I made this post May 24th, 2008. I believe it is rather self explainatory
What is a Christian?You would think this would be a simple question to answer, but lately it seems that the line has become ambiguous to many. The most simple and accurate definitions would be one who has been born again of the Spirit, and is a member of the people of God. However, the basic problem with both of those definitions is that they speak to realities that we cannot measure.
Therefore, for the sake of our purposes of determining who is a Christian and who is not, the best definition would be one who believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ and lives out its implications. What is the gospel of Christ? It is the Christ event. The gospel is good news, and intrinsic to the definition of news of a particular event in time and space. For the gospel, this is the Christ event. Any definition of gospel that does not have the Christ event as its center defies the very nature of what gospel means. So what is the Christ event. It is:
- The Incarnation: Or more simply put, the birth. The event where the Son of God came down and took the form of a human and dwelt among us. He lowered Himself to our level; got His hands dirty so to speak. This also demands that the gospel is centered upon one particular person, or a particular gender, of a particular race and nationality, at a certain time in history: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew in the first century.
- The Sacrificial Atonement: Or more simply, the death. However, it isn't just believed that Jesus died, but that His death is a sacrifice through which we are redeemed. He died for us, in our place.
- The Resurrection: Or more simply, the... resurrection... I guess there really isn't a simpler word for it. However, it is not just that Christ rose from the grave, but that through His resurrection, Christ defeated death, and the powers of darkness, which no longer have any power over us.
- The Parousia: Or more simply, the return. Even though this event has not happened yet, it was promised us, and is attached to the gospel. This world is temporary.
So what are the implications of the gospel? Well, this is where Christians begin to argue, and for the sake of keeping things simple, I will refrain from producing a list. However, any attempt to make something central which cannot be demonstrated to necessarily derive from the above four facts is erroneous. The gospel is the center of Christian faith, and nothing else.