What is a Christian?

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Miri

The Thingy Member
Jul 22, 2012
8,156
1,030
113
UK age 50
#1
Hi, I know you are now thinking, “what Miri doesn’t know” lol

I had an interesting discussion with a person today.
We were discussing a couple of people we know, one of them is a church
minister.

For various reasons, this person was saying he didn’t think either of them was
born again. I don’t actually know either of them that well to make a judgement so I
couldn’t really say.


But the person I was speaking to, was of the opinion that while they may talk the talk,
and may even give the appearance of walking the walk as they are “nice people”.
That neither of them (in his opinion) had a testimony of a personal encounter with
Christ. That both people simply had made a decision to go to church and had got
involved in church stuff.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
6,144
778
113
#2
That neither of them (in his opinion) had a testimony of a personal encounter with Christ.
God has not given other Christians the responsibility of determining who is a Christian and who is not. Their primary responsibility is to know if they are saved and walking in the Spirit.

According to Scripture it is "Who is a Christian" not "What is a Christian". And the answer is very simple. The child of God is a Christian through the New Birth. And only God knows who is and who is not. Naturally, being a child of God means living according to the Law of Christ and the commandments of Christ, not according to the ways of the world.
 
Mar 23, 2016
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#3
According to Acts 11:26, a disciple is a Christian.

Acts 11:

25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.



My understanding is that the term "christian" was a derogatory term. See also "that way" in Acts 19:9, 23; 24:22 (this way in Acts 19:2).

A disciple is a follower of Christ.

A Christian is a follower of Christ.

Sometimes people attend a church and are followers of the denomination rather than a follower of Christ Himself.

It is the follower of Christ Himself that is the disciple / Christian.

The follower of the denomination is a Catholic, or a Lutheran, or a Baptist, or a Mormon, or a Methodist.

There are true followers of Christ within each denomination. However, there are also some who do not follow Christ but follow the traditions of the particular denomination to which they belong.
 

Miri

The Thingy Member
Jul 22, 2012
8,156
1,030
113
UK age 50
#4
God has not given other Christians the responsibility of determining who is a Christian and who is not. Their primary responsibility is to know if they are saved and walking in the Spirit.

According to Scripture it is "Who is a Christian" not "What is a Christian". And the answer is very simple. The child of God is a Christian through the New Birth. And only God knows who is and who is not. Naturally, being a child of God means living according to the Law of Christ and the commandments of Christ, not according to the ways of the world.

I agree that God is the person who really knows, we are not judge but
we can discern.

But....what if there are people out there our families, friends, church
elders, even pastors or even on CC who think they are born
again, they aren’t?

It’s true that many go to church, but that doesn’t make you a Christian.
It’s true that many can have the appearance of “religion” but they are not
Christians. The Pharisees are a good example of outward religion but inside
full of dead men’s bones.

I know of one example where during an evangelistic crusade, a Methodist
minister of many years, responded to the alter call! He knew he needed Christ
and previously he was just “playing” at church.

I know of another “evangelist” who when asked how he became a Christian,
he responded that he had made a decision to attend church. That’s not the gospel.

So I think it’s an important question to ask. “What is a Christian”
 

Miri

The Thingy Member
Jul 22, 2012
8,156
1,030
113
UK age 50
#5
According to Acts 11:26, a disciple is a Christian.

Acts 11:

25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.


My understanding is that the term "christian" was a derogatory term. See also "that way" in Acts 19:9, 23; 24:22 (this way in Acts 19:2).

A disciple is a follower of Christ.

A Christian is a follower of Christ.

Sometimes people attend a church and are followers of the denomination rather than a follower of Christ Himself.

It is the follower of Christ Himself that is the disciple / Christian.

The follower of the denomination is a Catholic, or a Lutheran, or a Baptist, or a Mormon, or a Methodist.

There are true followers of Christ within each denomination. However, there are also some who do not follow Christ but follow the traditions of the particular denomination to which they belong.

But.....what turns a person into a follower of Christ. This is the kind of response many
do give. Yes a Christian is a follower of Christ. But even Judas followed Christ! He had the
best teacher, the best preacher, the best expounder of the bible, he literally followed
Christ!

Do you see what I mean 🙂
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
6,144
778
113
#6
But....what if there are people out there our families, friends, church elders, even pastors or even on CC who think they are born again, they aren’t?
Again, that is not your responsibility.

Our responsibility to to share the truth from the Bible. For example there are millions of people who have been taught that they have been born again because they were baptized as babies. They have been deceived.

All you can do is share the true Gospel and Gospel truth. If they refuse to believe Scripture, there is nothing you can do. Christians can pray for their conversion and leave it at that.
 

