Christian suggestion

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Tue Nov 9 00:30:32 UTC 1999

4409 Copperhill Drive, Okemos MI 48864

>I was in church yesterday with a friend; I am a regular attendee of this
>Assemblies of God church, and my friend has a Catholic and Christian
>Orthodox background. The bulletin advertised a membership class that
>believers may attend. My friend expressed interest in attending the class,
>and I said, "It says there that the class is for believers." He said, "I'm a
>believer." I replied, "What they really mean is if you're saved." To me, a
>believer was a person who is saved. Of course, the word "saved" opens
>another can of worms, but while our theological definitions of "believer"
>differ, he agrees that "saved" does not mean "believer," and he recognizes
>that he is not saved. Far be it from me to discourage him from attending the
>membership class; I only wanted him to understand what the bulletin meant.
>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

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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