?

Tyler said...

I feel fine, thanks for asking. You, on the other hand, seem to have some projection issues to deal with.

Did you have something of substance to add to the topic?

B.J. said...

(tyler)--> okay, that's fine. i will keep in mind that i can be more blunt with you then because it is not possible to offend you. it's easier to get words out when no emotions are involved, i think so at least.
as for whether or not i am truly an idiot or not i would think it would be difficult to determine through the extremely short exchange we have had - but you may be a superb judge of character. but if not, i can understand your use of stereotype because of what i have said in the past comments "rampant ignorance and hypocrisy"...

but to answer your question about "who makes it to heaven" --> it makes no difference what i believe. the Bible says that if you believe and accept that Christ has died for your sins that you will receive eternal life. it also alludes to the fact that one must follow Christ as Lord for salvation but is not explicit from my understanding. so to judge who "truly believes" is a harder task than it seems because who knows the thoughts of his fellow man? not i... i hope everyone does, but that's not likely....

Tyler said...

Ben: (tyler)--> okay, that's fine. i will keep in mind that i can be more blunt with you then because it is not possible to offend you. it's easier to get words out when no emotions are involved, i think so at least.

Just to be clear, my bluntness is a response to the bluntly disgusting ideology you align yourself with. You could come across like Mister Rogers for all I care.

That said, you're more than welcome to speak as bluntly as the owner of this blog allows as far as I'm concerned. If you continue whining about my doing the same, I'm going to continue calling you out on the hypocrisy.



Ben: as for whether or not i am truly an idiot or not i would think it would be difficult to determine through the extremely short exchange we have had - but you may be a superb judge of character.

Assuming you are in fact Ben Joiner, and the same Ben Joiner I'm familiar with, this blog is not the only place you and I have had exchanges, so my assessment is not based solely on our exchanges here.

Nonetheless, you believe superstition is fact. That makes you a (the term I used was) dolt, by definition. No exchange needed to make that call.



Ben: but if not, i can understand your use of stereotype because of what i have said in the past comments "rampant ignorance and hypocrisy"...

It is you who uses a stereotype when you call yourself a christian.



Ben: but to answer your question about "who makes it to heaven" --> it makes no difference what i believe.

I didn't ask a question, but you're right. It doesn't matter what you believe in this regard, because heaven is, as far as can be surmised, a myth.



Ben: the Bible says that if you believe and accept that Christ has died for your sins that you will receive eternal life.

Well, everyone - believers and nonbelievers alike - receives eternal life according to the bible.

But leaving aside other issues inherent in believing you're not held meaningfully accountable for your shortcomings, the bible, specifically Jesus, states in plain language that the only people who make it into heaven are those who do god's will.



Ben: it also alludes to the fact that one must follow Christ as Lord for salvation but is not explicit from my understanding.

The verse I quoted couldn't be more explicit.

GCT said...

BJ,
"yeah, so he may identify himself as a Christian. but offhand I would assume that he does not try to emulate Christ."

You seem to be waffling here. You don't want to denounce others as being not a True Xian (I think I know why) but you also don't seem to want to accept someone like Fred Phelps into the fold (probably for obvious reasons). I believe that this creates a case of special pleading.

How can you tell whether he is trying to emulate Christ? Maybe he is doing his best, and maybe he's succeeding, and you are the one that is not correctly emulating Christ? Did not Jesus rebuke those around him who were not following god's dictates? Doesn't Fred Phelps also do this? I think this is why it is important to come to a consensus on what the definition is.

Anonymous,
"A "True Christian" hates sin, but loves a sinner."

That's a start I suppose. What is the basis for this definition? Please define how one knows when one is hating sin but loving the sinner. (As an aside, is this acting in a Christ-like manner, especially since it takes a lot of hate to torture people for eternity?)

B.J. said...

(tyler) - no i am not "Ben Joiner". my name is B.J. Eakin. www.facebook.com/benjamineakin?_fb_noscript=1 . we have never had any exchange from my recollection.

