What life should a Christian live to be Christian?


(Mervin Bitikofer) #41

What happened to helping those who can’t repay you because that pleases the Father who will reward you in the end? Why should you think it commendable to help those who will give back? Even the [ fill in those you most loath here ] do that!

There is “sustainable” and then there is “sustainable”. It’s one thing to take care of yourself so that you can continue caring for others, but quite another to invoke it as a general platform from which to refuse help. Sooner or later, we have to trust God for our own sustenance as well. May God help us walk on that faith when the need arises. [that’s a serious prayer for myself more than anything.]


(Shaun) #42

Here’s another story. ( Not to argue. Maybe you are right. But I am not sure.)

I once joined a small group of people, 6-8 of which regularly gathered together to study the Bible, including myself. Around 30 other people would join occasionally.

Now I don’t know what I should call them. But it’s accurate to call them the Bible learners.

All of us talked about love a lot.

One of them only expected to be loved, never tried to help without you giving (paying) her something. She’s the most passionate. She had never missed the Bible study. I call her GirlA.

Another woman even cried every time she mentioned God. But she was not nice to anyone who disagreed with her.

Another girl would get angry if someone said something unscriptural.

Most of the rest came to study the Bible and have fun.
Later one of them got seriously sick. She asked me for help. She said if she asked GirlA for help, she must give her something, or she wouldn’t come. And I? She knew I would help and ask for nothing back. And she also knew if someone helped me and I accepted, I would give something back just to be fair.

Please tell me who’s less Christian? (If you call me the least, or not Christian at all, it’s fine.)


(Shaun) #43

:astonished: Loath? I don’t see loath in what I said. Maybe “not entirely agree” is more proper.


(Christy Hemphill) #44

I don’t think it’s a Christian exercise to go around judging other people’s actions and hearts. That’s God’s job.


#45

And maybe she was truly on a path of transformation and had been much nastier before…


#46

For me it’s helpful to distinguish between “Christ-follower” and “Christian,” since “Christian” has been reduced to some sort of cultural or social designation (e.g., “because I was born in North America from western European background and I’m not Muslim, I am Christian”).


#47

You are keeping a scorecard?


(Richard Wright) #48

Hello Mitchell,

Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead?

Whom exactly are you referring to here? I’m definitely against manipulating religious leaders, but did you have someone/something in mind, televangelists maybe?

Agreed.

What God do you believe in and how do you live by its rules? Would you say having sex before marriage is wrong? Is being involved in a homosexual relationship wrong? I’m just wondering how you live for God, “accordingly” if there is no specific God. Having been a Deist, for me it was just making up my own rules, which, of course, I thought were right in God’s eyes.

This seems to advocate relativism.

Don’t agree with this.

Nor this. The bible’s perspective is that God is obvious, but we need faith that God is a good god and he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Romans 1 and Hebrews 11, respectively).

Yes, and so do I, including against Christianity.

I’m sorry Mitchell, but this makes no sense whatsoever.


(Richard Wright) #49

Hello again Mitchell,

I wanted to have a separate post for this part.

What is doing good? I call myself a follower of Christ. I great part of the, “doing good” for me is reaching out and helping people come to the faith. Am I trying to curry God’s favor by doing that? That’s not why I do it, and that’s not how I think about it. I do it because one, people need God and two, I’m a servant of Christ and that’s one of the things that I’m called to do. Jesus said, “well done, good and faithful servant” who just did what he was supposed to do.

And I could say that about any, “good” things that I do, help a friend move, pay my bills on time, help someone with homework, pray with and/or for someone, server the poor and needy, etc. I don’ really know anyone who does good works to, “curry God’s favor”. But even if they did, what’s the matter with it? Is there too much, “doing of good” in the world?

I don’t see atheists as the enemy either. In fact, in debates vs. Christians (I’m into Youtube debates on spiritual matters right now) I sometimes vibe more with the atheist, especially when debating an ID rep.


(Mitchell W McKain) #50

Yes. In accordance with Paul in 1 Cor 15 Jesus was bodily resurrected not to a physical natural body but to a spiritual body which was more powerful and imperishable and therefore not bound by the laws of nature so that He could appear in a room without opening a door and then leave them to be with the Father.

No one specifically in mind and yet a great many people in mind for it covers an attitude which equates obedience to God to obedience to their own dictates as they imagine that they speak for God. God can speak for Himself, thank you very much!

I believe in the God who chose love and freedom over power and control to create the self-organizing process of life and raised up children in mankind for an eternal relationship. I believe in the God who demonstrated His choice of love and freedom over power and control by becoming a helpless human infant to grow up among us and even die at our hands, so that we might understand God is not responsible for our predicament – we are. For there is nothing God would not do to bring us back to Him. However, despite our usual magical thinking not everything can be accomplished by mere power and our redemption is not simply a matter of God waving his hand. We have to change all the way to our core - our heart - to embrace life by doing what life requires, namely shedding the self-destructive habits of sin.

rules??? Me thinks you have shown your hand. Do you seek a righteousness based on law and rules like Moses and the Pharisees then?

