What makes a Christian?


#1

The Church teaches that through Baptism we become Christians, but I’m always given a hard time about this by my evangelical friends that insist that you become a Christian when you profess your faith at an age of decision-making. How can I show biblically that through baptism we are made members of the Church?


#2

Hi JSmitty,

Here is my response to evangelical’s Christ told His disciples to go and baptise in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit which in my opinion is the first step of christianty after which we recieve the Body of Christ which is another sacarment of initiation. Than comes confirmation at which time we not only finalize our initiation we profess our faith and reject satan. Each of these sacarments are all biblical and each of these sacaraments are what the apostles received before they went into the world and preached the gospel. Another is every Mass we attend we profess out faith and say a sinners pray so I don’t see how anyone has an arguement against us. I know this answer isn’t the best but it is what I use all the time. Hope it helps.

God Bless
Kathleen


#3

This seems pretty clear that more is required than just professing your faith:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, %between% %between%Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britian). (Mt 28:19).

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.%between% %between% (Jn 3:5).

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Ro 6:4).

And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Ac 2:38).

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’ (Ac 22:16).

Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. (Ac 18:8).

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.(Eph 4:4).


#4

Catholic Answers has the answer here… catholic.com/library/infant_baptism.asp

It covers the issue thoroughly.


#5

[quote=JSmitty2005]The Church teaches that through Baptism we become Christians, but I’m always given a hard time about this by my evangelical friends that insist that you become a Christian when you profess your faith at an age of decision-making. How can I show biblically that through baptism we are made members of the Church?
[/quote]

I’d be interested to find out where it says in the bible that you become a Christian when you profess your faith at an age of decision-making.


#6

[quote=JSmitty2005]The Church teaches that through Baptism we become Christians, but I’m always given a hard time about this by my evangelical friends that insist that you become a Christian when you profess your faith at an age of decision-making. How can I show biblically that through baptism we are made members of the Church?
[/quote]

Go to the Old Testament. How did Jewish children and infants become members of God’s people? It is true that a person capable of professing Faith must do so prior to Baptism. But in ALL instances when an adult professes Faith in Christ in the New Testament they are Baptized in water.


#7

I would say the word’s of Jesus are applicable here.

“A tree is known by its fruit”

so you are a Christian when you follow Christ and you are not when you don’t.

peace

Jim


#8

[quote=trogiah]I would say the word’s of Jesus are applicable here.

“A tree is known by its fruit”

so you are a Christian when you follow Christ and you are not when you don’t.

peace

Jim
[/quote]

Hmmm, but some non-Christians can follow Christ unknowingly, correct? A woman I know is Hindu and in many respects lives a more Christ-like life than I do. I’ve always wondered…since we become ‘children of God’ through baptism (and faith if we are old enough), is this woman considered a ‘child of God’? Is she partaking of the ‘divine nature’?


#9

[quote=Elzee]Hmmm, but some non-Christians can follow Christ unknowingly, correct? A woman I know is Hindu and in many respects lives a more Christ-like life than I do. I’ve always wondered…since we become ‘children of God’ through baptism (and faith if we are old enough), is this woman considered a ‘child of God’? Is she partaking of the ‘divine nature’?
[/quote]

“He who is seperated from the body of the Catholic Church, however praiseworthy his conduct may otherwise seem, will not be saved.”

Pope Gregory XVI “Perlatum Ad Nos”


#10

[quote=JSmitty2005]“He who is seperated from the body of the Catholic Church, however praiseworthy his conduct may otherwise seem, will not be saved.”

Pope Gregory XVI “Perlatum Ad Nos”
[/quote]

But doesn’t this apply to those who separate from the Church after knowing it is the Church of Christ and teaches the fullness of truth? It doesn’t apply to those who, through no fault of their own are not Catholic or not taught about the Catholic faith. The Church even teaches non-Christians can be saved if I’m not mistaken.

