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Author Topic: Where to draw the line?  (Read 3459 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 05, 2011, 09:16:55 PM »

Understanding that Orthodoxy is our standard by which we judge other beliefs, where do we decide when one is still a legitimate Christian or ceases being Christian altogether? I know many wouldn't hesitate to classify RC's, Anglicans, et al. as Christians and Mormons, JWs, etc. as not Christian, but clearly those that are not Orthodox are not Christian in the fullest sense of the term (though I do not think God abandons them at all) being in Christ's Church. Surely, different Churches within Orthodoxy have varying degrees of handling this when bringing in converts, however, this is not really where my focus is in this thread (though I acknowledge it playing an important role in the reception of those entering into the Church).

Where do we draw the line in saying who is a Christian and who is not? I am more inclined to be rather strict with the term Christian and reserve it only for the Orthodox. IIRC, this is how it is understood in Russia and other places, too, though not out of any triumphalism (I personally have nothing to be triumphalist about, being the sinner I am). I realize others will disagree with this, but this has been a lingering thought in my head that I thought deserved an honest discussion.  Smiley

What say you all?

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2011, 09:39:44 PM »

Sometimes I question some faiths, but ultimately, it is the LORD who draws the line. 
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2011, 09:48:04 PM »

I tend to extend it far wider, partially because I feel that restricting it too much unnecessarily alienates people. It's just a label, but when you tell someone who thinks that they're a Christian that they aren't, I think you're making it harder to help them enter the Church. They may think the Orthodox are closed minded, or that you are rude, or who knows what else. A principle I learnt a long time ago (as a Protestant, lol) is that we should talk to people about Christianity in such a way that, if they reject what we are saying, it's because they are rejecting the content and substance of our message, and not rejecting the message because of the bad delivery. I have not always applied this principle, and am sometimes a real jerk, but I think the idea is a good one. Sure, it's weak for someone to reject a message because of something like this (ie. witholding the title of Christian), but the fact is some people will go that route if it's available, so why not close it off? Why not deliver the truth in gentleness and love, and force them to face up to it?

Now, I suppose this is side stepping whether, say, Calvinists actually are Christians. But I'm not sure what criteria I would use to determine who is and isn't a Christian... just saying that only the Orthodox could be able to carry this distinction... I dunno...
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2011, 09:50:12 PM »

I grew up with a fair amount of Orthodox friends, and although once in a while we'd talk about our differences, not once did they ever call me not a Christian. They still don't do that.

This is the first place where I've seen that. It doesn't exactly give me a lot of hope.
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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011, 10:16:59 PM »

I tend to extend it far wider, partially because I feel that restricting it too much unnecessarily alienates people. It's just a label, but when you tell someone who thinks that they're a Christian that they aren't, I think you're making it harder to help them enter the Church. They may think the Orthodox are closed minded, or that you are rude, or who knows what else. A principle I learnt a long time ago (as a Protestant, lol) is that we should talk to people about Christianity in such a way that, if they reject what we are saying, it's because they are rejecting the content and substance of our message, and not rejecting the message because of the bad delivery. I have not always applied this principle, and am sometimes a real jerk, but I think the idea is a good one. Sure, it's weak for someone to reject a message because of something like this (ie. witholding the title of Christian), but the fact is some people will go that route if it's available, so why not close it off? Why not deliver the truth in gentleness and love, and force them to face up to it?

Now, I suppose this is side stepping whether, say, Calvinists actually are Christians. But I'm not sure what criteria I would use to determine who is and isn't a Christian... just saying that only the Orthodox could be able to carry this distinction... I dunno...
I don't disagree at all with what you're saying. I wouldn't go up to someone and say that ever. I'll be the first to admit that there are many outside of the Church who are much more deserving of salvation than myself.  Tongue I guess I was more saying what you said in your last sentence (though I am far from articulate enough to say so. I'm trying! Wink. I think it one philosophically looks at our differing sects look at and understand God, they will come to the conclusion that they worship a different God. Using the example of the Calvinists, I would say that they do indeed worship a different God (though I don't think they do so out of a willful ignorance or anything like that). Maybe it was Fr. Ambrose that said the God of the Calvinists was a monster. I can't say I disagree with that assessment.

Of course, this isn't for us to boast or gloat about, though many of us converts fall into that trap. I'd say much love and gentleness is needed in discussing the faith with those outside of the Church.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 10:48:39 PM »

I won't give some one the title of Christian if they do not believe in the Trinity, and that seems to make sense.
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« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 11:11:10 PM »

That's not our decision.
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2011, 11:59:45 PM »

Understanding that Orthodoxy is our standard by which we judge other beliefs, where do we decide when one is still a legitimate Christian or ceases being Christian altogether? I know many wouldn't hesitate to classify RC's, Anglicans, et al. as Christians and Mormons, JWs, etc. as not Christian, but clearly those that are not Orthodox are not Christian in the fullest sense of the term (though I do not think God abandons them at all) being in Christ's Church. Surely, different Churches within Orthodoxy have varying degrees of handling this when bringing in converts, however, this is not really where my focus is in this thread (though I acknowledge it playing an important role in the reception of those entering into the Church).

