f The Wittenberg Door: What is a Christian?

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

What is a Christian?

What is a Christian? What do people mean to communicate when they profess to be Christians? How are sinners reconciled to an holy God; and why is it necessary? Wayne Mack illuminates six popular responses and juxtaposes the historical orthodox approach at Monergism. Here’s how he kicks it off:

What is a Christian? No other question is so surrounded with confusion or answered so variously. Ask ten different people this question and you will get five or six different answers. Here are six opinions which are commonly held about the essence of Christianity.

  1. “Well, I certainly am a Christian; I’m doing the best I can. I try to live by the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount.”

  2. “Most assuredly, I’m a Christian. If I’m not, I don’t know who is. My mother and father are very religious. I have an uncle who is a minister.”

  3. “Indeed I am. I have always gone to church and Sunday School. I have been baptized and confirmed. I joined the church when I was fourteen.”

  4. “I know I’m a Christian because when the evangelist gave the invitation I went to the front and made a decision for Christ. My counselor showed me that if I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour, I would never be lost again. I didn’t want to be lost—hell is a terrible place—so I accepted Jesus, and I know now that no matter what happens, God will never reject me. I know it because I went to the altar and professed faith in Jesus Christ.”

  5. “I don't don’t know if I am, and I don’t see how anyone can really know for sure in this life. I guess I’ll just have to wait until I die to find out.”

  6. “Sure, I’m a Christian. Isn’t everybody? Isn’t God the Father of all men? We may be going by different roads, but all of these roads lead to the same place. It doesn’t really matter what you believe, just so you are sincere—everyone who is sincere in his own religion is a Christian.”

These and many other answers have all been given to the question, “What is a Christian?” Who is right? Are any of these answers right? Can we know what it means to be a Christian, or must we be forever uncertain? Well, if we look to the human mind, to human opinion for the answer we will flounder in a sea of uncertainty. One man has as much right to his opinion as another. But, if we look to and are willing to submit to God’s Word, our confusion may be dispersed.

You can read the answer to each question here.

--The Deacon

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