Defining Christian

November 3, 2010

I saw this on AnnArbor.com. I commented there but you can watch it here:

If the question is, ‘what is a Christian?’ We need to start by defining terms. Terms have to be defined or they lose meaning. The term “Christian” means a lot of things to a lot of people. So let’s define it and then answer the question as to whether or not one can be a Christian and not believe in the Divinity of Christ (or the Virgin Birth etc).

I think the historic meaning of the word is most helpful. For most of church history, Christians have been defined by three Creeds: The Apostles Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Nicene Creed. These creeds were intended as boundaries that would defined the faith. All major church traditions still employ the Creeds for this same reason (although some have forgotten what the point of the Creeds were).

If we are going to use the word ‘Christian’ in the historical sense (which is what I think most people are getting at when they use the word), one cannot be a Christian and not believe in the Divinity of Christ (or the Virgin Birth for that matter). The Creeds clearly define these things.

By the way, the Scriptures are pretty clear that Jesus was God (the Son, the second Person in the Trinity). The gospels make this clear (e.g. John 1). Paul makes this clear (e.g. Colossians 2, Philippians2). The author of Hebrews makes this clear (Hebrews 1).

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