Where do we draw the line in saying who is a Christian and who is not? I am more inclined to be rather strict with the term Christian and reserve it only for the Orthodox. IIRC, this is how it is understood in Russia and other places, too, though not out of any triumphalism (I personally have nothing to be triumphalist about, being the sinner I am). I realize others will disagree with this, but this has been a lingering thought in my head that I thought deserved an honest discussion.  Smiley

What say you all?

In Christ,
Andrew
if the Orthodox Church can receive or historically has received one of the members of an ecclesial community by economia, receiving their baptism, they are Christian.  If not, no.
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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2011, 12:37:38 AM »

So without being received by economia, you aren't a Christian. Makes sense.
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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2011, 01:05:39 AM »

1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 4:15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.

1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2011, 01:20:20 AM »

In my opinion one does need to have an orthodox understanding of the Trinity to be called Christian. However, Protestants, I think, probably don't have an orthodox understanding of the Trinity because of their Sola Fide theology. As Orthodox Christians we believe that salvation comes through cooperating with the grace of God in the Holy Spirit. Protestants, OTOH, believe in justification by faith alone and thus, I feel, that they undermine the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I am willing to stand corrected, what do you all think? I mean no offence to my Protestant brethren when I say this, it's merely my own personal observation.

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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2011, 02:08:22 AM »

In my opinion one does need to have an orthodox understanding of the Trinity to be called Christian. However, Protestants, I think, probably don't have an orthodox understanding of the Trinity because of their Sola Fide theology. As Orthodox Christians we believe that salvation comes through cooperating with the grace of God in the Holy Spirit. Protestants, OTOH, believe in justification by faith alone and thus, I feel, that they undermine the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I am willing to stand corrected, what do you all think? I mean no offence to my Protestant brethren when I say this, it's merely my own personal observation.

God bless.
I think it depends. In the US at least, there are "Lordship Salvation" Protestants and "Free Grace" Protestants. Lordshipers believe that saving faith will always be accompanied by repentance and good works. So the role of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential (even though many of them are Calvinists who don't believe in free will so thus the Spirit sort of forces us a long).*

Free Gracers (often derided with the term, "easy-believeism") on the other hand, hold that one can be saved without repentance and that faith needs no accompanying works of any kind as evidence. One only needs intellectual belief in Christ or some kind of "decision" for Him, the Holy Spirit is unneeded.

So I think based on your criteria it would be; Calvinists of both kinds=nonchristian, Free Grace Arminians=nonchristian, Lordship Arminians=Christian since they're the only ones holding to some kind of synergeia.

*Most Calvinists would call this an oversimplification, I disagree. I think it cuts through the crap and arrives at what their teachings on the will really mean.
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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2011, 02:10:00 AM »

Understanding that Orthodoxy is our standard by which we judge other beliefs, where do we decide when one is still a legitimate Christian or ceases being Christian altogether? I know many wouldn't hesitate to classify RC's, Anglicans, et al. as Christians and Mormons, JWs, etc. as not Christian, but clearly those that are not Orthodox are not Christian in the fullest sense of the term (though I do not think God abandons them at all) being in Christ's Church. Surely, different Churches within Orthodoxy have varying degrees of handling this when bringing in converts, however, this is not really where my focus is in this thread (though I acknowledge it playing an important role in the reception of those entering into the Church).

Where do we draw the line in saying who is a Christian and who is not? I am more inclined to be rather strict with the term Christian and reserve it only for the Orthodox. IIRC, this is how it is understood in Russia and other places, too, though not out of any triumphalism (I personally have nothing to be triumphalist about, being the sinner I am). I realize others will disagree with this, but this has been a lingering thought in my head that I thought deserved an honest discussion.  Smiley

What say you all?

In Christ,
Andrew
if the Orthodox Church can receive or historically has received one of the members of an ecclesial community by economia, receiving their baptism, they are Christian.  If not, no.
But their baptism is just an empty form, is it not? How can they truly be called Christians if they're unbaptized?
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2011, 02:39:01 PM »

That's not our decision.

This^

There is no need to draw a line. Either people are "legitimate" Christians, or they are not. It's not any of our business. Our place is to stick to our guns and love others.
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« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2011, 02:59:45 PM »

Yes I tend to agree that it will be decided at the right time. I try and be inclusive in my treatment of others so as not to be contentious, while remaining cautious about what I do with my heart and hope for wisdom when interacting with people who might regularly make statements I don't consider to be the truth.

As a Protestant I have felt included by others who I now think must have been Orthodox, although I didn't know that at the time. It allowed me to figure out for myself that I was not in the place I needed to be.

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« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2011, 07:53:51 PM »

Understanding that Orthodoxy is our standard by which we judge other beliefs, where do we decide when one is still a legitimate Christian or ceases being Christian altogether? I know many wouldn't hesitate to classify RC's, Anglicans, et al. as Christians and Mormons, JWs, etc. as not Christian, but clearly those that are not Orthodox are not Christian in the fullest sense of the term (though I do not think God abandons them at all) being in Christ's Church. Surely, different Churches within Orthodoxy have varying degrees of handling this when bringing in converts, however, this is not really where my focus is in this thread (though I acknowledge it playing an important role in the reception of those entering into the Church).

