T Nation

Defining a 'True Christian'?


The topic of this thread should be fairly obvious, but I've found that it's often not.

What is a "True Christian"?

By "True Christian" I'm asking for beliefs, actions, once saved - always saved, believe in immaculate conception, belief in the word only, etc, that would make up the ideal human believer that Jesus would approve of. I say 'human' to try to get around the definition that runs similar to 'there are no true christians, only people attempting to be true christians' (or something similarly phrased). Also, please no vague 'a Christian is someone who follows Jesus', while technically accurate, I don't think it's a very helpful definition.

BTW - I have no dog in this fight, I'd wager that by most (if not all) standards I am not a true Christian.

This thread was inspired by the various factions that I've witnessed in the forum and I thought it might make for a good discussion.


I'm not either according to every "true christian" that has ever confronted me on the issue, but by experience I would have to guess that it is the first person to levy the accusation that the other is not.

edit: I never could get that raising of the hands thing or crying in public down. I think that may be why I've been pegged by so many as "not a true christian". Apparently if you can't do those, you are spiritually dead.


I realize that you are not being very serious with this particular bit of your response, but it got me thinking...


Do you have to have a spiritual experience in order to be a Christian?

By spiritual I mean something a little more then 'awe' of X. So, maybe like seeing the spirit of Jesus, or experiencing a miracle, or something like a 'mystical feeling' that you were convinced was the Holy Spirit. Basically an experience that you (the believer) would say that you could not have without the Holy Spirit (or God/Jesus).


Actually, I'm quite serious.

My brother is not a true christian either for after having broken his neck, he obstinantly refused to get up and walk after a laying of the healing hands.

Had nothing to d with a severed spine, It was just him refusing to accept the spirit.

That was from True Christians.


My definition:

Definition of most Christians:


When I was in jail, Jesus came to me in a dream/vision. It was really vivid. Real or not it affected me for the better.


Pretty simple actually:
1. Accept Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives
2. Read and know the Bible
3. Share the Gospel
4. Strive to lead a God pleasing life
5. Repeat steps 1-4 as necessary


May I offer an apology on behalf of humanity?


By this rule, wouldnt all christians have to be fluent in Hebrew? Also culturally fluent as to really understand what the writings meant?




I would say, though this may not be the case for everyone, is that you know you're born again when you struggle with sin. By that I mean, you become aware of what your sins are, and though they may bring pleasure to the flesh, a battle rages in you to overcome it. This struggle though is constant however and will always be there. Hence the term, fighting the good fight.

I struggle(d) with pornography. No doubt it brings pleasure to the flesh, but the spirit within me knows its wrong. When I wasn't born again, I said "well Im a guy with needs and its natural". How wrong I was. Eventually I began to feel bad for watching it. Something inside me said to stop.

I st


Not really necessary, but I appreciate the sentiment. I don't hold Christianity as a whole responsible for actions like that, just the people who do them.

A couple of episodes like that did teach me a quite a lot about religion vs. faith. In every church I've ever visited, there is alway the group who have the inside line on faith. They don't just read the bible, they know what it Really means. Any given persons interpretation is subject to Their scrutiny, because they have been given the gift of discernment, and no one else has (not even the pastor).

They also have the ability to quickly determine both the quality and quantity of someone elses faith, as if there were some meter or other type of indicator that only they and a select few others (not you) can see.


You don't have to know how to speak, read, and write Hebrew, but yes, you should have knowledge of what things in the Bible actually meant when written. Christians are only instructed to read and know one book. It shoudn't be that hard.


well its not easy to be christian but Jesus said that the road would be narrow and we would be tested as well. so we have to pray for strength beyond what is normal.


While I generally try to avoid such discussions, I will throw in my two cents.

The true Christian church would have to hold true to the teachings of Jesus and date back to the time of Jesus. Anything that is contradictory to Jesus's teachings is by definition not Chrisitan. Additionally, anything that was established after his death cannot be descended from Jesus. Rather, it is based on the teachings of Jesus.

