born-again (was Christian suggestion)

Greg Pulliam greg at PULLIAM.ORG
Mon Nov 8 22:10:45 UTC 1999

This is the way I have experienced what we used to call "born-again"
Christians using the term "Christian" lately, also.  When these folks
use the term "Christian," they are excluding members of a vast number
of mainstream denominations--Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans,
most Catholics.

Does anyone use the term "born-again Christian" anymore, or did that
go out with President Carter?  By appropriating the more general term
only for themselves, the Christians-formerly-known-as-born-again
(CFKABA?) have traded a relatively descriptive (albeit kind of
silly-sounding) moniker for a less-descriptive one, possibly in the
hope of having their particular brand of Christianity come to be seen
by the public at large as the default version.

I don't usually fight these sorts of word battles, but I think I'm
going to do what I can in my little corner of the world to hold on to
the term "Christian" for mainstreamers, too.

>This relates to the current Christianity topics because in many sects of
>Christianity, you will find that people will define a Christian only as
>someone who is saved. For example, a former Catholic schoolmate of mine told
>me that one does not have to be Catholic to be Christian. I replied that
>being Catholic does not automatically make one a Christian. He disagreed
>with me, of course, but my definition differed from his in that being a
>church member (any church) does not make one a Christian. By my definition,
>Christianity is not something you are born into, such as Judaism or Islam.
>Now, the definition of "saved," I'm sure, varies quite a lot between belief
>systems. However, it seems that most people recognize the traditional
>meaning: one must believe that Jesus Christ is God's son who died for
>humankind's lost souls and rose from the grave; one must accept Jesus Christ
>into one's life and surrender control to Him; one must confess sins and
>display genuine repentance for them.
>Does anyone know of instances where that definition is not accepted?
>-----Original Message-----
>From: David Bergdahl <bergdahl at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU>
>Date: Monday, November 08, 1999 12:15 PM
>Subject: Re: Christian suggestion
>  >The anecdote about Christian business practices reminds me of an
>  >experience I had teaching  Conrad's Heart of Darkness my first
>  >year--1963--and we naturally explored what it meant for Marlow the
>  >interior narrator of the tale to be compared to the Buddha.  One student
>  >volunteered that just because he was a Buddhist that that  didn't mean
>  >that he wasn't a Christian.  I explained that the Buddhists wouldn't
>  >probably object to dual loyalties but that Christians certainly would. .
>  >. but what I didn't understand was that for her Christian merely meant
>  >"ethical person" and had little if any identification with any
>  >institution.  In this manner the beginning teacher learns not to confuse
>  >dictionary citations with what people mean. . .
>  >____________________________________________________________________
>  >David Bergdahl
>  >tel:  (740) 593-2783
>  >366 Ellis Hall     Ohio University  Athens, Ohio 45701-2979       fax:
>  >(740) 593-2818


greg at

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