Where do we draw the line in saying who is a Christian and who is not? I am more inclined to be rather strict with the term Christian and reserve it only for the Orthodox. IIRC, this is how it is understood in Russia and other places, too, though not out of any triumphalism (I personally have nothing to be triumphalist about, being the sinner I am). I realize others will disagree with this, but this has been a lingering thought in my head that I thought deserved an honest discussion.  Smiley

What say you all?

In Christ,
Andrew

I'd say the Nicene Creed first of all. If someone, or a group doesn't adhere to it, then they aren't Christian. (This means Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses aren't Christians. As well as any Nestorians and Arians)

Also by their behavior, in addition to some other teachings. Like Westboro Baptist, and KKK members are clearly not Christians.
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2011, 11:11:24 AM »


I'd say the Nicene Creed first of all. If someone, or a group doesn't adhere to it, then they aren't Christian. (This means Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses aren't Christians. As well as any Nestorians and Arians)


This.

This could be a tough pill to swallow, especially in the U.S. where the definition of Christian is quite broad and many of our friends and family adhere to different denominations.  A great temptation for pride, it is.  I tell myself I hope Protestants are right.  I hope you can be saved by just smallest amount of faith, without the Sacraments, without a strong interior life.  But the Church and the saints say otherwise just as Christ did.  If the faith, spirituality, and religious practice does not lead to salvation, then I'm not sure I can call it Christian.
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2011, 01:59:27 PM »

Understanding that Orthodoxy is our standard by which we judge other beliefs, where do we decide when one is still a legitimate Christian or ceases being Christian altogether? I know many wouldn't hesitate to classify RC's, Anglicans, et al. as Christians and Mormons, JWs, etc. as not Christian, but clearly those that are not Orthodox are not Christian in the fullest sense of the term (though I do not think God abandons them at all) being in Christ's Church. Surely, different Churches within Orthodoxy have varying degrees of handling this when bringing in converts, however, this is not really where my focus is in this thread (though I acknowledge it playing an important role in the reception of those entering into the Church).

Where do we draw the line in saying who is a Christian and who is not? I am more inclined to be rather strict with the term Christian and reserve it only for the Orthodox. IIRC, this is how it is understood in Russia and other places, too, though not out of any triumphalism (I personally have nothing to be triumphalist about, being the sinner I am). I realize others will disagree with this, but this has been a lingering thought in my head that I thought deserved an honest discussion.  Smiley

What say you all?

In Christ,
Andrew

I'd say the Nicene Creed first of all. If someone, or a group doesn't adhere to it, then they aren't Christian.
So there were no Christians until A.D. 325.
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« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2011, 02:09:03 PM »

I usually draw the line with a Trinitarian view of God and an orthodox Christology. Every once in a while an extremely weird topic will come up and I will use the words "not Christian", but that is rare and used when discussing things like reincarnation, pre-existence of the human soul, or something really out there like that. Even then I don't mean it as an insult (the word "Christian" was originally an insult), only to say that I would qualify that particular belief (even then referring to the belief and not the person) as being particularly foreign to Christanity. I generally don't hesitate to accept my Protestant friends as Christians but at the same time acknowledge differences in belief.

Something else to think about is that we should spend less time thinking about how others are not Christian and more time proclaiming that we are.

The newly departed +Dmitri of Dallas converted with his sister back in the 40s. When converting, he asked for a blessing to do so from his mother. She asked him "do they believe Jesus is Lord?" to which he replied "of course they do". This basic element of our faith shouldn't be such a secret, but should be our "main attraction".
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« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2011, 03:58:40 PM »

How about this: If you are Orthodox, you are Christian because you follow all the teachings of Christ and have the true beliefs.
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« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2011, 04:52:21 PM »

I'd say the Nicene Creed first of all. If someone, or a group doesn't adhere to it, then they aren't Christian. (This means Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses aren't Christians. As well as any Nestorians and Arians)
There's really nothing in the Nicene Creed against Nestorianism.
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« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2011, 05:24:41 PM »

I'd say the Nicene Creed first of all. If someone, or a group doesn't adhere to it, then they aren't Christian.
So there were no Christians until A.D. 325.
The Councils did not create doctrine. They affirmed and codified it. The Creed encapsulates the beliefs that the Church then and now holds firm. Christians before AD 325 definitely believed what the Creed states. They just didn't have that exact wording with which to express it.
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« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2011, 05:29:25 PM »

Sometimes I question some faiths, but ultimately, it is the LORD who draws the line.  

I've heard it said that most all Chrisitian religions have elements of the truth but we believe we have all the elements of truth.  So, by degree, there are Christians and there are Christians.....I guess.

