Different Understandings And Branches Of Christianity

Discussion in 'Doctrinal Discussions' started by PeaceLikeaRiver, Sep 4, 2014.

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  1. Another thread branched out into this territory earlier and I thought - wondered - if the topic can be handled tactfully and without rancor here in its own thread.

    At issue was the expressions "born again" and "saved". I expressed that I didn't adhere to either expression, which led a few people to ask how it was possible to be a Christian and NOT be born again.

    To clarify: There are a few ways to hear "born again". In the Bible we are told in John 3:3 that "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." I was raised Catholic and was taught that this referred to our baptism. I understand and respect that other branches of Christianity understand this expression to mean a public declaration. So in the first sense, yes, I am born again and would say I was with no compunctions at all. But I do not do so in the second sense as I have a different Biblical understanding on the matter.

    More to the point, though, and more relevant to the discussion from earlier, I would say there is a difference between being born again and calling oneself a "born again Christian". And I was making THAT distinction because while yes, I do see myself as born again, I do NOT consider myself a Born Again Christian because I'm identifying as a Christian from the Catholic end of things rather than the Evangelical end. Evangelicals in my experience call themselves Born Again Christians. The Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians I know, do not. That may be different in the experience of others.

    To come to the expression "saved" now: This is an area a little more cut and dried, in that I think I can confidently say that it's rarer to find Catholics who call themselves "saved" for the simple reason that Catholics are not "one saved always saved" Christians because the understanding is that salvation is something that happens after we have died, not before, and so we don't pronounce ourselves saved before God has judged us.

    So this is what I mean when I say that I don't consider myself a "saved" or "Born Again" Christian, although I am very much born again in my view, considering my baptism.

    Now these thoughts and beliefs are central to my Christian faith, and I certainly understand that they will be disagreed upon, challenged, and held up to scrutiny. But that is not the point of this thread, so much as to clarify that there are different understandings within Christianity which many people may not be aware of.

    I offer this respectfully.
    Huntingteckel and TezriLi say Amen and like this.
  2. I don't think you are really as far away as you perceive you are....

    The "Born Again" Christians I hang out around *Tend* to use the expression as an indication that they are "Born Again" per John 3:3 RATHER than "Christian" by heritage, works, or through sacerdotal-ism ....

    There are many, many, many people out there who treat Christianity as if it was an Ethnicity.... That you are born into a "Christian" home and you go to church - so you are a Christian..... and there are many who believe that going to Church on Easter and Christmas or receiving the "Seven Sacraments" or "Living right" somehow makes them Christian....
    SparkleEyes, Huntingteckel, TezriLi and 1 other person say Amen and like this.
  3. I think the reason this comes up from time to time is because occasionally a Christian will say something completely foreign to your own Christian experience. I was asked once when I was saved. Obviously the person asking was an evangelical. I didn't know how to respond, because we don't DO "saved". We die, and then HOPE to be saved. But he'd never heard of this before, and just assumed the "saved" thing was what ALL Christians do.
  4. As a former Catholic (cradle Catholic) I can say that pretty much lines up with what Catholics believe.

    As I born again Christian I would agree with your assessment the as well.
  5. Rules concerning baptism are very similar to those that governed circumcision in the Jewish nation. Christianity should be considered BOTH and ethnicity AND a religion, as it was with Judaism.

    The main presumption with cradles is that their parents are Christians and they are committing to raise their child as Christian. This is honorable and virtuous. We don't give our children away to a non-Christian family so that they can learn Christianity on their own.

    Coming from a family that did not baptize me as a child, but did raise me as a Christian, I wish they had just baptized me so I wouldn't have to worry about it at some later date. Even now I have not been technically baptized, which is completely unheard of in early Christendom.

    The only time I hear people really discouraged about their infant baptism is if they strayed away from the faith and then found their way back and were "rebaptized". Of course I understand this position, but in that case, there used to be the sacrament of reconciliation.

    Anyways, I don't mind re-baptism, as a sort of symbolic return to one's Christian heritage, but I think the point is that it doesn't actually "wash" away your sins anymore. Its like, once you've been circumcised, you can't be "re-circumcised".
  6. As I asked you on the other thread....."How does one become a Christian without being born again"?

    The reason why you need to be “spiritually” born is because you have never been spiritually born to begin with. So when the Bible speaks of being “born again,” it actually means “born for the second time.” You were born physically into this world, but you were born without the Spirit of God in your soul (spiritually dead). Yes, God created you, but He gave you a freewill to decide for yourself where you will spend eternity.

    God never forces anyone to accept Jesus as their Savior and no one is saved without making an informed choice for Christ. Christ simply offers a warm invitation to anyone who wants to have their sins forgiven and go to Heaven. Salvation is a free gift (Romans 5:15; 6:23), paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1st Peter 1:18,19; Revelation 1:5). We must accept God's gift of eternal life or it WILL be forever forfeited when we leave this world (die).

    God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Notice, God said they would die “the day that thou eatest thereof.” Interestingly, Adam and Eve DIDN'T die physically the day they ate the fruit and disobeyed God's command. Why?

