What is required of a person to be a Christian

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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby godfrey » October 21st, 2016, 3:44 pm

Val wrote:Pondy posted earlier on the political thread
"We are of course as a people becoming more pagan and less Christian."

So I wondered what does it take to become a Christian? and not just attending church/chapel etc.


Well, to answer with a rather extended parable.

Just about the first thing Jesus preached was, "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

So repent and believe are 'requirements', but it's worth first looking at the kingdom of God.

Jesus must have startled His hearers by teaching that it was possible to enter the kingdom of God in this life. He also made it plain that if we don't enter
the kingdom in this life, we won't enter it at all.

The kingdom of God is wherever God is king. At present that means in heaven itself, and in the lives of Christians on earth. So how does one get into the
kingdom of heaven?

As a citizen of the EU, I have the right to travel where I like in the EU. I've just come back from a holiday in Greece, and the bloke at passport control just
waved me through because I have the right to enter Greece. But I don't have the same right in the US. If I get on a plane for Washington, I'll be stopped at immigration because I'm not a US citizen. Please note, it's not a question of whether I'm a good person or a bad person, it's just a case of citizenship. I can of course get a visa which would allow me to enter the US temporarily.

But heaven doen't have visas. The only people who can enter heaven are the citizens of the kingdom of heaven. If I want to go to heaven, I have to
acquire heavenly citizenship, and that's what being a Christian is about.

When someone acquires UK citizenship, they swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. Britain is, of course, a democracy, and the Queen a titular
monarch. But heaven is not a democracy, it's an absolute monarchy. It surely goes without saying that to get into heaven, you have to be in a right
relationship with God. Unfortunately, in our 'natural' state, we're not. We sin, we're self-centred rather than God-centred, we're really not going to be told
what to do by Him (or anybody in some cases). In short, we're at war with God, and that war has to come to an end. His peace terms are unconditional
surrender.

That's where repentance comes in. It translates words meaning change of direction and change of mind - literally re-thinking. It means a 180 degree turn, from turning our backs on God to facing towards Him, from rebellion to obedience, from 'I want' to 'You want'. A submission, a surrender.

That's the first part, but it doesn't deal with the war crimes we've committed. God is just, and those things have to be punished. But in His mercy, He sent Jesus to take the punishment for us. And that's what we have to believe - that God accepts our repentance, that, in Paul's words, Christ died for our sins, that we're forgiven and in a right relationship with God. That's it.

OK, but that doesn't answer the question of how we're required to live. More on that in a bit.
Milligan nodded. What was the use? After all, if Albert Einstein stood for a thousand years in front of fifty monkeys explaining the theory of relativity, at the end, they'd still be just monkeys.
- Spike Milligan, Puckoon
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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby NicholasMarks » October 21st, 2016, 4:25 pm

Val wrote:
Lyn wrote:First of all believing in Christ, Val.

If we do that it naturally follows that we will try to emulate Christ. Such as, loving one another, not being too judgemental, eg making allowances; being prepared to walk away from an argument rather than losing rag, putting others first but obviously not at the expense of our own health or family - He said we were to love others as we love ourselves so that means taking care of ourselves; being humble, not Uriah Heep- type humble which to me that means being very aware of our own shortcomings.
Lots of things really, basically treating others as we would like to be treated.

We're human and every one of has weaknesses so we'll fall down at times on all the above. Forgiving ourselves is often more difficult than forgiving others! It's also, I believe, important to remember that being kind and helpful does not mean being a pushover because we do no-one any favours if we allow ourselves to be exploited.

People who are not Christian can conform to the above ideals, often do it better than us!

The above sounds like "work" in many ways but it's really more of a attitude because no-one can be busying around, striving all the time.



Thank you lyn.

You are my kind of Christian, Pondy and NicholasMarks doesn't really address the question, to my mind to be a Christian you would have to be outside denominations or cliques although certain policies and procedures within Christian organisations will influence some people to that particular group, you'd easily recognise Christian qualities once you get to know people.
And for myself even from people who are not even Christian; like my next door neighbour who is a devout Muslim but a likeable honest hard-working man who would go out of his way to help if possible.
I am away for the weekend but will have my phone to look in from time to time.
Thank you for replies.


Here is your first big problem Val...'what you think'. It isn't at all about what we think its about what righteousness thinks. It's a code of conduct and the inns and outs are incredible. It means that we have the right answers for scammers even before we realise they are scammers and besides all the criminal scammers there are many who we accept are good guys but who have fallen into the trap of living off the good will and good emotions of the unsuspecting in some very damaging ways...like, for example...corrupt politicians and other professionals who have their own selfish agenda disguised by the image-craft of their profession. By their deceit we can be led to hell and back and not even realise it.

