Christian suggestion

Amy Speed speed at PARADIGMTECH.COM
Mon Nov 8 20:33:04 UTC 1999

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

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