What do you need to know To be a Christian
January 13, 2009, 09:56
Filed under: Uncategorized

Thank you for the input on the question.  The depth of thought and biblical base of those who answered the original question is both humbling and satisfying.   Now here is my take on the situation, aimed not at the pulpit but the pew.

  1. There is a God. [I feel today we must start at this point.   Socially we are in an age far distant from God.] 
  2. God is singular, an individual with a personality,  goals, thoughts, feelings, all so far above us as to be mysterious and beyond our full comprehension.  He is Perfect, Loving, Just and Merciful.
  3. This God not only created everything but as in “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,” desires a relationship with us.
  4. Humans, by their own choice and nature of rebellion within each one, have failed to live up to the standards of a perfect God.  This has resulted in death, pain and suffering.  We are separated from God by sin.
  5. Jesus Christ,  Yeshua the Messiah, fulfills God’s  desire for a relationship with us, His creation, “but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world.”
  6. In the greatest expression of Love ever conceived Jesus walked among us as a man, led a sinless life and paid our penalty on the cross. “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, ”                                                                     
  7. Those who acknowledge God’s authority,  repent of their sins, cry out to Jesus to forgive, cleanse, make whole ,guide and lead them in a new God honoring path, will be accepted without fail, and will never, ever, be abandoned by a loving Savior, who will send them the Comforter in this life and bring them into the next eternal existence of the Joy of God’s presence. 


14 Comments so far
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Fascinating question, and very timely from my end of things. We are just starting some adult ed. classes here at Prairie Lakes, and I’ve been writing curriculum for a couple of them. One class is on Loving God. The class will consist primarily of the core doctrines of the Christian faith.

As I was writing it, I was going through some of my systematic theology material from my seminary days, and came across the good ol’ “ordo salutis”… the order of salvation, i.e. what happens in the life of a person from pre-conversion, to conversion, to resurrection.

In fact, I can still remember the day in class that we were talking about it. The professor was this amazingly intelligent, gifted communicator. Younger guy, with a heart for students and a heart for the local church. So after he had facilitated a discussion on “What do you think someone needs to know in order to be saved?”, he took us to Luke 7:36-50, the story of the woman “sinner” who wept at Jesus’ feet, poured perfume on them, and then wiped them with her hair. Jesus then pronounces her sins as forgiven.

Then our professor asked us:

“Did the woman believe that Jesus was sinless? Did she believe that he was born of a virgin? Did she ask Jesus to come into her heart? Did she trust in his sacrifice? Jesus hadn’t even died yet. So how was he able to pronounce her sins as being forgiven?”

And then he said:

“All the woman knew is that she needed Jesus.”

And he left us with that.

So, whenever I’m asked that question, I tell that story, and conclude with that answer. I’m content with that… and content to be judged by that.

Comment by Jesse

Thanks for sharing, you were blessed to have such an instructor. I will remember that story.
I have a fear, of people today who know they need jesus , but think of Jesus in a really non-biblical way. The woman is the story was sure Jesus was not a spaceman. She knew Jesus was not a spirit because she could feel Him. she did not just meet the Savior , she must have heard Him.
I love the story, but do you think just maybe, she knew a couple of the above points? Either way Jesus can forgive who He wishes, no argument from me!

Comment by willohroots

The story is a pretty good answer to the idea of what do you NEED to know to be saved? I think ignorance can be overlooked if it is not willful. When you ask the question about mentally challenged people I would say they don’t need to know much. When asked about someone who is educated and is familiar with the bible the answer changes.

My question would be more along the lines of what Will was talking about. How far from orthodox Christianity can you stray and still be saved? What if you accept abortion or gay marriage or premarital sex. Have you still embraced the gospel if you say Jesus is you saviour? What about the bible? Do you have to say scripture is in errant to be a true Christian?

The Catholic church claimed the right to decalre anathamas. That is to make certain doctrines so essential that those who rejected them were not Christian. Do we have any of those today? If so, how do we know what they are?