It is the hidden agenda of all evil machinations we require protecting against and only the accurate teaching of Jesus Christ offers us this...That is why the scammers of his own time said...he had got to go.
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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby godfrey » October 21st, 2016, 4:28 pm

So, we are reconciled to God. Now how do we live the sort of life He wants? He is holy, and He is righteous, and we are to be holy and righteous too.

Jesus sat down at the start of the Sermon on the Mount, and when a rabbi sat to teach it meant "Listen good, don't argue and don't interrupt." Then He gave His disciples a list of impossible ways He expected them to live ("Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect"), and finished up with a warning, "Not everyone who calls Me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only He who does My Father's will." In other words, "I expect you to do this."

The disciples must have been thinking, "Come off it, Jesus, who can be perfect? Nobody's perfect." Over the next three years, they would have realised He'd basically been telling them, "Live like Me." And at the end of the three years, they still couldn't - even at the last supper, they were still arguing about who was the greatest. But it was at the last supper that Jesus finally told them how it was going to work, in the parable of the vine (John 15). The key was, "You're going to be in Me, and I'm going to be in you, and it's going to be Me in you that lives the life that's impossible for you alone."

You see, when you change your mind, God changes your heart.

Man, like God, is three in one - body, soul and spirit. The soul comprises the mind, the will and the emotions. The spirit is the part that was originally intended to communicate with God ("God is spirit"), and it is the part that lasts after death - the part that enters eternity.

In our natural state, the spirit is blackened with sin and is effectively dead. That's not fit to enter heaven, so when you repent and believe, God puts a new spirit within you - it's called being born again. And this is Christ in you.

In Psalm 51, David has an anguished cry: "Create in me a new heart, O God, renew a right spirit within me." He's blown it big time, and he recognises that he's sinned because he is innately a sinner - and he wants out.

In Ezekiel 36.26, God promises to answer that prayer: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you."

When? Here's the interesting thing: the epistles - written to born again Christians - all speak of this event in the past tense. It's something that has happened:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. (2 Co 5:17)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Ga 2:20)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. (Eph 5:8)


And as we let Christ in us live out His life, we are able to live out the kind of life He commands. But He does it all. The problem is that we don't always trust Him to do it, and try to do it ourselves. We have faith for Him to deliver us from the guilt of sin, we don't realise that being delivered from the power of sin is equally a matter of faith. One of my favourite books is Hannah Whittall Smith's The Christian's secret of a happy life. She said, there are two parts to the work, God's part and our part. God's part is to do everything; our part is to trust Him to do it.

So there we are!
Milligan nodded. What was the use? After all, if Albert Einstein stood for a thousand years in front of fifty monkeys explaining the theory of relativity, at the end, they'd still be just monkeys.
- Spike Milligan, Puckoon
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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby NicholasMarks » October 21st, 2016, 5:57 pm

godfrey wrote:So, we are reconciled to God. Now how do we live the sort of life He wants? He is holy, and He is righteous, and we are to be holy and righteous too.

Jesus sat down at the start of the Sermon on the Mount, and when a rabbi sat to teach it meant "Listen good, don't argue and don't interrupt." Then He gave His disciples a list of impossible ways He expected them to live ("Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect"), and finished up with a warning, "Not everyone who calls Me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only He who does My Father's will." In other words, "I expect you to do this."

The disciples must have been thinking, "Come off it, Jesus, who can be perfect? Nobody's perfect." Over the next three years, they would have realised He'd basically been telling them, "Live like Me." And at the end of the three years, they still couldn't - even at the last supper, they were still arguing about who was the greatest. But it was at the last supper that Jesus finally told them how it was going to work, in the parable of the vine (John 15). The key was, "You're going to be in Me, and I'm going to be in you, and it's going to be Me in you that lives the life that's impossible for you alone."

You see, when you change your mind, God changes your heart.

Man, like God, is three in one - body, soul and spirit. The soul comprises the mind, the will and the emotions. The spirit is the part that was originally intended to communicate with God ("God is spirit"), and it is the part that lasts after death - the part that enters eternity.

In our natural state, the spirit is blackened with sin and is effectively dead. That's not fit to enter heaven, so when you repent and believe, God puts a new spirit within you - it's called being born again. And this is Christ in you.

In Psalm 51, David has an anguished cry: "Create in me a new heart, O God, renew a right spirit within me." He's blown it big time, and he recognises that he's sinned because he is innately a sinner - and he wants out.

In Ezekiel 36.26, God promises to answer that prayer: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you."