Would you say that working and healing the sick on the Sabbath is wrong?

By the way… however… I did not have sex before marriage. Did you? But regardless I don’t obsess and get all self righteous about such things. I have plenty of sins on my plate, so I will be casting no stones at anyone.

No more so than being in a heterosexual relationship. If it is about sexual preference, as if people were only so many flavors of ice cream, then that is real problem right there – NOT that someone has chosen the wrong flavor according to you.

Certainly not by following the rules that you want to dictate as the mouthpiece of God. That is for sure!

There is only one God. And He is not your God, or my God, or the muslim’s god, or the sky god of the Arrernte. Though that one God no doubt has inspired all the various beliefs of people including you and me.

I have never been a Deist. But I have learned that even if you do make up your own rules, you still cannot live by them – not without continually moving the bar.

I am an not so sure that has changed all that much. I think you are still making up rules which you imagine are right in God’s eyes, even if you have come up with better excuses for doing so.


(Mitchell W McKain) #51

How about a little Bible study? … from Isaiah chapter one.

11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of he-goats.

12 “When you come to appear before me,
who requires of you
this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread forth your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
defend the fatherless,
plead for the widow.

Your religious works are all very nice, I am sure. But no… I would not say that can entirely be equated with doing good. That is more like following your own interests and hobbies.

It is if you think you deserve something for doing so, and it sounds to me that you do, for you have envisioned Jesus saying “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Am I not the same? No, I am not.

Obviously, I think you do. Anything the matter with it? No. Too much doing good in the world? No, certainly not. For whatever reason people do good, I cannot begrudge it. I give that my thumbs up, just as I would whatever religion or faith helps people get through their day.

The point I was making, is that it is not quite the same as doing good for its own sake. For example, helping people because you care about their well being. And those who do this, without any thought of God patting them on the head for it, can be said to be a closer match to a righteousness based on faith and having the law of God written on their hearts.

Great, then you can see how I might side with the atheist sometimes.


#52

Sounds like obedience to me.


(Shaun) #53

No scorecard. I’m still confused. People who call themselves Christians are so different. But which one is a “true” Christian? I want to find the way for myself.


(Shaun) #54

In reality, the good people often ignore the precondition that the people you help should not become aggressive.

If they are not aggressive, everything is fine. But if they become aggressive, they demand you to care/love/help them, if you refuse, they call you a hater to hate you and fight you, if they don’t think you serve them well enough, they call you cruel, inhumane, heartless, they may even force you to serve them, then, the reality will provoke you to think again. For that reason, I only help those who are not aggressive and truly need help and would appreciate my help no matter how little it is. And I demand no obedience. I do not preach. I do not expect anything back either though I always give something back if someone helps me. If someone tries to force me to help, I will treat it as an aggression. Life has taught me so many lessons.


(Mitchell W McKain) #55

No such thing. If someone starts talking about being a “true Christian,” then it time to start looking elsewhere already.

Exactly! Find the way for yourself, or rather find the way that God is leading you. He is the savior. The rest of us, Christian or otherwise, are all blind guides.

Here is an analogy and an image for you. It like we have all fallen into a deep dark and very narrow crack in the world. To be sure we all want to get out, and occasionally someone will get a glimpse of the light above and yell “follow me, I can see the way.” But is that really helpful? We have to look for the next foothold or handhold on cliff we hanging onto, how can someone behind us or below us yelling “follow me” be helpful in any way? We do better to look for the light ourselves when we can, or at least work against the gravity (sin) which is pulling us down.

Another point of this image is that down in the crack it looks like all is darkness everywhere and there is only one tiny light above. And indeed there may be only one way for us to go, and thinking that we can just choose among the ways that everybody else is taking will definitely get us in trouble. But if we could just get out of this thing we have fallen into, we will see that the real truth is that the light (i.e. God) is not a small thing far away, but it really infinite and in all direction. At that point, we will not have just one way but an endless number of ways because God is everywhere, and big enough to embrace everything we could choose, but only after we have left the darkness (sin and evil) behind us.

This reminds me of the new Day of the Triffids TV mini-series where most people have become blind and the few people who can see are mobbed but those who cannot, demanding that they be helped. It was like a freaking zombie apocalypse. But the only thing making them act like zombies is this absurd sense of entitlement. I tell you that would not be behaving that way. Instead I would be doing my best to make the adjustment to the lack of sight, so that I could help myself.


(Richard Wright) #56

Hello Mitchell,

This is not true and can be easily demonstrated with John 20:27:

"Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'"

True, but there are people who’s role is to publicly preach the word. Most of them aren’t charlatans.

I pretty much vibe with this and it’s paragraph, my addition being that being a Christian is a more than merely repenting.

This I agree with.

I’m not sure what you saying here, and I wasn’t casting stones at anyone, just trying to see what you believed as a, “theist”. It doesn’t make a difference what I think, Jesus is clear that sexual immorality is a sin, and that’s one of my beefs with most of Christianity, if I attempted to call someone out for immorality, it’s be literally heretical, while Paul said it was reason for disfellowship.

