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The mark of a true Christian?

(148 Posts)
MrsGinnyPotter Thu 29-Oct-15 11:22:14

The sermon was saying that as a Christian, there should be nothing on this earth that you would take now in exchange for an eternal life in heaven with God.
Now in theory this is fine but when you start putting it into real life situations - it's really hard to think 'I would choose God over this' e.g. If it was between something extreme like God or your child's life - how can you make that decision and live with it?

With smaller things it's fine -examples they gave in church were things like 'never chocolate again or winning a million pounds' which would all be easy to say no and choose God but something life altering it would be much harder.
Does it make you a bad person or not a true Christian for thinking like this?

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Thu 29-Oct-15 11:33:43

I don't think so. It seems selfish to me to choose your own redemption over someone else's life or suffering, for example. But I am rather a relaxed Christian so perhaps not the best person to answer smile

It's all very well for someone to preach about these things, but it isn't a situation you are likely to encounter.

chillycurtains Thu 29-Oct-15 11:37:27

I think the point is that you trust God so much that you trust him with everything in your life. So it's not a case of your child's life or God because God isn't going anywhere and you trust God with your child's life and future.

Not sure if that makes sense typing it like this. It's quite hard to explain.

Fink Thu 29-Oct-15 21:00:09

I've often thought that sort of thing is all very well in theory, but it's a bit pointless to actually worry about it (or, in this case, to make other people worry about it via a sermon) since it's almost impossible to know how you would react in an extreme situation until (God forbid) you ever had to face it.

Really you just get on with day to day Christian life and trust that, if an extreme situation comes along, God will give you the grace to make the right decision.

... Or I could just be a really bad Christian.

Screaminlikeabanshee2 Thu 29-Oct-15 21:04:58

Fink I think you're spot on.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Thu 29-Oct-15 21:09:28

Not specifically a Christian, but wouldn't choosing your child's life over your own place in heaven pretty much guarantee youva place in heaven anyway?
Or is that not how it works?

gingerdodger Fri 30-Oct-15 08:54:36

I think the mark of a true Christian and a perfect one are two different things. A perfect Christian would always act in a loving way towards the needy and vulnerable in accordance with Christ's commandment 'to love one another as I have lived you'. True Christians aim for that but fall short as we are not perfect.

I think the example given is a strange one as it just isn't what we are called to do as Christians. Christianity is, to me fundamentally, about our faith in God directing us to those loving acts. I think we can choose to perform other acts to express our faith but without seeking to try and follow that commandment it is hollow.

Lent is an example, we can give things up because it may help us reflect on our faith by taking our mind away from the material and focusing on the spiritual, but without the faith and love above it is just an act of self denial.

Hope that makes sense.

gingerdodger Fri 30-Oct-15 08:57:08

I meant to say I also think Fink is spot on. It's hard enough to strive to live a Christian life in this world anyway without worrying about such hypothetical situations. Surely we can make more of a difference applying the principles to our day to day lives?

QofF Fri 30-Oct-15 09:15:35

Agree with ginger and fink. I think the message you cited just smacks of the "I'm a better Christian than you" game that some people like to play. Or the "if you don't believe this then you are not a true Christian" game played by both believers and non-believers at times. And I see no examples in the Gospels of this being the way we are instructed to be or any Sophies Choice type scenarios given for us to prove our faith. Love God and love others as Jesus loved us. And know that God knows we are not perfect and are human and by His grace loves us regardless.

cdtaylornats Fri 30-Oct-15 15:53:18

Didn't the Bible cover the God rather than child problem with Isaac? Presumably God would test your faith up to the point of sacrifice.

headinhands Sat 31-Oct-15 16:21:02

And know that God knows we are not perfect and are human and by His grace loves us regardless

Which makes sense to you in the 21st century but doesn't tally with the bibke. The God of the OT couldn't be more different to the god you describe in your quote above.

The thing about the concept of the 'mark of a true Christian' is that other people will have that too so there is no one thing that distinguishes a Christian from a non-Christian. The only thing that you could possibly point to would be obedience to that God to the point of doing something you felt personally uncomfortable about but the difficulty with that is that God tells different Christians different things: 'I want you to condemn gay marriage' and 'I want you to condemn the actions of those who condemn gay marriage'. Also people of other faiths do things in the name of their religion that otherwise good people wouldn't do such as the people who flew the planes into the twin towers. They believed they were responding to their God by sacrificing their lives for a greater cause. Were they true/good muslims?

I'm not sure I understand what the OP's preacher is getting at. It might be that he (and I assume it was a he) was saying that nothing is more important that our relationship with God. I suspect there is something else going on as when I hear 'true' Christian or 'proper' Christian what I hear is code for 'people we approve of.' You hear it most in Protestant churches particularly at the conservative end of the spectrum where there is a lot working out who is in and who is out.

It might be worth asking the preacher for clarification if it still niggles OP.