Comment by Randy

Randy you said my my thoughts! Does my church, or you or I have the right, or even the responsibility to declare another individual or denomination, anathemas? The modern inclination is ‘anything goes”. Is that Christian?

Comment by willohroots

It seems that “anything goes” is the wrong answer. But what is the other choice? If someone declares someone or some group to be so unothodox as to be unchristian then are we not claiming an infallibility? If we are saying that the difference goes beyond legitimate disagreement about biblical interpretation and enters into the realm of being spiritually dead. Then we are saying that we are 100% sure your way of reading scripture is wrong. Can we ever be so sure?

Comment by Randy

“anything goes”

When hear this, all I can think of is the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, and taking the log out of my own eye.

I’m not sure we can ever be so sure.

Comment by Justin

If Randi and Justin,and Jesse and Will can’t agree
on some commonalities, there is a problem. Just can’t do anything goes, there are to many things going these days. tomaoorow i will post a C.S. Lewis piece I found, see what you all think.

Comment by willohroots

Good points all, in my opinion. But let me drive back a little on to the story in Luke. The woman didn’t just “say” or “claim” that she knew that she needed Jesus. She demonstrated it by an act of repentance: weeping, bowing, blessing, humbling… even pleading, in a way. Repentance is always a good measure or standard to evaluate someone’s claim to knowing Jesus, or knowing that they need him.

Comment by Jesse Tink

I think you have laid out a very direct and concise progression of belief that leads to salvation. Thank you for starting with “there is a God.” As you pointed out, this is a necessity today.
And to Randy’s question about what is acceptable belief versus not, I would say that if something is defined by Scripture to be wrong (abortion/murder, gay marriage, which automatically implies gay sex, and premarital sex)would be difficult to defend and still claim submission to God’s authority. If God says something is wrong and we or other believers say it is right, can we truly say we call Him Lord?

Comment by jeofurry

Will, I don’t know that we disagree–or can’t agree as it were. I saved comment on your list, but I really have no substantive issue with it. Problem is the exceptions, and there will be exceptions. If I read the Gospels right, the exceptions are the ones Jesus hung out with.

My problem with “anything goes” is that I don’t believe it to be the eventual or logical ending to a lack of having The List. It’s a mantra I’ve heard all to often to support an exclusive standard of behavior or acceptance, set forth by a group seeking to exclude somebody. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But it probably is just me.

It has always been my opinion that the HS prevents anything from going; that we can tell disciples by their love for one another, and that the fruits of the Spirit is a fail-safe indicator of which tree the sap comes from.

Comment by Justin

I have always found it difficult to bring unbelievers to Christ by words only. I do share scripture continually with those I encounter. But I see much more response through relationship….after genuine acts of service, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and credit given openly to the Holy Spirit. The 7 steps are great!

Comment by internetelias

If words alone would do it we would be encouraged by scripture to be great speakers of, not doers of the word.
I have always found it hard to bring unbelievers to Christ period!

Comment by willohroots

I’m thinking of Matthew 25, the parable of the sheep and the goats. It is the king who determines who receives eternal life/punishment. He commends to eternal life those who did his will, ministering to others. But notice, they didn’t realize it was Christ they were ministering to, they were just busy being about the Father’s work. This implies (at least to me) that maybe God isn’t quite so concerned about our theology as we might think. After all, it was the Pharisees that endlessly debated theology and they were not commended for doing so.

Just my $.02 which is probably only worth $.01 in the current economic climate.

Comment by Sally

Sally, If we were saved by theology we wouldn’t need the cross, just earn a M.Div. and go to glory. I am not sure what the Pharisees debated was theology as much as Legalism, but I get your point. Still although we start with milk we are told we need meat, if not for salvation, then for service.
Your 2 cents are worth as much as the widow’s mite here in the Roots.

Comment by willohroots

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