He IS my God, as He was Paul’s God, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:8). He sent his son to die for my sins and I have a relationship with Him through Jesus’ blood.

If you’re saying that all faiths speak for God in some way, Jesus wouldn’t agree: "All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them." (John 10:8). Even in the Christian world there are IMO beliefs that aren’t inspired by God.

Well, my bar was pretty low, believe me!


(Mitchell W McKain) #57

What is not true? Anyone can read 1 Cor 15 for themselves. Or are you saying that Paul lied? What is not true?

  1. Paul did say that the resurrection (speaking both of Christ and us) is a bodily resurrection not to a physical natural body but to a spiritual body.
  2. Paul did say that the spiritual body is more powerful and imperishable.
  3. Jesus did appear in a room without opening a door.
  4. Jesus did leave them to be with the Father in that same body. Or are you suggesting that Jesus died again to go to the Father?
  5. The laws of nature make us perishable. The laws of nature make it impossible to appear in a room without opening a door. The laws of nature make it impossible to simply up and go see God for ourselves.

While you make this a reason to say Paul is wrong, I do not. Paul is speaking at length and with precision about the nature of the resurrection. Jesus is simply saying a few words to calm the fears of His disciples that He is not one of these dead spirits known as ghosts. Paul says it all in 1 Cor 15, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life giving spirit.” Nothing about the resurrected Jesus had anything whatsoever to do with death. He was life personified… perfected… empowered… glorified… imperishable… eternal - like God, who is and was, and always will be SPIRIT!

In fact, I can do even better in arguing against what Paul said. But I am not interested in looking for an excuse to reject and ignore the words of Paul. I am more interested in finding a reconciliation of the words of Jesus and Paul to understand the complete truth and the message of the WHOLE Bible.

Luke 24:39 “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

So Paul says in 1 Cor 15:45 that Jesus became a life-giving spirit and in 1 Cor 15:50, that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” While Jesus says he has flesh and bones unlike a spirit. Contradiction? Well the usual solution to problems like this is to look at the context. Paul is explaining the nature of the resurrection and Jesus is seeking to calm the fears of the apostles. So if we want to understand the nature of the resurrection, to which of these should we go? The answer is clear that we should go to Paul in 1 Cor 15. But then how should we understand Jesus in Luke 24:39 and John 20:27? The resurrected Jesus is nothing like the spirits of the dead. The resurrected Jesus is something nobody has ever seen before. Jesus as Paul explains is a “life-giving spirit.” While all the spirits people have seen before are of those who are spiritually dead. The resurrected Jesus is in fact like God who is spirit – the greater and ultimate reality than anything we will ever see in the physical world.

They are not the savior. They are not the source of salvation. They are not God. They are in fact sinners. If they say they are without sin, they are a liar. They are blind guides. All of them – every single one of them. How not with those logs in their eyes?

No… I am saying that NONE of them do. Just because somebody inspires us to do something, doesn’t mean we are doing what they want us to do.


(Richard Wright) #58

Hello Mitchell again,

It seems that you and I, and I would say Jesus, have very different ideas of what being a Christian is. Here are some passages to show that we are called to be purposeful followers of Christ:

[JESUS CALLS US TO BE HIS DISCIPLES]

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,"

[HAVE TO DENY OURSELVES AND PUT JESUS FIRST IN OUR LIVES]

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-7)

"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34)

[EARLIEST CHURCH MADE DISCIPLES AS IN Acts 6:1 (and in other places)]

"In those days when the number of disciples was increasing,"

CHRISTIAN IS JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR DISCIPLE , as Luke said in Acts 11:26]

"The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch."

Then what Paul and the others in the New Testament did were hobbies. I’m sorry, Mitchell, but that’s laughable. My hobbies are writing and golfing. My purpose is to glorify God and make disciples.

I don’t think I deserve anything but, “to be beaten with many blows”. I do what I do because Jesus calls me to do and and my inspiration is that Jesus died on the cross for my sins.

This is theologically off. The whole New Testament is about pleasing God, even Jesus tried to please his father, and Paul taught people how to live in order to please God in 1 Thessalonians 4:1:

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living.”

@beaglelady
Also, there is obedience involved in authentic Christianity. Jesus was obedient to the Father, and we are to follow his example, and many passages state this such as:

"Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word." (John 8:55)

"Jesus replied, 'Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'" (John 14:23)

"Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!" (Acts 5:29)

"'We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.'” (Acts 5:32)


(Mitchell W McKain) #59

Agreed.

I find the idea of any of us adding to the glory of God to be absurd.

I do not recognize any authority in either you or the pope.

As I told another participant recently, the moment someone starts talking about “true (or authentic) Christianity” is the time to start looking elsewhere.


#60

You’ll probably beat me with your tire iron for this, but what about Glory to God in the highest? Beat up the angels also.

And JS Bach wrote Soli Deo Gloria on every piece he wrote, even the secular pieces.