When? Here's the interesting thing: the epistles - written to born again Christians - all speak of this event in the past tense. It's something that has happened:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. (2 Co 5:17)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Ga 2:20)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. (Eph 5:8)


And as we let Christ in us live out His life, we are able to live out the kind of life He commands. But He does it all. The problem is that we don't always trust Him to do it, and try to do it ourselves. We have faith for Him to deliver us from the guilt of sin, we don't realise that being delivered from the power of sin is equally a matter of faith. One of my favourite books is Hannah Whittall Smith's The Christian's secret of a happy life. She said, there are two parts to the work, God's part and our part. God's part is to do everything; our part is to trust Him to do it.

So there we are!


I've got it slightly different to that godfrey...We, are all sinners...ok...but Jesus taught us how to upbuild a righteous spirit within ourselves and this new spirit is so very important to us. It isn't even that difficult...we just need the motivation and it is the motivation we are lacking. That's ok too because the strength of our motivation comes from the strength of our inner, righteous spirit...the stronger it is the more sins are overpowered and the more sins that are overpowered the more our health restores. The last sin to be overcome will be death but by then we will have passed the test of the great tribulations and, like Jesus, we will be sinless just as it now is for all the angels...and here, on planet Earth, we will live in a new heavens and a new Earth, in the flesh, with a direct link with our saviour and his father because our sinful state will be a thing of the past. Some will go to Heaven, like Jesus, but these will be few by comparison and each who do will have served Almighty God or Jesus to a level that Jesus finds like unto to his own suffering for righteousness sake.
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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby Ishy » October 22nd, 2016, 8:55 pm

Val wrote:Pondy posted earlier on the political thread
"We are of course as a people becoming more pagan and less Christian."

So I wondered what does it take to become a Christian? and not just attending church/chapel etc.


I feel the bible says all but Jews are Gentiles.
The believer in the Messiah is actually a Jew now. Circumcision of the heart rather than the physical circumcision of the Jews Covenant.
I believe faith in Gods Messiah and a righteousness given by God to those who accept and believe in Christ.
As no one can say " Jesus is Lord" except by the power of the Holy Spirit maybe we get things tangled because of the amount of manmade teachings the different religions have added.
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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby Val » October 25th, 2016, 6:43 pm

NicholasMarks wrote: we will be sinless just as it now is for all the angels...and here, on planet Earth, we will live in a new heavens and a new Earth, in the flesh, with a direct link with our saviour and his father because our sinful state will be a thing of the past. Some will go to Heaven, like Jesus, but these will be few by comparison and each who do will have served Almighty God or Jesus to a level that Jesus finds like unto to his own suffering for righteousness sake..

And what will these saved ones do
Will they grow crops and work the land?
Will they have pets and politicians?
Will we have cars and TV and alcohol?
Will men and women marry and have families?
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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby Theophilus » October 26th, 2016, 12:15 pm

Val wrote:Pondy posted earlier on the political thread
"We are of course as a people becoming more pagan and less Christian."

So I wondered what does it take to become a Christian? and not just attending church/chapel etc.


Christian is a word that has come to have an extremely broad meaning, to the point where it is almost meaningless. A word that has similarly been stretched and distorted beyond useful meaning is "fascist": this word used to have a specific (neutral) meaning describing an adherent of particular political philosophy - and one that was admired pre-WWII by many parts of the world, including by Western democracies. Now it is a catch-all insult usually directed by one person to another who disagrees with them politically. Left and Right, as crude as these descriptors are, don't even come into it anymore, as I've seen authoritarian leftists described as facist; certain strands of Islam are also branded "Islamofacism" - the word facist is basically meaningless.

Christian has almost gone the same way, though with a generally positive rather than negative meaning. A perfect example is the one above: Val asks about what it takes to be "a Christian", yet Pondero is using the word as an adjective, describing society as a whole. As the word has been stretched beyond all recognition, it follows that the question itself is meaningless.

I would describe myself as a Christian, but recognize and accept that many, many people also describe themselves as Christian who believe very differently to me, do very different things, and all in all live a very different life. Yet there are many, many self-confessed Christians who do understand the world in the same (or at least similar) way as I do. This is where membership to a particular church becomes more self-evidentially important. Calling myself a Christian doesn't really help to describe me, but to say I am a baptized member of the Orthodox Church fills out the picture a bit more.

"The Church" is the body of Christ, and the members of the Body are those who strive (even if they don't always succeed) to follow Jesus Christ as their very much alive and present King and Master. The definition of the Church is something that can be debated, and from that we get other questions about who within and outside the Church are saved; but at the very least discussing the definition and nature of the Church is more substantial. The Church exists and has existed, and taken as a whole we get a much more consistent, tangible and comprehensible image of who the followers of Christ are, what they do, what they should do (not always the same thing as what they do!), and indeed what is required of them.

