Since the topic came up… what is a Christian?
I’m going to go in a slightly different direction than what you expect. Because I think it explains something that most Christians understand, but few can put into words.
Among the Chassids is a group called the Lubavitch. There is a part (not all) of the Lubavitchers that believe the last Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was the Messiah. The Lubavitch refer to those who hold this belief with a Yiddish tense of the Hebrew word for Messiah – Moshiakh. The name in Yiddish sounds like Mosheikist. In Hebrew, it would be pronounced Moshekhim. In many parts of Israel among Ashkenazim Jews, it would be Mosh’keim.
How would you say Mosheikist in Koine Greek? Well Mashach is Christos so… Christianos. Christian.
Are the Lubavitch Christians? No. They’d be the FIRST to agree with me.
They worship the wrong Christ, the wrong Messiah.
“Yechi ADonaynu, Moraynu Rabonaynu, Melech Ha’moshiach, l’olam vayed!” Long Live our Master, our Teacher, and our Rabbi, King Messiah, for ever and ever is what the Masheikhists sing.
I agree with the statement, but I’m telling you, it should only be sung to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The issue – should EVERYONE who names the name of Christ be called a Christian?
If you do not accept the Trinity, you cannot be called a Christian. Jesus said most specifically that “Unless ye believe I am He, Ye will die in your sins.”
If you do not accept that Jesus Christ is one-third of the Trinity, you are not a Christian.
If you do not believe he died on the cross and rose again bodily on the third day… you are not a Christian.
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. Acts 11:25-26 (KJV)
It’s well known and often taught that the term Christian was a derogatory term. The other Jews would have waved a dismissive hand and muttered, “Ah, those are just those crazy Mashiekhists!” and perhaps cracked a derogatory joke or two about those crazy Jews and the few Gentiles that hung around with them, believing in that Yeshua guy from Galilee, thinking He rose from the dead! What nonsense!!!
The Christians at Antioch were saved. They were all born again. They all had entered into believer’s Baptism, because Baptism in those days was ALWAYS done correctly, by full immersion. Sprinkling was a much later invention, and the apostasy of sprinkling infants had not yet happened. They all believed in the Trinity. They all believed Jesus Christ was Lord and Messiah, one third of the Trinity. They all believed in the Bible was the inspired, preserved word of God, and took it literally. They all believed there was no other way to salvation than through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They all believed in Salvation by Grace alone and not of works, lest any man should boast. They believed in a literal heaven and a literal hell. They believed that rejecting this offer and refusing to be born again condemned one to a literal Hell and literal Hellfire for all eternity. They all believed in a coming return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His followers in the event known as the Rapture, and eventually His physical return WITH His saints in the event we call today the Second Coming.
If you do not believe as they did, you cannot be called what they were called. You’re not a Christian.
What are you? Lost. Lost as a goose. Condemned to a literal eternity in Hell, suffering torment for all eternity. Devastating, but true.
Were there early groups of people who called themselves Christians who did not believe the same? Yes, they were. Did they call themselves Christians? Yes, they did. Are they suffering at this very moment? Yes, they are. Because if you don’t believe as above, odds are you are not a christian.
It was pointed out that many people do not believe in the pre-trib Rapture, and the person pointing it out challenged I cannot claim they are not Christians because of that. Fair enough, but I’ll point out that most people who do not believe in the Pre-trib Rapture also hold to other beliefs that are heretical, and symptoms they cannot be saved. Not all of them, true. I’ll concede that.
But as for the rest, if you deny any of those, you are not a christian. You are not saved. I’ll concede to Believer’s Baptism as well, as that’s not a crucial “If you ddon’t believe this you’re going to Hell.”
The rest of them? Crucial.
Now, it has been claimed I have redefined what the word Christian means. Well, I think that the usage in Acts 11 shows the Jewish cultural application and definition. By examining what the early Christians in Antioch believed (simple to do, as Paul was there and all we have to do is read Paul’s Epistles), we can see the Bible is giving, in this First Usage of the word, a definition for it.
- Belief in the Bible as inerrant, and inspired word for word, letter for letter by God
- Belief in one God revealed in three persons, the Triune Godhead, God the Father, God the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit
- Belief that there is no other way to salvation except through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and Ressurection
- Belief that there is Salvation in no other name other than Jesus Christ (with an acknowledgement of the pronunciation of that name in other languages such as Iesus, Yeshua, etc.)
- belief in a literal heaven and a literal hell
- belief that rejection of the Gospel leads to an eternity of suffering in a literal Hell and eventually in the lake of fire
- belief in Salvation by Grace alone as a gift of God and not of works, lest any man should boast
- Belief in the eventual literal return of Jesus Christ for his saints at the Rapture, and eventually a physical, visible return of Jesus Christ
These were what Paul taught. This is what the Bible teaches. If you don’t like it, go argue with the author of the Bible. That would be God. Tell Him you have disagreements with His definitions of who and what a Christians.
Can you believe man is a god, and be a Christian? No.
Can you believe that Jesus is just an Angel, and be a Christian? No.
Can you believe Jesus was just a good man and a good teacher? No.
Can you believe he didn’t raise from the dead, and be a Christian? No.
Can you maintain, as YOUR religion’s “Yechi”, the phrase “as man now is, God once was. As God now is, Man May Become”? If you truly believe that… you diminish the godhood of Jesus Christ. You do not believe that Jesus is God, and therefore… you are not saved. You are not a Christian.
Can you believe Satan and Jesus are half-brothers and be Christian? No.
Will I acknowledge your definition of a Christian if it differs from that presented in the Bible? As a Bible believing Fundamentalist Christian, my answer would be, “not only no, but…no.”
Are Mormons Christians? They worship a different Jesus, not the Jesus of the Bible, but a non-virgin born son of a god called Elohim who has a body, and is the half brother of Satan, the devil.
Kind of like the Lubavitch. They worship the wrong messiah. They wouldn’t call themselves Christians. If you’re not worshipping the right Jesus Christ, you’re not one of His. He requires His believers to repent, and to be born again. This new birth is described extensively in Romans and in the Gospel of John. I recommend a purchase of a King James Bible and study of that subject if you’re unfamiliar with it, and have never experienced it.
Because you cannot go to heaven unless you have. And if you’re not going to heaven, where according to the Bible will you go?
It’s not a positive subject, but it’s exactly how the Lord Jesus Christ put it.
1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:1-5 (KJV)
19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Luke 16:19-31 (KJV)
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3 (KJV)
If that is how my Lord spoke, that is how I must speak.