"I didn't ask a question, but you're right. It doesn't matter what you believe in this regard, because heaven is, as far as can be surmised, a myth." ---> i am okay with your views but i do not try to forcefully act like my view is fact. remember your word "surmised" right there... that means you do not know for certain - you know as much as your tools indicate (which could be faulty). so to use a word like "dolt" is inappropriate; unless your refer to yourself as the same... i believe something and you believe something different.

(GCT) "You seem to be waffling here." ---> yes it seems like i am; the issue is a tricky one. you are asking on issues in which i have no authority so i make educated guesses.

"How can you tell whether he is trying to emulate Christ?" ---> he might very well be doing his best, i do not know. there are millions of delusional people who may also doing their best. but you can usually judge a good impression by someone's tone, body language, accent, word choice, and many other things. from what i gathered from Phelps is that he does not emulate how Christ acted. Christ rebuked those who were in religious authority and his companions (or "those who should know better")- Phelps attacks the non-believers and the military. so phelps may as well be doing his best impression of what he knows Christ to be, yet is a really bad impersonator.

"and you are the one that is not correctly emulating Christ?" ---> from what I know, yes... but i assume i could be just as delusional as anyone else.

---- so that is one reason why a discrimination from the term "Christian" may be something necessary - because it can be inclusive of a lot more people that may or may not be exercising what i believe.

Tracy said...

You make a couple of really valid points.

The one that caught my attention is this concept that, if one is a Christian, one will for sure know who else is one. I agree that this is an extremely pretentious concept.

Although at the same time, I admit that sometimes (I do call myself a Christian) I meet someone in whom I sense a kindred spirit. One who seems to be in love with the same One with whom I am in love.

This also reminded me of something interesting I read the other day in a book by Brenan Manning:

"Over a hundred years ago in the Deep South, a phrase so common in our Christian culture today, born again, was seldom or never used. Rather, the phrase used to describe the break though into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was "I was seized by the power of a great affection". These words described both the initiative of God and explosion within the heart when Jesus, instead of being a face on a holy card with long hair and a robe with many folds, became real, alive and Lord of one's personal and professional life."

I really liked this take on the experience that defines the beginning of a person's Christian experience.

Anonymous said...

Here's my stab at it:

To be a Christian means to be Christ-like.

To be Christ-like means to bear the image of God as Christ did (or at least to be moving towards that end).

To bear the image of God as Christ did entails many things (IE: Love, peace, patience and many of the other 'qualifications' you'll see on other people's list as a prerequisite for the bestowal of the title "Christian") HOWEVER, to bear the image of God as Christ did REQUIRES redemption... THEREFORE only those who are "saved" (IE: redeemed, justified, in the process of sanctification) could accomplish such a task.

Only those who have obtained salvation by grace through faith are "saved".

Therefore...

Those who have been saved by grace through faith are saved and are becoming Christlike as they bear the image of God.

Because many of us may be on different points of that journey, and due to the nature of us only being able to see the outward action and not the inward process, it would be difficult (or perhaps actually impossible) to say if someone else who claimed to be a "Christian" actually is or not.

Billy Deaton said...

Welcome back

GCT said...

BJ,
"you are asking on issues in which i have no authority so i make educated guesses."

What are those guesses based on?

"he might very well be doing his best, i do not know. there are millions of delusional people who may also doing their best. but you can usually judge a good impression by someone's tone, body language, accent, word choice, and many other things."

How do you know what tone, body language, accent, etc. are indicative of emulating Christ?

"from what i gathered from Phelps is that he does not emulate how Christ acted. Christ rebuked those who were in religious authority and his companions (or "those who should know better")- Phelps attacks the non-believers and the military. so phelps may as well be doing his best impression of what he knows Christ to be, yet is a really bad impersonator."

Jesus also rebuked fig trees, people seeking his healing power, money changers, etc. Let's also not forget that god rebukes pretty indiscriminately. Had Jesus been living in Sodom or Gomorrah, would he have acted differently? Also, I would think it's more accurate to describe Phelps as an equal opportunity attacker.


"from what I know, yes... but i assume i could be just as delusional as anyone else."

What is it you know and how do you know it? If you could be "delusional" (your word, not mine) then you really have no assurance that you are correct, no?