Restricting the question to individual requirements leads to confusion. We both, I think, agree that the word Christian is rather meaningless in modern usage. But that is just a reflection of (specifically the English) language, how it changes, and the tendency of man to change meanings to suit their own ends. Where we differ, perhaps, is that for you the loose meaning of "Christian" shows a weakness of Christianity itself and reflects that the faith itself is now "meaningless"; maybe this is even the motivation for your leading question. However, for me, whilst recognizing the change in meaning of the word Christian, I know that the underlying faith and identity of the Church have not radically altered at all, being based upon the real living person of Jesus Christ Who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby Val » October 26th, 2016, 4:04 pm

Theophilus wrote:
Val wrote:Pondy posted earlier on the political thread
"We are of course as a people becoming more pagan and less Christian."

So I wondered what does it take to become a Christian? and not just attending church/chapel etc.


Christian is a word that has come to have an extremely broad meaning, to the point where it is almost meaningless. A word that has similarly been stretched and distorted beyond useful meaning is "fascist": this word used to have a specific (neutral) meaning describing an adherent of particular political philosophy - and one that was admired pre-WWII by many parts of the world, including by Western democracies. Now it is a catch-all insult usually directed by one person to another who disagrees with them politically. Left and Right, as crude as these descriptors are, don't even come into it anymore, as I've seen authoritarian leftists described as facist; certain strands of Islam are also branded "Islamofacism" - the word facist is basically meaningless.

Christian has almost gone the same way, though with a generally positive rather than negative meaning. A perfect example is the one above: Val asks about what it takes to be "a Christian", yet Pondero is using the word as an adjective, describing society as a whole. As the word has been stretched beyond all recognition, it follows that the question itself is meaningless.

I would describe myself as a Christian, but recognize and accept that many, many people also describe themselves as Christian who believe very differently to me, do very different things, and all in all live a very different life. Yet there are many, many self-confessed Christians who do understand the world in the same (or at least similar) way as I do. This is where membership to a particular church becomes more self-evidentially important. Calling myself a Christian doesn't really help to describe me, but to say I am a baptized member of the Orthodox Church fills out the picture a bit more.

"The Church" is the body of Christ, and the members of the Body are those who strive (even if they don't always succeed) to follow Jesus Christ as their very much alive and present King and Master. The definition of the Church is something that can be debated, and from that we get other questions about who within and outside the Church are saved; but at the very least discussing the definition and nature of the Church is more substantial. The Church exists and has existed, and taken as a whole we get a much more consistent, tangible and comprehensible image of who the followers of Christ are, what they do, what they should do (not always the same thing as what they do!), and indeed what is required of them.

Restricting the question to individual requirements leads to confusion. We both, I think, agree that the word Christian is rather meaningless in modern usage. But that is just a reflection of (specifically the English) language, how it changes, and the tendency of man to change meanings to suit their own ends. Where we differ, perhaps, is that for you the loose meaning of "Christian" shows a weakness of Christianity itself and reflects that the faith itself is now "meaningless"; maybe this is even the motivation for your leading question. However, for me, whilst recognizing the change in meaning of the word Christian, I know that the underlying faith and identity of the Church have not radically altered at all, being based upon the real living person of Jesus Christ Who is the same yesterday, today and forever.


Thank you Theo, I believe you are right about the term Christian, maybe something was and is lost in the translation of the scriptures and so we have the multitude of Christian sects today claiming to have the truth.
IMO for many it may be just down to a personal choice as to which one to follow.
And so I think its time to leave this one for now, thanks to all who responded.
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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby Pondero » January 4th, 2017, 11:00 am

Catholics today are having difficulty knowing the true teaching of Christ through the Catholic Church, recently because Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Exhortation named in Latin ,Amoris Laetitia.whic has in it conflicting advice for divorced couples and future or present sexual relations. A Dubia, has been issued by four Cardinals asking the Pope for answers, Yes or No answers to five short questions, after two months the Pope refused to answer.Now the letter, Dubia has been made public.
You are not Catholic here so I won't go into any more details , but we have problems in the church not seen since the Arian heresy.
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Re: What is required of a person to be a Christian

Postby Lyn » January 4th, 2017, 11:36 am

I googled and found quite a lot about Dubia.

It's very interesting, I think most people will find it so regardless of whether or not they are Catholic.

https://akacatholic.com/breaking-franci ... the-dubia/
(I think that is the one where Pope Francis is referred to as the "Antipope")

http://www.onepeterfive.com/francis-ref ... ack-white/
(Sounds somewhat hyperbolic, I doubt he was "boiling with rage")

I like this Guardian article. Blimey I had no idea he was 80, hope he keeps healthy for a good few years.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... not-retire
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