defining christianity

There is so much out there I want to write about, it’s overwhelming!

I’ll start with my usual, because Crunchy Con had a blog post on it today and it’s a topic that intrigues me…am I a Christian, and more broadly, what defines a Christian?

Crunchy con’s post was about our president elect and statements he had made, in particular:

Quote from Barack Obama: “Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he’s also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher.
And he’s also a wonderful teacher. I think it’s important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.”

And Crunchy con’s reaction:

“Unless Obama was being incredibly and uncharacteristically inarticulate, this is heterodox. You cannot be a Christian in any meaningful sense and deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. You just can’t.”

This is my same dilemma of course and normally I would have agreed with the philosophy that someone who does not believe in the divine nature of Jesus, does not believe in the trinity and does not believe that Jesus is the son of god was by definition not a Christian. Hmmmm, does that mean that the early Christians were indeed not Christian? Many of them did not believe what I’ve stated here. Is a Christian defined by what the majority of the religions called Christian believe about one person (that would be Jesus)? An obvious answer is yes, of course. And by that definition I’m happy to admit I’m not a Christian. But, I do hope that Jesus was the son of God, I do hope that He sacrificed his only son so that our sins could be forgiven. It would be an amazing, loving truth – but I can’t say that I know for sure. I can’t say the all the creeds and memorization stuff because I actually want to believe it and won’t say it until I’m sure. Does Christianity reject me as one of it’s own? It’s okay if they do, I’m just asking.

But what if, just if, it’s not all true – what if Jesus wasn’t the actual son of God, wasn’t divine? Would that negate his message? Would that make everyone who believed that’s what he was a non-Christian and all the rest of us doubters the real Christians? I don’t believe so. Who gets to define what a Christian is?

Why can’t someone like me, someone who believes in the amazing nature of a man (yes a man) named Jesus be a Christian? What takes precedence, acting Christian or believing Christian? Maybe the Christians should adopt the Don’t ask, don’t tell policy…

This an on-going question for me and isn’t easy, because as you know my mantra: if it’s easy, you’re doing it wrong! (that includes spelling by the way). I’d love to hear your thoughts!

May God bless you with as many margaritas as you can handle!


7 thoughts on “defining christianity

  1. ivankatz says:

    The Message –
    2 John: 7There are a lot of smooth-talking charlatans loose in the world who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ was truly human, a flesh-and-blood human being. Give them their true title: Deceiver! Antichrist!

    8-9And be very careful around them so you don’t lose out on what we’ve worked so diligently in together; I want you to get every reward you have coming to you. Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son.

    10-11If anyone shows up who doesn’t hold to this teaching, don’t invite him in and give him the run of the place. That would just give him a platform to perpetuate his evil ways, making you his partner.

  2. Jodi says:

    You know, I’m not even sure how to respond to this. Quoting the Bible to someone who clearly has concerns about belief is not the most constructive, helpful approach.

  3. ivankatz says:

    I didn’t mean to offend by quoting scripture.

    By quoting the above scripture from John, I was trying to make the following point.

    Obama’s quotes are about Messiah as a human. John is also making a statement about Messiah being human.

    To jump to the conclusion that John and Obama are denying that Jesus is the Son of God (a term for Messiah) is an intuitive leap, at best, and a false conclusion at worse.

    I am willing to not draw conclusions about Obama’s beliefs at this point in time. His actions will speak louder than words!

    I would like to indulge in one more quote from scripture.

    Paul, who met our Messiah face to face, says we are all ‘peering through a mist!’

    Could this be why some talk about Messiah being God, others talk about Messiah being human, and a few talk about Messiah being God-man? Aren’t all peering through a mist at the same Messiah!

    Please read the following verses which tells us what is really important.

    1 Corinthians 13:13
    The Message –

    12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

    13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

  4. Jodi says:

    Thanks for the clarification. It’s always hard to know exactly what people mean when quoting scripture I find. and I love whe it comes with an explanation of sorts because it usually gives me a new way of understanding it as well. I especially like the last quotes you’ve posted.

  5. ivankatz says:

    I reread your earlier narrative again in this blog and am amazed at your honesty and ‘what ifs!’

    Most ‘Christians’ dare not admit, or allow themselves to think, let alone express what you have openly stated in this blog – your honest questions! It is more important to most Christians to be accepted in Christian circles for their ‘correct’ thinking.

    Christians should ‘love extravagantly,’ but it does not feel safe to be honest around professing Christians.

    ‘Christian’ is a loaded word – and comes with a lot of baggage.

    Some have substituted the term ‘Christ follower’ – a person who follows the teachings of Jesus. That is what you are.

    Jesus never demanded adherence to creeds and doctrines. The church likes to nail things down, and insist everyone think alike for membership.

    I am not sure how many churches would accept Jesus into their membership! He would challenge them too much. Ask questions and ‘what ifs.’ Make them think. Step on their toes. Question their motives. Expose their hypocrisies. Love their outcasts. Comfort their poor. Love extravagantly!

    Keep searching and questioning. Keep asking your ‘what ifs.’ He knows your heart, and will reveal himself to you as you search and question and show his love to others ……….

    To question and search for truth is a lot more exciting spiritual journey than to unquestioningly accept the church’s creeds and doctrines without question!

    I am sure you know ‘all the right answers’ so you could be accepted as a Christian by Christians.

    But God knows each of our hearts. He understands our limited understanding.

  6. ivankatz says:

    For more information about me check out my weblog:

    It may challenge what you think about the Muslim world!

  7. Jodi says:

    I love that term ‘Christ Follower’ – that’s exactly what I feel like and feels much more honest to me than christian, at least for now. Thank you for your insights.

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