"so that is one reason why a discrimination from the term "Christian" may be something necessary - because it can be inclusive of a lot more people that may or may not be exercising what i believe."

If you want to coin a new term, that is fine, but I still wouldn't know what makes up a Xian or a True Xian.

GCT said...

Tracy,
"You make a couple of really valid points."

Interestingly, most Xians who come here say the exact opposite.

"The one that caught my attention is this concept that, if one is a Christian, one will for sure know who else is one. I agree that this is an extremely pretentious concept."

I think it is too, which is why I generally push on that concept whenever I see it.

"Although at the same time, I admit that sometimes (I do call myself a Christian) I meet someone in whom I sense a kindred spirit. One who seems to be in love with the same One with whom I am in love."

Similarity of beliefs, however, doesn't make those beliefs the True Definition. How do you know that those beliefs are correct? What is your take on the status of Fred Phelps' Xianity?

GCT said...

Anonymous,
That may be the most comprehensive attempt I've seen anyone make at answering this question.

"To be a Christian means to be Christ-like.

To be Christ-like means to bear the image of God as Christ did (or at least to be moving towards that end).

To bear the image of God as Christ did entails many things (IE: Love, peace, patience and many of the other 'qualifications' you'll see on other people's list as a prerequisite for the bestowal of the title "Christian")"

I'll only deal with the last part, because the first two specifically point to it. How do we determine that what the image of god actually entails? Why did you list the things you listed? When I read the Bible, I don't see a lot of love, peace, or patience. How does one know if another is acting IAW the image of god?

"HOWEVER, to bear the image of God as Christ did REQUIRES redemption... THEREFORE only those who are "saved" (IE: redeemed, justified, in the process of sanctification) could accomplish such a task."

So, only those who are saved are True Xians, correct? How do we know who is saved and who isn't? I presume that you believe you are saved, but how do you even know that?

"Those who have been saved by grace through faith are saved and are becoming Christlike as they bear the image of God.

Because many of us may be on different points of that journey, and due to the nature of us only being able to see the outward action and not the inward process, it would be difficult (or perhaps actually impossible) to say if someone else who claimed to be a "Christian" actually is or not."

I agree that it's possibly impossible, especially without a pretty air-tight definition (or close to it). This is especially true considering that you put some thought into this, and ended up raising quite a few questions that still need to be cleared up IMO.

So, what is your take on Fred Phelps? Is he a True Xian? He probably believes that he is saved.

Pastor said...

For GCT (the bold part made me realize it was for you):
Proverbs 10:22-24

"22The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

23It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

24The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted."

and


For the Christians here:

The Biblical definition of a fool in two different places:
Proverbs 28:26
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

Psalm 14:1
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

and our instruction about how to handle fools?

Proverbs 23:9
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.


Proverbs 14:7
Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

Proverbs 18:2
A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Proverbs 23:9
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Proverbs 26:4
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Proverbs 26:8
As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.

And why do we not entertain a fool's arguments?

Proverbs 27:22
Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

1 Corinthians 1:18
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

ethinethin said...

I wonder what all those bible quotes meant in context. Er... nevermind. I don't wonder.

Tyler said...

B.J. (tyler) - no i am not "Ben Joiner". my name is B.J. Eakin. www.facebook.com/benjamineakin?_fb_noscript=1 . we have never had any exchange from my recollection.

I'll take your word for it, because it doesn't matter past pointing out that I may as well be talking to Ben Joiner, as you two are intellectual twins.



B.J.: "I didn't ask a question, but you're right. It doesn't matter what you believe in this regard, because heaven is, as far as can be surmised, a myth." ---> i am okay with your views but i do not try to forcefully act like my view is fact.

What's with the 'forcefully' bullshit?



B.J.: remember your word "surmised" right there... that means you do not know for certain

I do know for certain that, as far as can be surmised, heaven is a myth.



B.J.: - you know as much as your tools indicate (which could be faulty).

We're using the same set of tools. Difference is, you're trying to turn a screw with a hammer.



B.J.: so to use a word like "dolt" is inappropriate;

No, it's not. Once again, you believe superstition is fact. That makes you a dolt.