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« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2011, 05:52:44 PM »

I'd say the Nicene Creed first of all. If someone, or a group doesn't adhere to it, then they aren't Christian.
So there were no Christians until A.D. 325.
The Councils did not create doctrine. They affirmed and codified it. The Creed encapsulates the beliefs that the Church then and now holds firm. Christians before AD 325 definitely believed what the Creed states. They just didn't have that exact wording with which to express it.
I'm not sure if the pre-325 Christians would have necessarily acknowledged that the Son was specifically begotten, and the Spirit, specifically proceeded, from the Father.
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« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2011, 07:01:40 AM »

I'd say the Nicene Creed first of all. If someone, or a group doesn't adhere to it, then they aren't Christian.
So there were no Christians until A.D. 325.
The Councils did not create doctrine. They affirmed and codified it. The Creed encapsulates the beliefs that the Church then and now holds firm. Christians before AD 325 definitely believed what the Creed states. They just didn't have that exact wording with which to express it.
I'm not sure if the pre-325 Christians would have necessarily acknowledged that the Son was specifically begotten, and the Spirit, specifically proceeded, from the Father.
I'm sure. But I agree that they might not have known which words to use. That was the work of the Councils to clarify the beliefs and provide words for those definitions (or at least define those beliefs in words that already existed).
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« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2011, 07:42:53 AM »

Sometimes I question some faiths, but ultimately, it is the LORD who draws the line. 
I have to go this route. It is such a headache for me to think about it. I was in an Episcopalian church this past weekend and all I could do was think about their beliefs and whether they were "in the lines" or not. I don't want to say that you must ONLY be Orthodox to be a Christian, but I don't know where to draw the line, either. I'm trying not to think about it and pay attention to my own spiritual life (or lack thereof) at the moment.
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« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2011, 07:33:44 PM »

Sometimes I question some faiths, but ultimately, it is the LORD who draws the line. 
I have to go this route. It is such a headache for me to think about it. I was in an Episcopalian church this past weekend and all I could do was think about their beliefs and whether they were "in the lines" or not. I don't want to say that you must ONLY be Orthodox to be a Christian, but I don't know where to draw the line, either. I'm trying not to think about it and pay attention to my own spiritual life (or lack thereof) at the moment.
That's probably the best route.
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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2011, 09:14:40 AM »

Understanding that Orthodoxy is our standard by which we judge other beliefs, where do we decide when one is still a legitimate Christian or ceases being Christian altogether?

It is out of my respect for the Orthodox faith that I am surprised this question was asked. In my humble understanding it is not anyones place to 'judge' or 'decide' that sir. I think God reserves that for Himself. Weather someone should be 'considered' -in a man's opinion- might be a more practical question but even then..?

This is a partial quote from a Serbian Orthodox from Kosovo I was having a conversation with not long ago:
"In my understanding, you hit the core of what the Church teaches us, the new commandment that Christ gives to us to love one another. It is not for us to judge and despise one another. In my view though, I think that differences between Christian groups are more profound and not simply cultural differences Orthodoxy in fact encourages the expression of faith in all cultures--heterogeneity is not a threat . Differences in dogma also can have very profound implications. Being Orthodox, for me, means that I cannot turn away from the teachings of the Church because I see the beauty of Truth in them, but I also must try to avoid looking down on those who are searching for Truth in their own way. Peace to you."

Not sure if that helps answer your question or not and I include the quote for who am I to try and say...  Wink

Peace & Grace!
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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2011, 10:02:38 AM »

However, Protestants, I think, probably don't have an orthodox understanding of the Trinity because of their Sola Fide theology..... Protestants, OTOH, believe in justification by faith alone and thus, I feel, that they undermine the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives......  I mean no offence to my Protestant brethren when I say this, it's merely my own personal observation.


It's kinda hard to take offence when you follow it up with 'brethren'  Smiley Then again considering the OP that might be a contradiction in terms LOL

All kidding aside that is only partially true sir. It is a fact that many teach 'by faith alone' often being shouted from rooftops at that. It is not all inclusive amongst Protestant sects however. It is my humble opinion (and many others) 'sola fide' is one of the most dangerous misconceptions taught by Christianity.

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A prayer I heard in an Orthodox sermon a couple years ago, and one I have held close to my heart ever since.
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« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2011, 04:27:07 AM »

Saying someone is not a Christian is not judging them.  Saying that, because they are not a Christian, they are going to Hell is judgement.  Having a definition for a word is not.
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« Reply #30 on: December 09, 2011, 08:54:41 AM »

In life, there are a lot of places where we need to make arbitrary distinctions for things to function, and I think this is one of them. I think the Nicene creed is probably a good place to draw the line.
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« Reply #31 on: December 09, 2011, 09:21:09 AM »

Where's the line?

Christ said: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another".  So you should be able to tell by the love they have for each other.

 
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« Reply #32 on: December 09, 2011, 10:27:34 AM »

Saying someone is not a Christian is not judging them.  Saying that, because they are not a Christian, they are going to Hell is judgement.  Having a definition for a word is not.

