What is a Christian?
Are you a Christian?
According to EvChurch.com, it means having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
According to Sun Valley Church, with whom I have no relations, they say it this way:
“The Bible does not define the word “Christian.” The term was developed by observers to describe followers of Jesus as “little Christs.” In time, it became the name for anyone who believes in the Bible and the resurrection of Jesus. Across the world, there are all kinds of people who call themselves Christians. It is used both to proclaim faith and to defend agendas.”
Wikipedia says Christians adhere to Christianity, which it describes as an “Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus,” which is funny because Abraham predates Jesus by two centuries, although the monotheistic point is accurate.
So it appears a Christian is both someone who believes in One God and follows the teachings of, and believes that, Jesus is the Son of God.
As I would understand it, this seems complete.
Still, there are others who say a true Christian adheres to several tenets, including but not limited to the belief:
The Bible is the Holy Word of God and infallible as a revelatory document of truth
That Jesus died for our sins and you must accept redemption subsequent to being saved, and therefore, are assured of eternal life after this mortal existence has been completed.
You must try your best to follow the teachings of Jesus, which include service to others, honesty, fidelity in marriage, a commitment to going to church and studying Scripture, avoid many kinds of social poisons like drugs, alcohol, pornography or any other sin that makes you impure or diverts your desire away from your relationship with God.
I would argue this is a pretty complete description of what it means to be a Christian.
There are differing degrees of being a Christian, still, and every Christian group is bound to have some unique set of principles they believe makes them more devout in some special way.
I’d like to believe I am a Christian. With the exception of the fact that I study the Urantia Book, which is sometimes viewed as being heretic by some Christians because it presents a differing view of the Life and teachings of Jesus, I share much in common with my fellow Christians. I pray like they do (assuming to the same God), I believe in the divinity of Jesus, and to a certain extent, I do accept the importance of the Bible. But unlike many Christians, I do not share in the notion the Bible is a sacred and inviolate text. I happen to study a book I believe is a new revelation of truth, and I am comfortable with this belief, despite the fact many so-called Christians would dismiss me as being a betrayer of the Christian faith.
It is this schism that alienates me from identifying as a Christian. I cannot share my knowledge of the Urantia Book in an open way because it would, by measure of being unorthodox, offend basic Christian teachings. This is why religious litmus tests are often- times charged with being exclusive, and in today’s world, being exclusive isn’t good business.
The Gospels have been edited many times to incorporate Jewish teachings, as well as the various other religious influences during its time and day. The Urantia Book, for my purposes, presents a fuller presentation of the actual life and teachings of Jesus, and so as a follower of this Man-God, I find the Urantia narrative much more satisfying. And I would suggest to those Christians who hear my voice or read my words to peruse the 4th part of the Urantia Book and judge for yourself. There is nothing devious, or cryptic, or mysterious about the book, it reads like a great biography.
A true Christian follows the truth wherever it may lead; you have the Spirit of Truth in you, it will tell you whether teachings are true or false.
There is no attempt to devalue or minimize the Bible and the Gospels, they present a stirring presentation of Jesus, and there is no taking away from this fact. I suspect many people who feel threatened by the Urantia Book do so because they feel authority being drawn away from the Bible, which is again untrue.
In many ways the Urantia Book brings more clarity to the Bible, context, if you will, into the many stories presented in both the New and Old testament.
For example in the Urantia Book story Mary is not a virgin. She was chosen to deliver the child of Promise, but she and husband Joseph share in this child’s creation. Immaculate conception should not be necessary in to believe the fact the story of a divine Bestowal. As it is explained, Mary and Joseph both possessed worthwhile traits which made them a perfect choice for rearing the Son of Man. Having been fathered by Joseph takes nothing away from the miracle of a Creator Son bestowing himself as a helpless babe to mankind.
The three Wise Men are a true story. The good news was delivered to them because it was a momentous universal event.
There were clear “miracles” that did occur in the life of the Bestowal Son, but they had a specific and enlarged purpose, not just arbitrary miracles because Jesus is portrayed as having superpowers.
We must recall in those days most were illiterate, so storys grow fanciful by the generation. It is indeed amazing we even have an account at all of Jesus life, and while many of his teachings were preserved in scripture, many were not. Many of truths were lost. In this way, having access to his entire life is exciting. For the first time in two-thousand years we can all read about his life and learn from it in the Urantia Book.
The Urantia Book is about filling gaps, and if the revelatory information in the book is sourced to angelic personalities, show me where in the Bible t says God has finished speaking to us, that further communication is not rendered under any circumstances.
The Urantia Book isn’t here to upstage the Bible, it’s here to reinforce its message to a new generation of thinkers who have lost sight of God because of science and secularism, the idea that God is no longer necessary.
The Urantia Book belongs to the 21st Century, and it brings a much-needed double-take of what Deity really means, what God really means to us, what divinity really means to us, and why human beings are so important to God.
Man needs a revision, a reboot of his religious faith, but he will refuse to go backward. This is why traditional religion is losing membership. The trumpet blasts of the Middle Ages will not call to man, the rules-laden Church is losing its grip on man because religion is not adapting to new ideas of cosmology and spirituality. It is losing its appeal because it is stifled and has the stuffy odor of antiquity.
The Urantia Book fuses religion, science, history and philosophy into one dynamic ideal. Don’t you think that is the correct approach to coming to the correct conclusions about life?
If the religionist argues man cannot live on bread alone, and the scientist is dumbfounded by why he cannot figure out why life is, something must bring these two divergent ideas together, so whether it is the Urantia Book today, or some other revelation in the future, whatever that thing is that can harmonize faith and reason, will always reveal itself if such an ideal is centered on being true.
If it is true that a grand Deity or Supreme Mind created us, this truth will bear itself out in revelation.
So it’s not just about being a Christian, it’s about doing the one thing Jesus did, which was to trust in God, and as a result of this trust, come the desire to serve all men who are, by Christian definition, your brothers and sisters who also are the sons of daughters of God.
And this idea will someday transform this planet in ways we cannot even imagine.