Further, the ideology you align yourself with carries with it the same sentiment regarding nonbelievers, which makes you a hypocrite for whining about being called a dolt.



B.J.: unless your refer to yourself as the same...

I don't believe superstition is fact, so why would I refer to myself as the same?



B.J.: i believe something and you believe something different.

You have faith, which is wholly different from the evidence based opinions of belief.

Tyler said...

Anon: Here's my stab at it: To be a Christian means to be Christ-like. [Warm fuzzy, candy coated version of the christ character]

The christ character, according to popular superstition, is a lying, hypocritical, bigoted, cosmic despot who condemns most people who will ever live to torture forever and ever. Only psychopaths strive to be like such a person.

Leo said...

"The christ character, according to popular superstition, is a lying, hypocritical, bigoted, cosmic despot who condemns most people who will ever live to torture forever and ever."

Well I'm not familiar with your character, but the true living Jesus Christ is incapable of lying, therefore unable to be hypocritical, loves all, and desires for all to live eternally with Him in Heaven.

Tyler said...

Leo: Well I'm not familiar with your character...

It's not my character.

And if you're not familiar with the character I'm talking about, you're not familiar with the biblical Jesus character.



Leo: ... Jesus Christ is incapable of lying...

In fact, the biblical Jesus character lied several times.



Leo: ... therefore unable to be hypocritical...

In fact, the biblical Jesus character is a hypocrite.



Leo: ... loves all...

You consider it loving to condemn most people to eternal torment. You are a textbook psychopath.



Leo: ... and desires for all to live eternally with Him in Heaven.

Which means he doesn't give a shit about the desires of people who don't want to spend eternity with him in heaven. That's not loving - that's unadulterated egoism.

GCT said...

Pastor,
Seems like you should be reminded of a few quotes, like:

Proverbs 26:5
Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.

And, try this one on for size:

Matthew 5:22
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.


So, thanks for all the personal attacks and the ad hominem...

GCT said...

Leo,
"Well I'm not familiar with your character, but the true living Jesus Christ is incapable of lying, therefore unable to be hypocritical, loves all, and desires for all to live eternally with Him in Heaven."

I have trouble entertaining the idea that an entity that tortures people for eternity also loves those people. Would you be able to torture someone you love? (Personally, I wouldn't be able to torture anyone, but I'm not going to ask you that, because I might be dismayed by the answer.)

B.J. said...

(GCT)"What are those guesses based on?" --> sensory experience; common judgment; and what i have learned from the Bible; but because they are guesses really makes my opinion worthless when it comes to determining who is "saved." i have no authority over the matter so i will not know.

"How do you know what tone, body language, accent, etc. are indicative of emulating Christ?" --> the same... my interpretation of the Bible; again, just a educated guess.

"Jesus also rebuked fig trees, people seeking his healing power, money changers, etc. Let's also not forget that god rebukes pretty indiscriminately." --> well, i would find it funny if all Christian's chose to emulate Jesus rebuking a fig tree; i might try it sometime, haha. however on the whole Jesus usually rebuked the people who knew better (which were those asking for miracles). as for the moneychangers he sat and dined with which is far from what Phelps does with those he hates.

"What is it you know and how do you know it? If you could be "delusional" (your word, not mine) then you really have no assurance that you are correct, no?" --> "know" is a term i guess i have used loosely; i feel certain about these things. however i agree with you; i have no assurance yet still believe.

i do not claim to have anything more than you guys in smarts - i just believe, however scientifically flawed that may be.

Tracy said...

I think the thing is we're talking about 2 different concepts here.

One being - What does it mean in our culture when someone is called a Christian? I think the answer to that is someone who follows the historic Christian religion. I say "historic" here because there are many groups, and at this point I am neither saying they are correct or incorrect, who do not follow the doctrine/belief system of historic Christianity. The major Protestant groups and Catholics do follow these,as well as many independent Christian churches.

The second being this issue you raise of a "true Christian". That's the one I was saying I could not really say for someone else; I mean, I'm not God. I think the person who called themselves anonymous was onto something when he said:
"HOWEVER, to bear the image of God as Christ did REQUIRES redemption... THEREFORE only those who are "saved" (IE: redeemed, justified, in the process of sanctification) could accomplish such a task.

