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[IPr] Re: My thoughts, and coping

A very interesting conversation.  I believe these are important issues to 
discuss, and I PRAY that we can do so respectfully!  Whatever our specific 
beliefs about Jesus, I'm guessing that most of us who are Christians can 
agree that He wouldn't want discussion about Him to turn into a slugfest 
and result in hurt feelings (and have the topic henceforth be regarded as off-
limits" because it's too inflammatory!)

>We may have very different views on what a Christian is. IMO, a 
>Christian is one who believes in Christ as God's son. If you believe that 
>He was the son of God, then you believe in the Bible.

To me, if I had to define "Christian", it would be something along the lines of 
"Someone who seeks a relationship with God through Jesus Christ". 

However, I'm not sure exactly how you get from that to the second part of 
your statement -- "if you believe He was the son of God, then you believe 
the Bible".  (by this, you seem to mean believe that every word of the Bible 
is literally true).  Jesus never demanded that we take a literal interpretation 
of any scripture.  He asked us to follow Him.  He gave us two 
commandments, "love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves"  (well, I 
guess that's three commandments if you count loving yourself as a 
separate one!)  He said, "Do this and you will live". 

I do believe the Bible.  I believe the testimonies of Paul and the early 
Christians when they tell of what Jesus did in their lives.  I believe Jesus 
was God made flesh, and can't imagine Christianity coming into being the 
way it did, despite so much initial persecution, unless God's hand was 
behind it.  I try to listen for the Word of God in every word of scripture.  
However, to me that doesn't mean I have to believe that everything 
recounted in Scripture actually happened exactly as described at a certain 
point in history.  I agree with what Jim said that something can be true in 
the mythological sense -- true in that it teaches us about God -- without 
being true in the sense of being an actual historical event. 

>I do have a problem with someone calling themselves a Christian but 
>then saying they don't believe the entire Bible is factual, or the Bible 
>needs to be supplemented by other works. 

I have to say that I think the Bible (like anything else that's not God) can be 
made into an idol.  God speaks to us through the Bible, but I don't believe 
He ONLY speaks to us through the Bible.  He didn't stop communicating 
with His children 2000 years ago!  One of my pastors sometimes talks 
about the "Wesleyan Quadrangle" (attributed to John Wesley) of "reason, 
tradition, scripture, and experience".  All four of these are vehicles for 
knowing about God, but any one of them can also become an idol if we 
allow our entire faith to "rise and set" on it.  

Also, to me I don't feel I would EVER have the right to suggest to anyone 
else who professes faith in Jesus that they're not really a Christian.  Who 
am I to judge that?  Christianity to me is about a relationship with Christ 
much more than it's about holding the "right" doctrines.

Anyway, again, interesting topics.  I hope I haven't offended anyone.  And, 
to the non-Christians on the list, thanks for bearing with us!

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