In the context you speak, I respect, and certainly can agree. I should remind myself that I am in the front row of sinners and fools, so easily confused by semantics. In the context of this post are we defining a word or a person's 'proclaimed' faith? The OP'r said accurately that atheist, Muslims, Jews and any of no faith, or another faith, would not be Christian obviously. That in my humble opinion would be defining the word. Someone seeking, proclaiming, our Lord Jesus Christ in a way that differs from ones own however, I fear might be defining their faith itself. To confuse myself further I would question wether someone that does not accept the Trinity, Apostle Creed, and Nice Creed should proclaim Christianity, but does even that question truly belong to me? Questioning ones theology is one thing (one of the reasons I joined this sight is to question and grow in my own) but to 'draw the line' of wether any differences of theology makes someone Christian or not I feel is reserved for God. Like I said though, I am in the front row of fools, easily confused, and simply offering my opinion.

I respect the original poster as well as the the question asked. After just rereading my first reply I fear the opposite may have been heard in my words. If that is the case please forgive me I did not mean it as a defensive or a 'who do you think you are' type of reply.
 
By my flawed eyes, and limited understanding, I have observed much conflict between different Christian denominations. We all have. Differences that in some cases are indeed profound, but surely could be seen as few when compared to our agreements, or the love of our Lord God? I often fear that these differences are used against us in our humanity by the evil one to attempt to separate and bring down God's Kingdom. 

Peace and Grace to all! May our Father continue His blessings of the provisions of our Lord Jesus, and the gift of The Holy Spirit, that will lead us from our own broken will and understanding, to His Holy perfection in this lifetime and the next.

 


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« Reply #33 on: December 09, 2011, 10:42:34 AM »

Where's the line?

Christ said: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another".  So you should be able to tell by the love they have for each other.

 

"Those who ain't against us are for us."
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« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2011, 11:14:06 AM »

Where's the line?

Christ said: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another".  So you should be able to tell by the love they have for each other.

 

"Those who ain't against us are for us."

except the mormons... Tongue
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« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2011, 11:21:31 AM »

As other people have mentioned, its not up to us to decide. I still work with some reformed Churches and while I certainly disagree with their theology, I have a hard time not calling them Christians.  After all, they believe in the Trinity, and they believe that salvation comes through Christ. Sure, there are some different interpretations on what exactly that means, but I think for the most part we can agree on the most important things. And in their defense, most of them dont even know what Orthodoxy is.

Its funny how some Orthodox might not recognize them as Christians, but at the same time, some of them might not recognize YOU as Christians! Ive even heard of some missionaries going to Russia to try to "save" the Orthodox. I just sounds crazy to me. Why not try and reach people who dont have the Gospel at all?  I also have family who think that Catholics arent really Christians.

But anyways... I would consider protestants and Catholics Christians.  Maybe its because technically im still a protestant and 99.9999% of the people I associate with are too.  I would never say they, or myself, arent Christians.  And I truly believe those people who have faith, a relationship with Christ and do the Lords work, protestant or not, will inherit the Kingdom of God.

Just my 2 cents....
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« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2011, 11:26:12 AM »

I would even venture to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who truly adheres to the apostles creed & discern without judging. A non Christian can still be blessed within the Beatitudes (except the final one). Then always remember the need to attend to my own sin & repentance.
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« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2011, 11:51:40 AM »


First, let's not judge folks for asking questions that have been bothering them.  Every question stems from someone's interest, and wish for knowledge.


If you are asking "where to draw the line" pertaining to the salvation of souls....there is no line for us to draw.  God will decide whom will be saved and who condemned.

However, there is a valid argument to decide "who" is Christian.  There's nothing wrong with figuring out who is and who isn't.

For example, if you, an Orthodox Christian, fell in love and wished to marry....your prospective spouse would have to be a Christian - therefore, there needs to be a definition.

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« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2011, 12:11:21 PM »


First, let's not judge folks for asking questions that have been bothering them.  Every question stems from someone's interest, and wish for knowledge.

You sure about that?








//:=)
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« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2011, 12:13:27 PM »


First, let's not judge folks for asking questions that have been bothering them.  Every question stems from someone's interest, and wish for knowledge.


If you are asking "where to draw the line" pertaining to the salvation of souls....there is no line for us to draw.  God will decide whom will be saved and who condemned.

However, there is a valid argument to decide "who" is Christian.  There's nothing wrong with figuring out who is and who isn't.

For example, if you, an Orthodox Christian, fell in love and wished to marry....your prospective spouse would have to be a Christian - therefore, there needs to be a definition.



I agree.  As with many things this goes to what we mean by the word "Christian".  In much of the world (especially Protestant) the word Christian = going to heaven.  I don't think this is what the OP was talking about.  I think he wants to know where do you draw the line for "o"rthodox Christians.  I would agree that the Creed is a good place to start.

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« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2011, 12:23:47 PM »


First, let's not judge folks for asking questions that have been bothering them.  Every question stems from someone's interest, and wish for knowledge.

You sure about that?