Only those who have obtained salvation by grace through faith are "saved"."

The core of Christian teaching is that we are all imperfect, we all sin. But God's perfect and we can't get to Him. Sin can not be paid for without the shedding of blood (all those Old Testament sacrifices) and Jesus, God in the flesh, shed His blood in our place. If we accept this and choose to follow Him, we are Christians. So, obviously, we can not know for sure what goes on in someone else's deepest heart and soul, if someone else really chose to turn away from their sin and follow Christ (hence this whole dialogue about being Christ like). Because also at the core of Christianity is God's grace; while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. So maybe someone doesn't look so great to us, but we're all in process so who am I to say. I do think it's fair for someone like BJ to say, as he did, about Fred Philps, that he certainly is not a sterling example of Christianity. I also think it's fair for me to say that because I am in love with Christ, I sometimes sense that same love for Him in someone else I meet.

Pastor said...

You are not a child of God GCT, so your scripture about "you fool" does not apply. It clearly says "brother" and you are NOT my brother. At least not yet.

The other actually says "lest he" not "or he" and it's part of a larger theme. Discussing scripture with the unsaved is like discussing logic with a drunkard.

Modusoperandi said...

Pastor "Discussing scripture with the unsaved is like discussing logic with a drunkard."
Adorable!

Tyler said...

Tracy: The core of Christian teaching is that we are all imperfect, we all sin.

What is the standard of perfection by which all humans are judged imperfect?



Tracy: But God's perfect...

Seriously? The biblical god is insecure, jealous, vindictive, violent, petulant, bigoted... oh, I could go on. If that's the standard of perfection humans are to live up to, I'd say most of them have done a bang up job.

There are some who strive for a higher standard of "perfection," however.


Tracy: Sin can not be paid for without the shedding of blood...

Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I've never asked for blood from someone who's wronged me.



Tracy: ... (all those Old Testament sacrifices) and Jesus, God in the flesh, shed His blood in our place.

That's the best a "perfect" being can do? Requiring the shedding of blood to atone for one's shortcomings?

Blood! BLOOD! God is perfect and he wants blood!

If it were true, it wouldn't be fucking hilarious.



Tracy: Because also at the core of Christianity is God's grace; while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

In other words, at the core of christianity is pawning one's responsibility off on someone else.


Tracy: I do think it's fair for someone like BJ to say, as he did, about Fred Philps, that he certainly is not a sterling example of Christianity.

On the contrary, Phelps is more godlike than most people who call themselves christians.

Modusoperandi said...

If I can interject here, "Ye shall know them by their fruits."

GCT said...

BJ,
""know" is a term i guess i have used loosely; i feel certain about these things. however i agree with you; i have no assurance yet still believe.

i do not claim to have anything more than you guys in smarts - i just believe, however scientifically flawed that may be."

It's very flawed (no offense) and it's something that I bring up quite often. We have no way of determining who is correct and who is not when it comes to differing brands of religion...except by recourse to empirical evidence. We know the YEC is incorrect as well as we can know anything, because the empirical evidence simply doesn't agree with a young Earth. When it comes to describing god and what god wants, however, we can't claim to know anything, and anyone who does is either dishonest or mistaken (or other things). We can't know that god is good or wants us to be saved or etc.

So, why is this important? It's important because the gods that people believe in are ultimately of their own making.

GCT said...

Tracy,
"The core of Christian teaching is that we are all imperfect, we all sin. But God's perfect and we can't get to Him. Sin can not be paid for without the shedding of blood (all those Old Testament sacrifices) and Jesus, God in the flesh, shed His blood in our place. If we accept this and choose to follow Him, we are Christians. So, obviously, we can not know for sure what goes on in someone else's deepest heart and soul, if someone else really chose to turn away from their sin and follow Christ (hence this whole dialogue about being Christ like). Because also at the core of Christianity is God's grace; while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. So maybe someone doesn't look so great to us, but we're all in process so who am I to say. I do think it's fair for someone like BJ to say, as he did, about Fred Philps, that he certainly is not a sterling example of Christianity."