Retrorocks Sun 01-Nov-15 13:53:39

The mark of a Christian is that you believe in Jesus Christ, that He is the son of God, that he died and rose again. Everything else is secondary.
Once you remove the above then you are no different to any other person of any other faith or no faith. Anyone can be good, loving, kind, generous etc. It is the is belief in Jesus Christ that is the core of Christian belief.

There is no true Christian, it's either you are one or you are not.

AlanPacino Thu 05-Nov-15 06:36:44

The mark of a Christian is that you believe in Jesus Christ, that He is the son of God, that he died and rose again.

So Satan's a Christian then?

Djelibeyb Thu 05-Nov-15 16:21:35

So Satan's a Christian then?

No because semantics. A Christian believes that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Saviour and that he died and rose again for us to save us from our sins. I'm pretty sure that although Satan no doubt believes in Christ he does NOT accept him as his lord and saviour.

AlanPacino Thu 05-Nov-15 19:10:24

does not accept him*

And we're back at the start. How do you know someone has accepted him because from all the posts so far no one can agree on any actual behaviour that says either way if someone is a Christian.

gingerdodger Thu 05-Nov-15 19:42:02

That's because it is ultimately between that person and God, not for us to judge who is or isn't a good Christian but for us to try and live the best life in faith we can.

EdithSimcox Fri 06-Nov-15 09:31:48

Doing the loving thing, even when it hurts. That's it for me. Not what your pastor said OP.

FrancisdeSales Wed 30-Dec-15 00:26:23

Heroic virtue is the mark of sainthood.

LilyNoPad Wed 30-Dec-15 12:00:09

I think the term Christian can be misleading. You can believe in Christ as your saviour but still not be a disciple. So, the important question I think would be, what is the mark of a true disciple?

A disciple will follow Jesus and walk as He walked. You need to give up your right to yourself completely. Its that narrow path that people assume means just 'accepting Christ' gets you onto. I believe not many choose the narrow path because it requires us to be a living sacrifice. And yes, this does mean loving Him more than your spouse, children, parents etc. I think that it only possible when you realise that His love for them is so much more than ours, so we put them into His hands...put them on the altar so to speak, just like Abraham did with Isaac.

AlanPacino Wed 30-Dec-15 20:18:13

*just like Abraham did with* Isaac_*
Any parent who displays a willingness to murder their child just prove their unquestioning commitment is not to be respected. Can you imagine how Isaac felt. Imagine you got hold of your child, held a knife to their throat just to prove your commitment to someone else!? If you did that you are not fit to be care for children and need psychiatric help.

LilyNoPad Sat 02-Jan-16 19:49:10

I totally understand your reaction to what I said. Hopefully I can explain further. I was referring to the spiritual application of this story, which is to trust the Father so implicitly with the lives of our beloved children that we give up our right to them to Him. I had to do this with my son a couple of years ago and it was hard. He is the most adorable little boy and he helped me get through an incredibly difficult period in my life just by being him! My faith was very weak then and I couldnt trust in God at all. My love for my son felt so overwhelming that I would often think about how unbearable it would be if I lost him. Anyway, I went through a very dark period of depression but in the midst of this I discovered the true heart of God. After 20 years of being a 'Christian' I finally got to know Him. He literally brought me up from out of the pit. He showed me who He is and who I am in Him, and just how much He loves every single living being on this earth. He created us all and redeemed us all through putting His only beloved son on that altar 2000 years ago. My beloved Father does not condone child sacrifice...He made that clear when He said it wouldn't even enter His mind what the Molech worshippers did to their children (Jeremiah 32:35). His heart is pure. I trust in that...I trust Him completely. The one over-riding message from my time in that pit was "God is faithful". Once we understand this, we can really start to grow in our faith.

To get back to the original point , it became increasingly clear that I had made an idol of my son. I loved him above everything, including God. But I was now in a different place. I still loved/love him so much it aches, but I now love my heavenly Father above everything. If He took my darling boy home I think I could cope, because I know that God loves him even more than I do. I trust Him. Which is what Abraham did. He knew God and trusted Him, even with the life of his beloved son Isaac. As for what Isaac went through, I cannot even begin to imagine, and the scriptures don't give much away. But Isaac also had faith, and there is no hint that his relationship with his father was ruined by what happened that night.

I've prattled on for long enough. I really hope this makes a bit more sense?

AlanPacino Sun 03-Jan-16 13:33:56

if he took my darling boy home

Would you seek medical attention if your ds was unwell? How would you know God just hadn't decided to call him 'home'? Why does God call 'home' vastly more children from the third world than he does in the uk?

AlanPacino Sun 03-Jan-16 13:37:42

He said it wouldn't even enter His mind what the Molech worshippers did to their children (Jeremiah 32:35).

But trying to get Abraham to sacrifice his son, making Abraham believe God wanted him to sacrifice his son to him, how does that tally a God who abhors it. It's intellectually disingenuous to have access to that information and maintain that God was horrified by the act of people killing their children to please a deity.

AlanPacino Sun 03-Jan-16 13:38:55

referring to the spiritual application of the story

Do you believe that actually happened? That there was a man called Abraham a God asked him to sacrifice his son?

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