There is a thread on the OG about a PBS program on the historical Jesus... it got me thinking and asking questions that the OG couldn't answer. So... here I am.
What behaviors and beliefs are central to being "christian?" Of these, which were specifically referenced by Jesus himself (according to the gospels, I guess.)
For example, Jesus did give the beatitudes (blessed are the ...) according to the gospels, so any of those beliefs would be covered by Jesus' recorded speech. However, it would be difficult to say that Jesus said you should respect the authority of the Pope, or should respect the selling of indulgences (I know... absurd example...)
Be good to your fellow man is my guidline....Erick
Hmmmm... by that definition, plenty of people who reject the resurrection, who don't believe in sin, etc etc, could be considered christian.
I actually get into this in my resurection q thread.
If memory serves the Golden Rule was "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Very similar to Rabbi Akiva's "Do not do unto others what is hateful to you."
Being a christian can mean different things to different people. I have met people who are not of the same religious affiliation that I am, who consider themselves to be christian. ALthough we believe in completely different things, they still adamantly hold to the title of christian.
I myself would say a "Christian" if it HAD to be summed up the apostles creed would be a good way to define what reformed churches typically believe make them christian.
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell*. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*or "he descended to the dead"
Well he asked what behaviours, and then he switches to beliefs. Someone could conceivably act a certain way while not believeing the same way at all. For instance, the central command of Jesus as far as behavior was, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and love God with your whole heart, mind and strength"
But someone could attempt to live the same way while following Thor, or no God. Maybe someone believed Gandhi was a great example and is emulating him. That doesn't make him a Christian, just acting like one.
There is a magazine this month in Brazil raising the question if Paul didn´t betray Jesus teaching different things from what He meant. I didn´t read it yet, though.
I really think that Paul was trying to do his best to adamantly stick to the teachings of Christ. I do not think that he purposely misled anyone in his direction of the churches. Hopefully one day we can ask him about it ourselves.
Rev - I included both beliefs and behaviors because they are different.
I guess in some ways I am interested because I don't really see the *intersection* of the two... for example, you are supposed to have the belief that Jesus rose from the dead. Why? What behavior does that impact? It seems like the behaviors are rooted in much simpler doctrine, like the golden rule mentioned above.
Simple, if Jesus did rise from the grave, and scripture says the same Spirit that rose Christ from the grave dwells in you, then you will have more confidence to go beyond yourself in giving, and sacrafice, and be encouraged in your ability to live a Godly life. Your faith in Jesus will grow as He conquered even death, and is worthy to be not only followed by worshiped, which is also a behavior, and so on. Beliefs have consequences.
But the issue becomes not what do you do, as compared to what you believe, but what do you have to believe to be accepted in the club. If you are going to be in our club you have to believe these things. Every club has a different set of beliefs that makes their club right, or atleast different. Some of these different beliefs effect behavior, some don't, but it is the club affiliation that seems to matter.
I believe most of the "essential" doctrines of Christianity, and many of the Pentecostal club's doctrines also. But I don't exclude everyone else, those are just my beliefs, and I do not want to be in any club. I believe you follow Jesus as our greatest example of a life well lived, and you will find God. I believe Jesus is the center, not our doctrines whether they are true or not. It's Jesus that matters.