The Catholic Church meets these criteria. One, the Catholic Church canonized the Christian Bible. Two, nothing in the teachings of the Cathecism of the Catholic faith is in conflict with the Bible. Three, all Catholic religious doctrine is directly traceable to the teachings of Jesus. Four, according to Chapter 16 of Matthew, Jesus established His Church upon the Rock, Peter. He gave Peter the "keys" to the Church. Even according to secular historians, Peter was the first Pope of the Catholic Church.

Antecdotally, with all the corruption, horrendous deeds, and failures of the humanity that makes up the Catholic Church, it is hard to argue that such a formalized organization can only survive through the grace of God.

In short, read the Cathecism, and you will have your answer.



"...What is a 'True Christian'?
By 'True Christian' I'm asking for beliefs, actions, once saved - always saved, believe in immaculate conception, belief in the word only, etc, that would make up the ideal human believer that Jesus would approve of..."

In John 3:1-8, Jesus discusses one of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith: regeneration (Tit. 3:5) or spiritual birth. Without the new brith one cannot see the kingdom of God, i.e., receive eternal life and salvation through Jesus Christ which is necessary in being a "True Christian." The following are important facts concerning regeneration.

(1) Regeneration is a re-creating and tranformation of the person (Rom. 12:2) by God the Holy Spirit (Jn. 3:6). Thriough this process eternal life from God Himself is imparted to the believer (Jn. 3:16), and he becomes a child of God (Jn. 1:12) and a new person (II Cor. 5:17). He no longer conforms to this world (Rom. 12:2), but is now created after God "in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:24).

(2) Regeneration is necessary because apart from Christ, all people, by their inherent natures, are sinners, incapable of obeying and pleasing God (Rom. 8:7-8).

(3) Regeneration comes to those who repent of their sin, turn to God (Mat. 3:2), and place personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour (Jn. 3:16).

(4) Regeneration involves a transition from an old life of sin to a new life of obedience to Jesus Christ (Heb. 5:9).

(5) The "True Christian" cannot make sin a habitual practice in his life (I Jn. 3:9). That is, one cannot remain a "True Christian" without a sincere desire and victorious endeavor to please God and to avoid evil (I Jn 1:5-7).

(6)Those who do live in immorality and follow the world's ways (I Jn. 2:15-16), whatever they profess, demonstrate that they are still unregenerated and children of Satan (I Jn. 3:6-10).

(7) Just as one can be born of the spirit by receiving the life of God, he can also extinguish that life by ungodly choices and unrighteous living, and hence, die spiritually. Scripture affirms, "if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die" (Rom. 8:13). Thus, sin and the refusal to follow the Holy Spirit extinguish the life of God in the soul of the Christian and causes spiritual death and exclusion from the kingdom of God (Heb. 6:4-6).

(8) Regeneration cannot be equated with physical birth, for the relationship of God with the Christian is a matter of spirit rather than flesh (Jn. 3:6). Hence, while the physical tie of a father and son can never be annulled, the father and son relationship which God desires with us is voluntary and not indissoluble during the Christian's probationary time on earth (Rom. 8:6a & 13a). The Christian's membership in God's family remains conditional on their faith in Christ throughout their earthly existence, demonstrated by a life of sincere obedience and love (Rom. 8:12-14).


Word, those guys sound like a rag tag bunch of assholes.


This is what I've been pointing out for a long time. I pointed this out after I came back from Mexico and most of the children and even adults couldn't read. It didn't make sense that being a Christian would require you to be able to read since literacy wasn't common in most of the population for most of the world and isn't really that common still today.


That's interesting because I just met 500 "Christians" who can't read. I've been reading the Bible for a long time, it's not really an "easy" book to understand. And, if it's so easy what is the four senses of the Bible?


I suppose they had committed much of the Bible to memory. There were many in Jesus' day that couldn't read, but still knew what the teachings and writings that were to become the Bible said. They studied it. They should be a motivation to many modern Christians that can read the Bible but choose not to. It's not really that difficult to understand either. God wouldn't have created a book of mystery and vagueness if he wanted to lead people to him.

I'll have to admit I don't know the four senses of the Bible. I was not raised Catholic, but I don't feel Catholic catechism is necessary to be a Christian. I was raised with Lutheran catechism, but I don't feel it necessary either.