//:=)

Yes.
ͼ(ݓ_ݓ)ͽ


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« Reply #41 on: December 09, 2011, 06:01:32 PM »

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« Reply #42 on: December 09, 2011, 06:34:31 PM »

Personally speaking, for me a "Christian" is someone who agrees with the beliefs of the Nicene-Constantinople Creed, and has been baptized in the name of the Trinity. What I mean is that they may not actually recite it, but they believe in its tenants.

For example a friend of mine attends a Baptist Church. They do not recite the creed, however I know that there are no beliefs stated in the Creed she would object to.
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« Reply #43 on: December 09, 2011, 06:59:26 PM »

I believe that most people have no idea of what they believe.  Hence, I have found it difficult to determine who is and is not a Christian.  I have found some Hindus that have a better understanding of Christianity than 90% of Orthodox Christians that I have met, yet they are not "Christian".  Christ has other sheep that are not of this fold.  He knows who they are.  I don't, nor does it matter to me.  I have problem enough saving myself.
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« Reply #44 on: December 09, 2011, 07:10:09 PM »

I think they have to have a correct sense of the Spiritual Identity of Jesus Christ. Their "Christology" must be sound.

For example, I had a  Jewish friend ask me why we don't consider Mormons to be Christians. I said:

Suppose there was a group claiming to be Jewish. They had all of the outward signs of following Judaism. They kept the sabbath holy, they dressed properly, they kept Kosher and followed the Calendar of holy days. However, they claimed God was a Goat.
We were not in his image, he is the image of an actual Goat. And they could prove it from the 14th and 15th book of Moses ( there are no 14th and 15th book of Moses).

Would they be Jewish??

He said no. They had a different God.
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« Reply #45 on: December 10, 2011, 02:29:49 PM »

I think they have to have a correct sense of the Spiritual Identity of Jesus Christ. Their "Christology" must be sound.

For example, I had a  Jewish friend ask me why we don't consider Mormons to be Christians. I said:

Suppose there was a group claiming to be Jewish. They had all of the outward signs of following Judaism. They kept the sabbath holy, they dressed properly, they kept Kosher and followed the Calendar of holy days. However, they claimed God was a Goat.
We were not in his image, he is the image of an actual Goat. And they could prove it from the 14th and 15th book of Moses ( there are no 14th and 15th book of Moses).

Would they be Jewish??

He said no. They had a different God.
Mormons don't claim that God is a goat.
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« Reply #46 on: December 10, 2011, 07:53:43 PM »

I think they have to have a correct sense of the Spiritual Identity of Jesus Christ. Their "Christology" must be sound.

For example, I had a  Jewish friend ask me why we don't consider Mormons to be Christians. I said:

Suppose there was a group claiming to be Jewish. They had all of the outward signs of following Judaism. They kept the sabbath holy, they dressed properly, they kept Kosher and followed the Calendar of holy days. However, they claimed God was a Goat.
We were not in his image, he is the image of an actual Goat. And they could prove it from the 14th and 15th book of Moses ( there are no 14th and 15th book of Moses).

Would they be Jewish??

He said no. They had a different God.
Mormons don't claim that God is a goat.

Of course, the example demonstrates in a clear way that if you have a totally different understanding of the nature and identity of God then you are practicing a different religion, even if you have mimicked all the externals.    
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« Reply #47 on: December 10, 2011, 08:48:29 PM »

I think they have to have a correct sense of the Spiritual Identity of Jesus Christ. Their "Christology" must be sound.

For example, I had a  Jewish friend ask me why we don't consider Mormons to be Christians. I said:

Suppose there was a group claiming to be Jewish. They had all of the outward signs of following Judaism. They kept the sabbath holy, they dressed properly, they kept Kosher and followed the Calendar of holy days. However, they claimed God was a Goat.
We were not in his image, he is the image of an actual Goat. And they could prove it from the 14th and 15th book of Moses ( there are no 14th and 15th book of Moses).

Would they be Jewish??

He said no. They had a different God.
Mormons don't claim that God is a goat.

He was using that in his example to his Jewish friend, not as an example of Mormon belief.
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« Reply #48 on: December 10, 2011, 10:43:02 PM »

Okay fine... Here is my understanding, vague as it may be, of what Mormons do beleive.

Jesus Christ is a created being. He worked his way up the spiritual ladder until he attained "God" status. He now rules over our little corner of the Universe. There are many many other "Gods" just like him all over the Universe who attained their status in the same manner, by working their way up the Spiritual Ladder ( which resembles Masonic ascension through levels of attainment. Joesph Smith was a Mason).

We too can follow the example of Jesus, work our way up the ladder of Spiritual Attainment and at some point rule as a God over our own turf.

If that is close enough for you to call it "Christianity" then I'll leave you to it. As for me, the line is drawn. Mormonism is not a form of Christianity. They may just as well be worshiping a Goat God, that is how far off the trolley they are.
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« Reply #49 on: December 10, 2011, 11:11:20 PM »

Where do I draw the line?  Well, the stuff listed in the above post certainly doesn't classify as Christianity. There's a good reason why the Church doesn't generally consider the Jehovah's Witness and Mormon (faith, cult, whatever they are) to be Christian.