Miri

The Thingy Member
Jul 22, 2012
8,156
1,030
113
UK age 50
#7
Again, that is not your responsibility.

Our responsibility to to share the truth from the Bible. For example there are millions of people who have been taught that they have been born again because they were baptized as babies. They have been deceived.

All you can do is share the true Gospel and Gospel truth. If they refuse to believe Scripture, there is nothing you can do. Christians can pray for their conversion and leave it at that.
True, one person water’s God gives the increase.

But....still no answer to the original questions.
 

Waggles

Senior Member
Sep 21, 2017
2,044
402
83
South Australia
adelaiderevival.com
#8
Hi, I know you are now thinking, “what Miri doesn’t know” lol
I had an interesting discussion with a person today.
We were discussing a couple of people we know, one of them is a church
minister.
For various reasons, this person was saying he didn’t think either of them was
born again. I don’t actually know either of them that well to make a judgement so I
couldn’t really say.
But the person I was speaking to, was of the opinion that while they may talk the talk,
and may even give the appearance of walking the walk as they are “nice people”.
That neither of them (in his opinion) had a testimony of a personal encounter with
Christ. That both people simply had made a decision to go to church and had got
involved in church stuff.
The NT openly describes Christians as people who believed the gospel and became converted
by the indwelling Holy Spirit to become justified and sanctified - new creations in Christ Jesus.

Thus reading your NT we can all read how people were convicted to repent from dead works;
then to be water baptized by full immersion confessing their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour;
then being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the scripture evidence of speaking in a new tongue.
Born new by water and Spirit as Jesus stated that we all must do.

The epistles to the Spirit-filled churches explain how to live and overcome as Christians (followers of Jesus).
 
Mar 23, 2016
2,324
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#9
But.....what turns a person into a follower of Christ. This is the kind of response many
do give. Yes a Christian is a follower of Christ. But even Judas followed Christ! He had the
best teacher, the best preacher, the best expounder of the bible, he literally followed
Christ!

Do you see what I mean 🙂
Did Judas really follow Christ as His disciple? or did Judas just hang out with Him?

John 12:

1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.

3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,

5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.



Some commentators view John 12:6 as Judas consistently stole money from the bag and used it for himself.


We also read in John 6:

66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.



Even in this record we see that some who followed Christ withdrew and followed Him no more.

But we also see that Judas Iscariot was known by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Judas even continued as an apparent "disciple". But God knew his heart. Jesus knew his heart. Even satan knew his heart. All the other disciples were oblivious to what was in the heart of judas Iscariot.
 

Studyman

Senior Member
Oct 11, 2017
2,981
360
83
#10
But.....what turns a person into a follower of Christ. This is the kind of response many
do give. Yes a Christian is a follower of Christ. But even Judas followed Christ! He had the
best teacher, the best preacher, the best expounder of the bible, he literally followed
Christ!

Do you see what I mean 🙂
Judas is a great example. Paul used another that addressed the same question.

1 Cor. 10:
1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

This is a good question in my opinion. Why were these rejected, but others were not rejected?

Why did some fall, and some didn't. Zechariahs for example, Why did he know Jesus when He came, but Saul and the Pharisees didn't?

Why did Caleb trust God's Words, but the rest of those who were with him didn't?

What did Abraham do that Sodom didn't?

Paul suggested we look at the examples the Word which became Flesh had written for admonition for the answer to these questions.

6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Great topic.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
6,144
778
113
#11
But....still no answer to the original questions.
You did get the answer: "And the answer is very simple. The child of God is a Christian through the New Birth."

I think what you want to do is assess the standing of others before God, and that is simply not your assignment. Each one must examine themselves.

Your assignment is to share the Gospel with others, and leave the rest with God.
 

oldethennew

Senior Member
Feb 28, 2016
7,859
691
113
#12
don't question your fellows, but seek God's revelations in the Bible,
He will never fail to answer a true believer, in His own time...
 

Blain

Senior Member
Aug 28, 2012
14,704
528
113
#13
Hi Miri:) As far as this person speaking of encountering Christ as a qualification if he means literally then he is way off base. What is a Christian? This is actually a very good question to think about, what is it that separates a Christian by title and a Christian by heart? What defines a person as Christian compared to those who believe in God but have no real relationship with him? My mom claimed to be a Christian and yet showed every fruit except for that of a believer so what made me different from her?

I cannot say we are not to decide who is saved or not, or rather I should say we should not remain ignorant to the fruits of a person claiming to be for Christ. For the most part a Christian is a common title based simply on believing in God and going to church, it is no longer something in the eyes of the world to stand for because it has blended so much into a common title that many go by yet have no understanding of. Revelation speaks of separating the wheat and the tares, this is specifically because the Christian by title and the Christian by heart are rarely discernible because even we who are Christians sometimes are blind to such things.
I do not believe in judging ones salvation but I also do not believe in being ignorant as to who is a Christian and who isn't, not that we should actively seek such people out but since when has ignorance ever really been bliss?