This is slightly off from my post, however. I’m earlier on in the ‘salvation life-cycle’ if you will and not at the point of final salvation (since salvation can be lost). I’m basically asking can those who have not been baptized (through no fault of their own and no real knowledge of Christ) be ‘children of God’. Can God’s spirit be in therm? I know baptism is the ‘normative’ method and we are bound by the sacraments, but God isn’t. I’m asking…I don’t know. This has always confused me. Should I start a new thread?


#11

To All:

I am speaking from an Evangelical Protestant point of view and I know I will get some heated response.

Well, what makes a Christian?

If we use Scripture as our authority the term was only used 3 times in the New Testament (and obviously not used in the Old).

The first time it was used was in Acts 11:26:
26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

The second time it was used was in Acts 26:28:
28Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Last was in 1 Peter 4:16
16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name

Now in full context the verses read these things
Acts 11:19-26
19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Acts 26:19-29
19"So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23that the Christ** would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles."

24At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25"I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

1 Peter 4:12-18
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

(cont)**


#12

Don’t forget 1 Pet 3:21. It states, “Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledgee] of a good conscience toward God.”

This verse is very clear. Along with John 3:3-5, we must see that baptism is necessary.

There is also a verse that explicitly states we are “baptized into the body of Christ”. I will find it and post it in a little bit.


#13

Let’s look at the first instance now

Acts
Acts 11:19-26
19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Who were called Christians at Antioch? The disciples. This is the first time the term was ever applied to believers. Who is a disciple?

a scholar, sometimes applied to the followers of John the Baptist (Matt. 9:14), and of the Pharisees (22:16), but principally to the followers of Christ. A disciple of Christ is one who (1) believes his doctrine, (2) rests on his sacrifice, (3) imbibes his spirit, and (4) imitates his example (Matt. 10:24; Luke 14:26, 27, 33; John 6:69)

A disciple is someone who shows obedience to Christ and believes what he says and acts in accordance to him. Now, this is the first time the term Christian was used and it described a follower not someone who was baptized.

Acts 26:19-29
19"So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23that the Christ** would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles."

24At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25"I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

For the second time we see the word Christian used; this time we see the King say that Paul cannot persuade him to be Christian in a short time. Paul responds that he wishes and prays that Agrippa does become what Paul is (without the chains), no matter how long it takes.

So what is Paul? He is a believing Christian, he is a disciple of Christ and a discipleship requires what? OBEDIENCE. He became a Christian out of obedience to Christ.

Continued next post**


#14

cont

Last we see the term Christian in 1 Peter 4
1 Peter 4:12-18
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Peter is talking about suffering because Christ suffered. We should suffer as Christians and will. Now there is no definitive answer in here saying this is a Christian but the next verse can be a key to seeing how Christians are again identified.

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us (a pronoun that refers to Christians from verse 16) what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (this would be the opposite of the family of God, so it would be non-Christians). If non-Christians don’t obey the gospel of God, that means Christians do!!! Again obedience to teh gospel and to Christ’s teaching is needed.

These are the only 3 times that the word Christian is used in the Bible. They show discipleship and obedience and in no way is Baptism or Confirmation ever talked about or even implied (except from my point of view where Baptism is an implied act of obedience proclaiming ones faith).


#15

[quote=Redbandito]Don’t forget 1 Pet 3:21. It states, “Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledgee] of a good conscience toward God.”

This verse is very clear. Along with John 3:3-5, we must see that baptism is necessary.

There is also a verse that explicitly states we are “baptized into the body of Christ”. I will find it and post it in a little bit.
[/quote]

Red:

That’s a great verse that shows what Batpism is…“not the removal of dirt but the PLEDGE of a good conscience toward God”

What is a good conscience towards God? Obedience and living for his good. So it still has obedience as its core


#16

Last, because I felt I hijacked this thread I want to say this…

The Bible uses the term Christian explicitly. I quoted all the times it was used in Scripture.

The question was what is a Christian not what is discipleship or baptism and that is for another thread. I have a feeling that this will turn into that (especially what are the requirements for baptism) so I want to quelch it before it starts.