Most practicing Muslims have a true respect for Isa and Miriam, but we don't consider them Christians either (Yes, I've read St. John of Damascus on this).

Just because Jesus figures in somewhere to someone's faith, it doesn't mean that it's Christianity. 

How God classifies people is a very different topic.  I'm pretty comfortable with my Archdiocese' understanding that Trinitarian Christians generally count, while others don't. I think a faith/denomination's acceptance, even if not formally, is an indicator as well.

(Joseph Smith was a Mason).

True, but to be fair, he was a really bad one and apparently only completed the first degree.

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« Reply #50 on: December 10, 2011, 11:15:11 PM »

Okay fine... Here is my understanding, vague as it may be, of what Mormons do beleive.

Jesus Christ is a created being. He worked his way up the spiritual ladder until he attained "God" status. He now rules over our little corner of the Universe. There are many many other "Gods" just like him all over the Universe who attained their status in the same manner, by working their way up the Spiritual Ladder ( which resembles Masonic ascension through levels of attainment. Joesph Smith was a Mason).

We too can follow the example of Jesus, work our way up the ladder of Spiritual Attainment and at some point rule as a God over our own turf.

If that is close enough for you to call it "Christianity" then I'll leave you to it. As for me, the line is drawn. Mormonism is not a form of Christianity. They may just as well be worshiping a Goat God, that is how far off the trolley they are.
You're pretty much there. In Mormon theology, all souls are uncreated. From eternity past, we were all semi-concious blobs of "spirit matter" (according to Joseph Smith's weird dualism/materialism hybrid) called "intelligences." Then when a god and his goddess wife have celestial sex, an intelligence somehow migrates from the ethers into a glossy spirit body and is born an angel. Angels then migrate down into human bodies as humanity reproduces on the father god's turf.

This is how the Father became what He is, He used to a angel-turned-Mormon on the planet Kolob by the name of Elohim who lived in obedience to Heavenly Grandfather. Jesus and the Holy Spirit, are the second and third born sons with Satan having been the first, but the Spirit went straight to god, never having to be a man for some reason.

This is what is called King Follett Discourse theology. Some Mormons, such as philosopher Blake Ostler, have an altered view in which the Father is an eternal God like in Christianity (and thus doesn't have a wife or Heavenly Grandfather, I would assume) so as to avoid the infinite regress of KFD but they still hold the rest of the spiel.
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« Reply #51 on: December 10, 2011, 11:20:15 PM »

I thought that Jesus drew the line in Matthew 25:31-46. Smiley Aren't Christians (little Christs) those people who are the sheep in this passage, whether or not they express correct doctrine?

Edited to add verses.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #52 on: December 10, 2011, 11:21:30 PM »

I thought that Jesus drew the line in Matthew 25. Smiley Aren't Christians (little Christs) those people who are the sheep in this passage, whether or not they express correct doctrine?
No.
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« Reply #53 on: December 10, 2011, 11:34:40 PM »

Anyone can "call" themselves a Christian. I would personally say a Christian is one that believes in Christ and makes an effort to follow his teachings. Even if I think it's in the strange way or it's not my church. If someone is calling themselves a Christian while *actively and unapologetically* NOT making an effort to follow his teachings ie participating in hate, greed, cruelty, I don't consider them a Christian.
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« Reply #54 on: December 10, 2011, 11:49:06 PM »

I thought that Jesus drew the line in Matthew 25:31-46. Smiley Aren't Christians (little Christs) those people who are the sheep in this passage, whether or not they express correct doctrine?

Edited to add verses.  Embarrassed

The verse is talking about those who will be saved, not those who can use the label "Christian".
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« Reply #55 on: December 11, 2011, 12:06:21 AM »

I thought that Jesus drew the line in Matthew 25:31-46. Smiley Aren't Christians (little Christs) those people who are the sheep in this passage, whether or not they express correct doctrine?

Edited to add verses.  Embarrassed

The verse is talking about those who will be saved, not those who can use the label "Christian".


The label Christian can surely only be attached to those who show themselves to be emulators of Christ. By their fruit, not necessarily their doctrinal correctness. I'm sure it helps, but it might not be the be all and end all, because one could be labelled a Christian and fall between the stools. Thus, there are those in the passage I cited who are crying "Lord, Lord" in vain and those who aren't crying it at all, but still are emulators of Christ; which is what sets the sheep apart.

I hope we are all found on the baaing, woolly team. Smiley

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« Reply #56 on: December 11, 2011, 12:23:00 AM »

I thought that Jesus drew the line in Matthew 25:31-46. Smiley Aren't Christians (little Christs) those people who are the sheep in this passage, whether or not they express correct doctrine?

Edited to add verses.  Embarrassed

The verse is talking about those who will be saved, not those who can use the label "Christian".


The label Christian can surely only be attached to those who show themselves to be emulators of Christ. By their fruit, not necessarily their doctrinal correctness. I'm sure it helps, but it might not be the be all and end all, because one could be labelled a Christian and fall between the stools. Thus, there are those in the passage I cited who are crying "Lord, Lord" in vain and those who aren't crying it at all, but still are emulators of Christ; which is what sets the sheep apart.