    The reason is because they died SPIRITUALLY instead of physically the moment that they ate the fruit. When Adam sinned, sin and death entered the human race. The Bible teaches that from Adam until present time, mankind has been born spiritually dead, inherited down from Adam's sin. This is why humanity MUST be born-again. This is only possible through the Holy Spirit of God, which makes us alive again (quickened the Bible says) by faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are saved by repenting of our unbelief and believing the Gospel that Jesus DIED, was BURIED and RAISED up three days later.

    To be “spiritually” born means that God's Holy Spirit “quickens” us (or makes us alive). When a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus as the Christ—trusting Him alone to forgive all sins—then God the Father and God the Son come into one's heart in the form of God the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). The “Holy Spirit” is “God within us.” The old man is the flesh. The old man cannot be tamed. There is nothing good about the flesh. When we get saved (born again), the old man doesn't change. Rather, the new man (which is Jesus Christ) comes to indwell (live) within our body. 1st Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

    I have God living in my body in the form of the Holy Spirit. I was born-again at age 13. Romans 8:9 tells us that the Spirit of Christ dwells within every believer. I am not God, but I have God's Spirit living in my body. The Godhead indwells every believer. The Holy Spirit of God guides me, comforts me, teaches me, rebukes me, chastises me, convicts me, encourages me, empowers me, loves me, strengthens me, and so much more. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to do these things. This is why it is critically important for every believer to live in their Bible.
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  7. The reason why one strays away from infant baptism is because it has no real effects. Salvation is a choice! It is made by one who comes to the realization that he is a sinner and can not save himself.

    What can he do???? Turn to Christ and accept Him as Saviour thus being Born Again!

    To be a Christian, one must be born again! John 3:3!

    And by the way, Christianity is not a religion. IT IS A PERSON!
  8. John, there is no such thing as Christianity by heritage or works or sacraments. Salvation is by and through the Lord Jesus Christ plus nothing!

    Ephesians 2:8
    "We are saved by faith through grace and not of our selves least we should boast".
  9. #9 calvin, Sep 4, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
    RE Post #6,
    What you say is all well and good Major, In addition, I would like to suggest that in most cases labels are divisive tool of Satan.
    Consider ::
    Gen 3:1. Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"
    Just focusing on the divisive phrase, 'Did God actually say'
    When we know full well what the Bible tells us, we should not fall into the trap of 'did God actually say"
    Who is it who wants to suggest that when Jesus said 'you must be born again' Did Jesus actually say....?

    I don't run around trumpet blowing saying that I am 'born again'.
    I am a sinner saved by Grace alone though Faith alone in Christ alone.
    Of a truth anyone who is a Christian has been born again as Jesus taught, so the distinction by title is totally superfluous.
    I do not live my life quaking under the bed in fear or doubt, nor do I (I try not to) live in contempt of what Jesus accomplished on my behalf on the cross.
    I do not...most emphatically, I do not brandish the osas flag nor the flag of conditional salvation.

    These too are divisive tools of Satan...or so I believe.
  10. What you're doing now, Major, is proselytizing, which was not my reason for starting this thread. I'm not interested in debating one doctrine over another. I'm very well aware what the beliefs of fundamentalists are. I am also very aware of my own beliefs. My point was to show that you can say you're not "saved" and still be a perfectly valid and legitimate Christian.

    Is it really so hard to accept that different Christians have different beliefs? I certainly don't mind having my position debated or raked over the coals, but don't DISMISS it as though it doesn't exist! Especially when it is held by a denomination who can claim to be the largest body of Christians.
  11. Once again, that is only ONE position. The other is that salvation is a combination of grace through faith and good works.
  12. With regards to Christians calling themselves "saved", speaking as a former Catholic, and having studied the Bible it appears the New Testament indeed commonly uses that kind of rhetoric.

    "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24

    "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Eph 2:8,9

    "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Rom 10:9

    Furthermore the gospel promises no salvation apart from faith in Christ. The Catholic idea of getting babies wet saves them is more along the thinking of the circumcision who made salvation a function of ceremonial works contrary to the gospel.
    calvin likes this.
  13. I'm so sick of having this argument with you Major.

    There is nothing wrong with believer's baptism. Nor is there anything wrong with infant baptism as it has been practiced for 2000 years since you were born.

    Please respect other people's beliefs and practices.

    For people born into Chrisitianity we rarely undergo a "come to Jesus" moment. Unless someone strays from the faith it is a gradual learning process and for Catholics is completed at confirmation.
    PeaceLikeaRiver likes this.
  14. What I found amusing when I see with non-Catholics discussing Sacrament of Baptism (of infant) is that they rarely mention Sacrament of Confirmation : the latter is perfecting or completing, as expressing its relation to baptism.
    PeaceLikeaRiver likes this.
  15. the phrase I usually hear "simply getting wet" is applicable to both Protestant and Catholic.

    As i see it: it is all FORM, formality, appearance...

    Not to demean FORM:

    But even in the secular world, we need to fill up a form to show to the public our intention.
  16. And "Faith without works is dead" - James 2:26.

    That's the other side of the argument followed by millions of Christians, I think it deserves to be respected if not agreed upon.
  17. Are you saying that the RCC does not conduct conformation?
    Major likes this.
  18. Did Paul really say 'not by works'?:rolleyes:
    Major likes this.
  19. So Adolf Hitler could technically slaughter millions of people, have a deathbed conversion and accept Christ, and get into heaven? I'm seeing something terribly wrong with this picture.
  20. Thankyou for your reply to my post #18
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