This seems like a contradiction to me. You're saying that we can't know who is or is not a Xian, but then turn around and say that Fred Phelps is not? Or did you simply mean that he's not a sterling example of a human being? Your definition of being a Xian seems to be about beliefs, not about actions and morality. So, the fact that Phelps seems to be an immoral a-hole has no bearing on his Xian stature.

GCT said...

Pastor,
"You are not a child of God GCT, so your scripture about "you fool" does not apply. It clearly says "brother" and you are NOT my brother. At least not yet."

So, you think that people who don't believe as you do are open game for your insults, ridicule, etc? If you want to attack my ideas and arguments, that's fine. But, all you've done so far is launch personal attacks. That's all right though, it shows the weakness of your position.

"The other actually says "lest he" not "or he" and it's part of a larger theme. Discussing scripture with the unsaved is like discussing logic with a drunkard."

I suggest that you try again. You were talking about how to handle "fools" and claiming in multiple passages not to talk to "fools" (although you call me a fool and here you are talking to me). The passage I cited tells you the exact opposite.

Of course, I'm now wondering why a Muslim can't make the comment that anyone who doesn't believe in Allah is a fool, which would make you rather foolish, would it not?

Pastor said...

By their standard of "fool" maybe.

Also, I believe you are forgetting that it is not I, but the word of God that calls you a fool. I simply quoted God Almighty.

Tyler said...

Pastor: Also, I believe you are forgetting that it is not I, but the word of God that calls you a fool. I simply quoted God Almighty.

So, you disagree with god, then...?


(I'm getting a strong Poe vibe off Pastor this morning, but I've only had one cup of coffee yet...)

Tracy said...

Gee GCT, in your comment back to me you bring up a classic Christian debate topic (I even have a post about it entitled "Fruit instead of works" from August). The debate is about the fact that historic Christian doctrine is that we come to God by faith, a faith or ability to believe that He gives us in the first place, and that we just have to believe in Him and choose to follow Him and accept His death on the cross as payment for our sin. So, as you correctly point out GCT, it's about beliefs. It's not about good stuff we do. Yet, if our beliefs are real, they will result in corresponding action. For example, if I believed a room was burning, really believed it, I would have the corresponding action of getting out of the room. So, in Christian circles, there is this big discussion about how we come to relationship with God based on belief alone, yet, if our belief is sincere, there should be a lifestyle of loving God and loving people (Jesus said these were the greatest commandments and all else hinges on this). That's why in response to you over on my blog I made the comment that I have no desire to try to convince you that you're wrong because I don't think that will ever work. God reveals Himself to people. But I certainly can say that I hope those people who are in my life; my neighbors, people at work, my family, etc. can see a love I have a lifestyle that shows God's goodness. How that could work in an internet conversation is an interesting concept.

GCT said...

Tracy,
"The debate is about the fact that historic Christian doctrine is that we come to God by faith, a faith or ability to believe that He gives us in the first place, and that we just have to believe in Him and choose to follow Him and accept His death on the cross as payment for our sin."

I'm a little confused. Does god give us this faith or do we choose to believe? If the latter, I would ask you to see if you could choose to believe in Zeus for a day.

"So, as you correctly point out GCT, it's about beliefs. It's not about good stuff we do."

The problem I have with this is that god seems to be more concerned with our beliefs than our morals.

"...if our belief is sincere, there should be a lifestyle of loving God and loving people (Jesus said these were the greatest commandments and all else hinges on this)."

Define loving god and loving others. I'm sure that Fred Phelps feels that he's loving god by holding to his commands against homosexuality, and also loving others by doing what he can to warn us of our follies.

"God reveals Himself to people."

Then why do atheists, Hindus, Muslims, etc. exist? Did you mean to say that god reveals himself only to some people?

"But I certainly can say that I hope those people who are in my life; my neighbors, people at work, my family, etc. can see a love I have a lifestyle that shows God's goodness. How that could work in an internet conversation is an interesting concept."