#17

[quote=jpete79]Red:

That’s a great verse that shows what Batpism is…“not the removal of dirt but the PLEDGE of a good conscience toward God”

What is a good conscience towards God? Obedience and living for his good. So it still has obedience as its core
[/quote]

JPete, you need to do a little bit more of a comprehensive study of this. You’re right! Baptism is not just the “removal of dirt”. That is the baptism of John the Baptist. “11"I baptize you with**(“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%203;&version=31;#fen-NIV-23204b”)] water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matt 3:11) However, Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Notice that baptism presupposes water. In John 3:5 he states, "5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” Notice that Jesus does not separate water from Spirit in baptism. One occurs through the other. Notice how Matthew goes on to describe the very thing I (and Catholics) speak of about what occurs during baptism. “16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.” (Matt 3:16) Notice that it was THROUGH the water that the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ. This wasn’t some abstract thing, it was concrete through the form of water.

There are tons of verses referring to our salvation that use language to suggest baptism (i.e. washing, water, etc.) We see examples of this in almost every book of the NT. " 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through THE WASHING OF REBIRTH AND RENEWAL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT," (Tit 3:5). Notice that these two are again tied together. Hebrews 10:22 states, **“22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies WASHED WITH PURE WATER.” **Paul ties our justification and sanctification to baptism in 1 Cor 6:11, **“But you were WASHED, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” **We have already seen that we die to ourselves in baptism so that we may live again, in Rom 6:4, “4We were therefore buried with him through BAPTISM into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, WE TOO MAY HAVE NEW LIFE.”

Let us not forget Paul in Galatians says that we who “27…were baptized into Christ have clothed (y)ourselves with Christ.” (Gal 3:27). He says the same thing in Romans 6:3, “3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Point being is that there is a little more going on here than you are giving credit to.

When one takes a canonical look at baptism, it is impossible to explain the preponderance of evidence away. When Peter states, “the PLEDGE of a good conscience toward God” (1 Pet 3:21), I say AMEN! That’s what the sacraments are. They are pledges. Actually, they are more like OATHS. We are swearing an oath, or in other words making a covenant with God. That argument does not work in your favor, it supports the Catholic position.


#18

[quote=Redbandito]JPete, you need to do a little bit more of a comprehensive study of this. You’re right! Baptism is not just the “removal of dirt”. That is the baptism of John the Baptist. “11"I baptize you with**(“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%203;&version=31;#fen-NIV-23204b”)] water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matt 3:11) However, Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Notice that baptism presupposes water. In John 3:5 he states, "5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” Notice that Jesus does not separate water from Spirit in baptism. One occurs through the other. Notice how Matthew goes on to describe the very thing I (and Catholics) speak of about what occurs during baptism. “16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.” (Matt 3:16) Notice that it was THROUGH the water that the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ. This wasn’t some abstract thing, it was concrete through the form of water.

There are tons of verses referring to our salvation that use language to suggest baptism (i.e. washing, water, etc.) We see examples of this in almost every book of the NT. " 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through THE WASHING OF REBIRTH AND RENEWAL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT," (Tit 3:5). Notice that these two are again tied together. Hebrews 10:22 states, **“22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies WASHED WITH PURE WATER.” **Paul ties our justification and sanctification to baptism in 1 Cor 6:11, **“But you were WASHED, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” **We have already seen that we die to ourselves in baptism so that we may live again, in Rom 6:4, “4We were therefore buried with him through BAPTISM into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, WE TOO MAY HAVE NEW LIFE.”

Let us not forget Paul in Galatians says that we who “27…were baptized into Christ have clothed (y)ourselves with Christ.” (Gal 3:27). He says the same thing in Romans 6:3, “3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Point being is that there is a little more going on here than you are giving credit to.

When one takes a canonical look at baptism, it is impossible to explain the preponderance of evidence away. When Peter states, “the PLEDGE of a good conscience toward God” (1 Pet 3:21), I say AMEN! That’s what the sacraments are. They are pledges. Actually, they are more like OATHS. We are swearing an oath, or in other words making a covenant with God. That argument does not work in your favor, it supports the Catholic position.
[/quote]

We are swearing an oath…I dont’ recall others swearing the oath for us which is what infant baptism is. We cannot pledge for someone else to receive Christ, we can instruct them in what he has taught us but the decision is theirs.