So how does one go about discerning who is Christian and who isn't? Well like with anything in life it all begins and ends with the heart.
For me it isn't doctrine or a views on debates and scriptures that makes me believe if one is a Christian or not, I look to the heart of that person for my answer. Far too many decide if someone is Christian or not based upon qualifications or understanding of doctrine and views and beliefs, but while at a certain point these things are important they cannot be used to decide the heart of a person because we all are lacking in understanding in some way or form and all are at different levels of maturity and understanding.
 

pottersclay

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2015
3,015
175
63
#14
Every person that ment jesus in the New testament...never walked away the same as they came.
It's not the words you speak..not the traditions you keep.....but the life you live and what is the center of that life.
Everyone has there ups and downs but it's how we handle our downs that show our true colors.
 

Deuteronomy

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2018
388
308
63
62
#15
Hi, I know you are now thinking, “what Miri doesn’t know” lol

I had an interesting discussion with a person today.
We were discussing a couple of people we know, one of them is a church
minister.

For various reasons, this person was saying he didn’t think either of them was
born again. I don’t actually know either of them that well to make a judgement so I
couldn’t really say.


But the person I was speaking to, was of the opinion that while they may talk the talk,
and may even give the appearance of walking the walk as they are “nice people”.
That neither of them (in his opinion) had a testimony of a personal encounter with
Christ. That both people simply had made a decision to go to church and had got
involved in church stuff.
Hi Miri, the Bible is clear that there are many in church today who are not Christians .. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43, even though some of them may even "appear" to be super-Christians to many .. Matthew 7:22-23.

If you think these two may not be believers (even though they claim to be/think they are), perhaps (for their sake) you should consider asking them? (and then help them find Him if they are not (y))

~Deut





 

Miri

The Thingy Member
Jul 22, 2012
8,156
1,030
113
UK age 50
#16
Some great thoughts, it all got me wondering as well, how
people can be “churched” without being born again.

I wonder if to some degree we are responsible for that, if the
“come to Christ” message goes out to people but the “you
must be born again” message gets watered down. Do people even
understand what being born again even means these days?

It’s quite a serious consideration that maybe the person sat next to
you in church, might just go to church for the company, the music, to be
seen to be nice etc.
 

Deuteronomy

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2018
388
308
63
62
#17
Some great thoughts, it all got me wondering as well, how
people can be “churched” without being born again.

I wonder if to some degree we are responsible for that, if the
“come to Christ” message goes out to people but the “you
must be born again” message gets watered down. Do people even
understand what being born again even means these days?

It’s quite a serious consideration that maybe the person sat next to
you in church, might just go to church for the company, the music, to be
seen to be nice etc.
Hi again Miri, I was baptized as an infant, went to Sunday School, sung in the choir, got confirmed, went on retreats, attended church regularly through high school, you know, the whole 9 yards. As a result, I always thought I was a Christian (why wouldn't I have), until the day I actually became one that is!! (at age 30)

The only time I came close to hearing/being taught the Gospel (and/or other Biblical truth), theology and doctrine (or even heard the name "Jesus" spoken aloud in church for that matter), was in the old hymns we sang. And it's amazing how similar that kind of church experience still is for many (or perhaps most?) today :(

Dead churches preaching a "social" gospel. They're everywhere! Fortunately, the Lord saw to it that I heard the Gospel and came to understand why I needed a Savior (by bringing a couple of Christians into my life at work).

Many (most?) in a majority of our churches today still believe that obtaining eternal life is a matter of being "good" enough, or at least being better than Hitler was anyway, because not only have they never heard the "Good News", they don't know why they need to.

It sounds like you must go to a church that actually preaches the Bible, and that's wonderful, but there are so many that do not. I'm not sure what we can do about it, but I do think that anyone who is a true believer in one of our dead churches needs to do all they can to change that, to bring God and His word to bear in the lives of as many as he/she can.

~Deut
 

FlyingDove

Senior Member
Dec 27, 2017
378
49
28
#18
Religion is about what you do. Your good works, law keeping, how much you give, your church attendance, prayer etc.

The Gospel is about what Christ did. His Death, Burial, Resurrection. And when we trust Him, what He can do thru/with/in us.

The prepositional phrase's: "In Christ" "In Him" "In Whom".

