- Dec 4, 2002
- Reaction score
- East Coast, USA
I agree. And I think that anyone who tries to characterize what you're saying as uncharitable is misinterpreting your post.Orthodox11 said:One may also ask, "to what extent is it appropriate to refer to those outside the Church as Christian?"
"Self-identifying" as Christian isn't enough. Some sort of working definition needs to be established for the purposes of discussion.
If I don't believe the Lord Jesus is God in the Flesh, rose from the dead, or even worked any miracles, but I follow His "moral teachings" a la Jefferson's The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth am I a Christian?
If I don't believe in the Holy Trinity and claim such a concept is foreign to the New Testament am I a Christian?
If I incorporate spirit possession and other polytheistic practices into my "worship" and cloak it in a Christian veneer, am I a Christian?
If I believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ came back again as Haile Selassie, am I a Christian?
If I am a polygamist because I think such a thing is a "Biblical concept which Jesus never specifically removed" am I a Christian?
If I "follow Jesus but not the distortions of Paul or Constantine" am I a Christian?
If I believe that the Bible forbids "interracial" relationships and that God made some "races" better than others, am I a Christian?
If I believe that I can be a Christian and simultaneously be a Mason, a Skull & Bones member, or a "Christian Buddhist" am I a Christian?
If I believe that Jehovah is a man who lives on another planet and came down to "father" the Lord Jesus in a conventional human manner, am I a Christian?
Plenty of people who self-identify as "Christian" believe in exactly these sorts of things. I made a point not to put a single thing on my little list there unless I had personally dialogued with a person who had told me just such a thing at some point in my life. I don't think establishing a working definition for the purposes of dialogue or discussion is a bad thing, but rather a necessary thing.