There are people of other religions and no religion, however, that have the same hopes. In practice, we don't see a difference between Xians in morality and happiness than followers of other religions or no religion at all. In fact, a better measure of happiness is certainty in one's views. The more certain one is, the more happy, whether that certainty is in the Xian god, another god, or no god.

Tracy said...

GCT - in response to your query about how one comes to faith, if it's a choice or a gift I would definitely say it is a gift from God. In support of this I point to Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. I see this as saying that even the ability to believe in God in the first place is a gift from Him.

You also responded to my explanation about belief that then:

"god seems to be more concerned with our beliefs than our morals."

Guess I didn't do too good a job at explaining but I was trying to say that real belief has corresponding action. So if I believe, then that belief will affect how I live.

Your question about: "Define loving god and loving others." I actually think that type of thinking, that desire to make it all black and white is where many problems begin to arise. I believe that in each day I must be open to God, to the Holy Spirit within me, as to how loving God and loving the people in my life will look in specific circumstances. Maybe one time it will look like extending a lot of grace to my 16yr old son when he's being a teen age know it all, giving a stranded person's car a jump with my cables, giving food to a homeless person who approaches me for $, etc. I can't detail it all in advance. Not sure if I'm explaining this very well. But real faith in God is about His grace and belief but it also translates into a good life.

I have never said that other people of other beliefs are not living good lives; I know some awesome Muslims, Agnostics, and Hindus. I suppose there's plenty of kind hearted, atheists out there too.

Goyo said...

Tracy:
all of the things you listed above, I participate in too. Which proves nothing. What is the difference in our lives then? You even have the holy spirit as a guide in your life and I don't.
That's why this is such an interesting question GCT posed. Every xtian has their own definition of what a xtian is. And you also know who isn't a xtian. But you can't nail it down here.

ethinethin said...

in response to your query about how one comes to faith, if it's a choice or a gift I would definitely say it is a gift from God.

Then why are there so many people who do not believe in the christian god?

Don't you see the problem here?

God's not revealing himself to everyone, and damning those many billions of people he ignores to hell for eternity.

I am an atheist, but I am agnostic. If there was evidence that god was real, I would most likely worship him to avoid the punishment of not worshiping him. I am open to the possibility of him existing, yet he has never revealed himself (despite supposedly having that power). Why does he want me to go to hell?

Leo said...

"God's not revealing himself to everyone"

Christianity is based on faith. God will only reveal himself to a certain extent, you must make some leap of faith. Don't ask me why it's this way, but that's the way it is. According to God, he has revealed himself to everyone so that they are without excuse. It's similar to how a child is taught to walk. His/her mommy or daddy kneels just far enough away from the child that it's impossible for the child to get there only by leaning. The child MUST take a step to get there.

Modusoperandi said...

Leo "According to God, he has revealed himself to everyone so that they are without excuse."
Well, first that's according to Paul. Second, the amazing thing about General Revelation is that it always leads to the wrong answer.

GCT said...

Tracy,
"GCT - in response to your query about how one comes to faith, if it's a choice or a gift I would definitely say it is a gift from God."

I think ethin does a good job pointing out why this doesn't sit well with atheists. If you take into account that most atheists in this country were Xians, it makes it even more curious.

"Guess I didn't do too good a job at explaining but I was trying to say that real belief has corresponding action. So if I believe, then that belief will affect how I live."

But, ultimately, god will not determine my eternal location based on my actions/morality.

"Your question about: "Define loving god and loving others." I actually think that type of thinking, that desire to make it all black and white is where many problems begin to arise."

I wasn't trying to be black/white. What I wanted to point out was that these things are open to interpretation. What you think of as being loving is not necessarily what others would consider loving. And, there's no method for determining which one god would agree with.

"But real faith in God is about His grace and belief but it also translates into a good life.

I have never said that other people of other beliefs are not living good lives; I know some awesome Muslims, Agnostics, and Hindus. I suppose there's plenty of kind hearted, atheists out there too."

Then, I don't know what you are trying to say. Xian belief doesn't transform someone's life into being good anymore than it makes the person more moral. If a homeless person converts to Xianity, that homeless person is still homeless. And, I think from our discussion on the word religion, we can agree that Xians aren't necessarily more moral than others.