I hope we are all found on the baaing, woolly team. Smiley


Goats baaah, and many of them are woolly.
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« Reply #57 on: December 11, 2011, 12:24:34 AM »

I thought that Jesus drew the line in Matthew 25:31-46. Smiley Aren't Christians (little Christs) those people who are the sheep in this passage, whether or not they express correct doctrine?

Edited to add verses.  Embarrassed

The verse is talking about those who will be saved, not those who can use the label "Christian".


The label Christian can surely only be attached to those who show themselves to be emulators of Christ. By their fruit, not necessarily their doctrinal correctness.
Without doctrinal correctness, there is only bitter fruit.
I'm sure it helps, but it might not be the be all and end all, because one could be labelled a Christian and fall between the stools. Thus, there are those in the passage I cited who are crying "Lord, Lord" in vain and those who aren't crying it at all, but still are emulators of Christ; which is what sets the sheep apart.
There is no implication that the seperation from those who had incorrect doctrine but "did good works."  As far as I have seen it interpreted by the Fathers, it is a seperation within those who had correct doctrine, between those who practiced what was preached, and those who did not. E.g. St. John Chrysostom.
Quote
For further back also He says, that they who receive not such as these shall suffer more grievous things than Sodom; and here He says, Inasmuch as you did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren, you did it not unto me. What sayest Thou? They are Your brethren; and how dost Thou call them least. Why, for this reason they are brethren, because they are lowly, because they are poor, because they are outcast. For such does He most invite to brotherhood, the unknown, the contemptible, not meaning by these the monks only, and them that have occupied the mountains, but every believer; though he be a secular person, yet if he be hungry, and famishing, and naked, and a stranger, His will is he should have the benefit of all this care. For baptism renders a man a brother, and the partaking of the divine mysteries.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/200179.htm

I hope we are all found on the baaing, woolly team. Smiley
Amen!
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« Reply #58 on: December 11, 2011, 12:34:35 AM »

I thought that Jesus drew the line in Matthew 25:31-46. Smiley Aren't Christians (little Christs) those people who are the sheep in this passage, whether or not they express correct doctrine?

Edited to add verses.  Embarrassed

The verse is talking about those who will be saved, not those who can use the label "Christian".


The label Christian can surely only be attached to those who show themselves to be emulators of Christ. By their fruit, not necessarily their doctrinal correctness. I'm sure it helps, but it might not be the be all and end all, because one could be labelled a Christian and fall between the stools. Thus, there are those in the passage I cited who are crying "Lord, Lord" in vain and those who aren't crying it at all, but still are emulators of Christ; which is what sets the sheep apart.

I hope we are all found on the baaing, woolly team. Smiley


Goats baaah, and many of them are woolly.

 laugh
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« Reply #59 on: December 12, 2011, 07:51:27 PM »

i draw the line at the Trinity, even the trinity with the filioque ill accept as you being called christian
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« Reply #60 on: December 12, 2011, 08:46:49 PM »

i draw the line at the Trinity, even the trinity with the filioque ill accept as you being called christian
What about extreme Calvinists who believe that evil comes from God?
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« Reply #61 on: December 12, 2011, 09:21:35 PM »

evil comes from God?
Ontologically or providentially or both?
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« Reply #62 on: December 12, 2011, 09:40:27 PM »

evil comes from God?
Ontologically or providentially or both?
Both. Also, the Calvinsists he's speaking of don't draw much if any distinction between the two AFAICT.
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« Reply #63 on: December 12, 2011, 09:55:05 PM »

i draw the line at the Trinity, even the trinity with the filioque ill accept as you being called christian
What about extreme Calvinists who believe that evil comes from God?
which groups are you talking about?

(honest question, i dont know of any)
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« Reply #64 on: December 13, 2011, 02:36:37 AM »

I'm still not clear on what the point of drawing a line is?

The Fathers drew certain lines with regard to the reception of converts based on degree of deviation in both theology and praxis, but they don't seem to have been particularly protective of the term 'Christian'. The addition of the adjective 'Orthodox' (or 'Catholic') implies the existence of Christians who are neither Orthodox nor Catholic. The Arians and Sabellians did not accept the Creed but were considered heretical Christians. Some of the Gnostic groups Ireneus lists as heretical sects of Christianity are just about as far out there as Mormons.

As long as someone bases their religion on the historical personage of Jesus Christ, they seem to have a valid claim to the term Christian, at least in Patristic writing.
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« Reply #65 on: December 13, 2011, 02:58:04 AM »

i draw the line at the Trinity, even the trinity with the filioque ill accept as you being called christian
What about extreme Calvinists who believe that evil comes from God?
which groups are you talking about?

(honest question, i dont know of any)
The proprietors of the website, Outside the Camp as well as the Westboro Baptist Church (not that they should count as Christians for other reasons, of course). Individuals of that sort would be John Sproul (son of R.C. Sproul), Vincent Cheung, and I believe Irwin Palmer.
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