Are positional statements used over 100 times by Paul

Rom 8:1 There is now no condemnation for those who are "in Christ" Jesus

1 Cor 1:30 Because of him that you are "in Christ", who has become for us wisdom from God that is, our righteousness, holiness & redemption

2 Cor 5:17 If anyone is "in Christ", he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come

Gal 3:26 You are all sons of God thru faith "in Christ"

Eph 2:
6 God raised us up with Christ & seated us with him in the heavenly realms "in Christ"

7 In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us "in Christ"

Eph 2:10 We are God's workmanship, created "in Christ"

Eph 2:13 Now "in Christ" you who once were far away have been brought near thru his blood

Eph 3:6 This mystery is that thru the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of 1 body, & sharers together in the promise "in Christ"

Col 1:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is "Christ in you", the hope of glory:

28 We proclaim him, teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect "in Christ"

1 Tim 1:14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith & love that "in Christ"

1 Tim 1:9 God saved us, & called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, according to his own purpose & grace, which was given us "in Christ" before the world began

2 Tim 2:1 My son, be strong in the grace that is "in Christ"

2 Tim 2:10 I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is "in Christ" Jesus, with eternal glory

1 Thess 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead "in Christ" will rise first

Eph 1:13 "In whom" ye also trusted (CHRIST), after that ye heard the word of truth (HIS REDEMPTIVE SIN ATONING SACRIFICE), the gospel of your salvation (1 Cor 15:1-4 & Rom 10:8-13) "in whom" also after that ye believed (WHEN U ACCEPTED GODS GRACE & PLACED UR FAITH IN CHRIST), ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (UR SALVATION WAS SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT)

Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
(NOTE: Earnest means deposit: When we trusted Christ, God placed/deposited His Holy Spirit "in us")

2 Cor 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
(NOTE: Christ gives/places His Holy Spirit "in us" as a down payment)

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
(NORE: The Holy Spirit we see in Eph 1:13 sealed us. And now & forever dwells "IN" us)

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
(NOTE: The Spirit of God dwells "INSIDE US")

2 Timothy 1:14 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
(NOTE: The Holy Spirit "SEAL" was/is committed to keep & protect us. Lives "INSIDE" us)

Believers "IN CHRIST" are SEALED: Forgiven, Reconciled, Justified & Have Eternal Life.

Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete "in him" which is the head of all principality and power.
 

NayborBear

Senior Member
Dec 6, 2015
1,113
83
48
#19
Initially, a Christian was a "Christ Man!" As they were first called that in Antioch.

(some thoughts on the subject)

These days? Over two thousand years of traditions of men, struggling's, striving's, and persecutions?

I think Forrest Gump said it best! "Christianity" is like a box of chocalotes! You never KNOW "what" your going to get."

A Christian is forgiven, saved, and born again OF the Spirit! Even as the born again "part" of the Spirit, is as small as that grain of mustard seed.

Having said that, Miri. I would be "highly suspicious" of your friend's (?) comment concerning a pastor or two. It would seem that your friend, is not being "fed", and should consider finding some place, where she, or he, would not come to "realize" such a conclusion. Elstwise, she, or he, may be in danger, by remaining, of perpetuating, if not increasing a void where the Word of God fails, within her, or his own spirit. And this, would not be good for you, or him/her, or everyone else in that assembly!

What happened to myself, is a story akin to Deuteronomy's. I was baptized at 13 in the Church. But, as I grew older, both physically, and spiritually, I left that "church of stone", as I call them, when I started seeing and hearing things, that were not teachings of what I was understanding of "what is a Christian" all about. I was about ohhhh??? 15 er 16, I guess. (LONG time ago...lol) I have NEVER returned to any Church, as what one may consider a "Church Home." Gone to a church here, a church there, since then. But that was 25 years from when I initially left. Saying to myself, that "truly?" The ONLY person I CAN convert? Is myself!

I can tell you, that not being "surrounded" by a bunch of "traditions of men/women" makes for a pretty large "closet." Yet, the growth of the Word of God, and perfecting (maturing) in the Spirit? At least, for myself? Makes it well worth such seemingly "anti-social" behavior, in, or to those eyes, that "traditions of man", are so want to render a "Christian" into.

So? What is a Christian? Christians, are like "armpits!" :D Some smell more? Some smell less! But, for a surety? We ALL smell! :D:D:D:D
 

notuptome

Senior Member
May 17, 2013
12,370
924
113
#20
It is an age old dilemma. Many posing but few possessing. Head knowledge verses heart knowledge.

If they do not testify of a John 16:8-11 experience they are suspect at best. God must draw them to His Son Christ and Gods Holy Spirit must convince them in their heart that they must be saved or perish. Men do not get saved through mental ascent but by Holy Spirit conviction.

All men are born sinners and all Christians are born again or they are not Christians.

Mat 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.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

For the cause of Christ
Roger