Friday, 30 October 2015

Briefly - What is Christianity?

Christianity is God's offer of eternal and divine life as his Son or Daughter, dwelling in a loving and creative heavenly society that potentially includes our family and friends, and Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was fully divine as a spirit, then was born as a man. By dying and resurrecting, he made it possible for all Men to become divine like him.

Jesus Christ made this as easy as possible. You merely need to accept his offer and keep on striving to become like him. You don't even need to follow his rules; you merely need to acknowledge that his rules are good and true, and that you ought to follow them - but have not fully succeeded.

In a nutshell, we are already partly divine and can, if we wish,  become fully gods after death and within Our Father's heavenly universe - by following the path made for us by our divine brother Jesus Christ.


Bruce B. said...

When I first started thinking about Christianity and reading the Bible, most of my Christians friends were Baptists who I think are Calvinist influenced. So their tendency was/is salvation that follows from a single decision or prayer followed by eternal security.
I would always read the NT and get the impression that salvation is not easy in the sense that it can be lost through willful sin and that God’s standards for us are particularly high after we become Christians –that is we are judged particularly harshly if we continue in sin. This seemed like the plain-reading meaning of the NT particularly the various epistles. My Baptist friends would always object of course but always with some detailed theological explanation as opposed to the plain-meaning of letters written to actual primitive Christians for encouragement, admonition etc.

So I tend towards the (general) Catholic way of thinking. You could say I'm a theoretical Catholic. The Anglican Church seems to give me room to believe as I do.

Bruce Charlton said...

@BB. This is intended for non Christians and anyone who is happy in his church should probably ignore it.

My understanding of scripture is that salvation is immediate, all or nothing and 'easy'. for instance the Good Thief and the Ethiopian Eunuch although it is undone by failure to repent a sin. It is theosis that is slow and difficult hence variable.

A true church is certainly a tremendous help in theosis, and lack of such a considerable disadvantage for most people, but reason and scripture seem clear that no church holds the keys to salvation.

Bruce B. said...

It’s just helpful to talk to a kindred spirt about these things.
I try my best not to read things into the text. I have the habit of focusing on the epistles since I imagine them as real, practical advice to the first Christians about how to live, worship, etc. The broad brush impression I get from them is that we are being encouraged with a hopeful confidence but warned against the real consequences of willful sin and there’s a real sense of the necessity of perseverance. . Since I am still a bad sinner with lukewarm faith, I take this to be directed at me personally. I think the practical value of the epistles is obscured because people go into the text trying to derive or prove an academic, theological system and lose site of the fact that, first and foremost, these are letters to real Christians teaching, encouraging admonishing, instructing on living out their faith.
The Ethopian enuch is an interesting case. He is told to be baptized only when and if he believes with all his heart. It is very hard to modern people to believe with all their heart or to know then they’ve reached this threshold.

Bruce Charlton said...

I have not much focused on the Epistles except for John 1, Perhaps because I find them rather alien and ambiguous. I then to return nmost often to the Gospels, because they are so inspiring and encouraging, so vivid and personal.

Seijio Arakawa said...

Of course, this begs a comparison with your earlier post in the same genre:

Bruce Charlton said...

@Seijio I have no recollection of writing that, but it seems pretty good!