Tyler said...

Tracy: ... I know some awesome Muslims, Agnostics, and Hindus. I suppose there's plenty of kind hearted, atheists out there too.

And, according to your superstition, they're all going be tortured for eternity.

Love...

Tracy said...

That question ethinethin is one of great debate within the Christian community. Leo refers to what the apostle Paul wrote in the first chapter of Romans about how all creation testifies to the fact that there's something/someone out there that created it. I do think Leo has a point that when it's all said and done faith does come in. Faith is a choice but, as I said Eph. 2:8-9 indicates that even our ability to make that choice comes from God, it's as if He loves us so much He's willing to do all He can to bring us to Himself but we've got to come to Him. Like Leo, I do not know why it's this way. In fact there's lots of stuff about God and the Bible that does not work out all neat and perfect for me; GCT you came over to my blog and picked the very post about the Mystery of faith to comment on. I'm guessing because this kind of thought process on my part drives you crazy.

ethinethin said...

Leo refers to what the apostle Paul wrote in the first chapter of Romans about how all creation testifies to the fact that there's something/someone out there that created it.

Maybe to the ancient people, but after centuries of scientific study, we know the natural explanations for things previously explained by the "god did it" explanation. We also know that the human mind recognizes patterns and to those without the knowledge of the natural means of the world, it can seem designed.

If "creation" testifying to the fact that someone created it is all the evidence we need, then why is there so much evidence to the contrary?

Faith is a choice but, as I said Eph. 2:8-9 indicates that even our ability to make that choice comes from God, it's as if He loves us so much He's willing to do all He can to bring us to Himself but we've got to come to Him.

Yes, indeed, he really does love us. He loves us so much that when we don't come to him, he tortures us for eternity. It's tough love. Really tough love.

ethinethin said...

it's as if He loves us so much He's willing to do all He can to bring us to Himself but we've got to come to Him.

And on a second reading of what you said, I have to challenge this again.

Among the many things he has done to "bring us to him" is give us logic, reason, and inductive and deductive reasoning. Along with the mountains of biological, geological, and cosmological evidence that indicate that he had nothing to do with anything on earth, how could we possibly conclude that he exists?

GCT said...

Tracy,
"He's willing to do all He can to bring us to Himself but we've got to come to Him."

I will also take issue with this statement, especially since it reads contradictorily. If he's doing all he can, then why would we need to come to him? He's not doing all he can. Besides, if he was doing all he can, he could unambiguously show up, he could talk to us, etc. In fact, if god is omniscient, he would know what each and every one of us need in order to believe in him and being omnipotent he would be able to do it at no cost to himself.

Of course, I'm still wondering why belief is valued more highly than anything else. We're talking about belief in a factual matter, the matter of god's existence. It doesn't matter how moral you are, but whether you correctly figured out the "evidence" that is claimed exists (claimed by Paul). Would you think it fair for god to administer a math exam after you die and send you to hell if you fail, regardless of how you've lived your life?

ethinethin said...

One more..
Leo refers to what the apostle Paul wrote in the first chapter of Romans about how all creation testifies to the fact that there's something/someone out there that created it.

Even forgetting all the points I made previously to this statement, let's say that "creation" is evidence of god's existence... how is it evidence that jesus is that god?

There's no particular love for nature coming from the bible. I would think pagan nature gods would be a more appropriate choice if that's your evidence. But either way, how is it compelling enough evidence to make such an important choice, the choice between eternal bliss and eternal torment?

If that's all he's giving us to work with, god must be a sadistic bastard (especially so when you consider all the contrary evidence).

Goyo said...

As for natural observation of the things around us pointing to a creator, don't forget we also observe the sun going around the earth!

Tyler said...

Tracy: I'm guessing because this kind of thought process on my part drives you crazy.

On the contrary, it seems to have driven you batshit crazy.

like.a.cannon said...

Simply put, a Christian is someone who loves, honors, obeys and worships Jesus.

GCT said...

OK, so how do I put that into practice? How do I decide who is and is not a True Xian?