As far as Matthew, you already know my answer as you’ve heard it a million times and I already know you will call it weak. One is born of water and spirit. Born of doesn’t mean baptize and if it means baptize why wouldn’t the word be put in itself? Obviously Matthew is good enough in Greek to use it elsewhere, so why not use it here if that is what is implied?

Hebrews 10:22 states, **“22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies WASHED WITH PURE WATER.”

Sincere heart and full assurance of faith draws us to God, that all has to be included in Baptism which means again; OBEDIENCE TO GOD.

]“But you were WASHED, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Obviously Paul is referring again to people who were already believers.

There is not more than I am giving credit for. It’s the belief in Christ that is needed for Baptism. That is the only way that baptism is credible is when we are obedient to Christ; the question on the post was WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A CHRISTIAN? I answered that question with Scripture that was explicit in its definition.**


#19

[quote=jpete79]We are swearing an oath…I dont’ recall others swearing the oath for us which is what infant baptism is. We cannot pledge for someone else to receive Christ, we can instruct them in what he has taught us but the decision is theirs.
[/quote]

Sacred Tradition has supported infant baptism for many centuries–long before the myth of the “age of reason” that was invented sometime after the reformation. This article is worth reading.
goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article7067.asp

Blessings,
Mickey


#20

[quote=jpete79]We are swearing an oath…I dont’ recall others swearing the oath for us which is what infant baptism is. We cannot pledge for someone else to receive Christ, we can instruct them in what he has taught us but the decision is theirs…
[/quote]

This is not a thread on infant baptism. You can’t stick to the topic because of the implications it has with other doctrines you hold to. That is the problem with your position. Either way, you still miss the point. The Jews circumcised after 8 days. The parent had faith for the child. It is the same thing here. And regardless of your view of infant baptism, your explanations of what baptism does are absolutely lacking.

[quote=jpete79]As far as Matthew, you already know my answer as you’ve heard it a million times and I already know you will call it weak. One is born of water and spirit. Born of doesn’t mean baptize and if it means baptize why wouldn’t the word be put in itself? Obviously Matthew is good enough in Greek to use it elsewhere, so why not use it here if that is what is implied?
[/quote]

Actually that verse is in John. And as for the Greek argument, that’s just silly. You could work at McDonald’s. I’m sure you’re qualified. Why don’t you?

[quote=jpete79]Sincere heart and full assurance of faith draws us to God, that all has to be included in Baptism which means again; OBEDIENCE TO GOD.
[/quote]

AHHHH. This seems to be a common strategy amongst you and a couple of other Protestants over here. When you get into trouble, cannot refute a specific verse, simply restate one of your theses, and hopefully nobody will notice. Well, I noticed. This paragraph is your response to my post? You have not done anything to refute my point, you have just replied with your opinion. Furthermore, your opinion does not even attempt to address what the verse I used actually says from your view. Again, you just reply with your thesis.

[quote=jpete79]Obviously Paul is referring again to people who were already believers.
[/quote]

Oh really? I thought you believed justification was a one time event? This has the “washing” preceding the sanctification, and the sanctification preceding the justification. How can that make sense with your explanation that these are already believers? You’re not being very consistent.

[quote=jpete79]There is not more than I am giving credit for. It’s the belief in Christ that is needed for Baptism. That is the only way that baptism is credible is when we are obedient to Christ; the question on the post was WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A CHRISTIAN? I answered that question with Scripture that was explicit in its definition.
[/quote]

I think I recall you saying that, I just don’t recall ever seeing any proof. I have pointed out your tactic of retreating to your thesis when you cannot mount a response. I suggest you change that for the future. If you don’t, it says one of two things about you. 1) You don’t realize you’re doing it or 2) You don’t care (which is dishonest). I want to believe in the good of you, so I will assume number 1. I think you are an honest and good Christian man, but I also think you are trying to hold on to your views of Scripture despite not being able to make a reasonable argument to support them. I look forward to your next response.


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