Talk:Introduction to Christianity/What is a Christian?

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Preface[edit source]

I like the article and think it could do with some unambiguous definitions on Christian, Christ, and Messiah, so readers understand these words the way Christians do. I tried the following as a preface to the article, but the references themselves may cloud, rather than clarify, the definitions:

  • Christian is English for the Greek "Christianos", which means "Follower of Christ". Christ is English for the Greek "christos" and the Hebrew "Mashiach" (Messiah), both of which mean "Anointed One". Christ and Messiah are a title, not a surname, so a Christian is a follower of "the Anointed One, Jesus of Nazareth", "Christ Jesus", "Jesus Christ", or "The Messiah". The meaning of "anointing" combines the Jewish sense of anointing a high priest, king, and prophet.

Any ideas? PeterMG 23:12, 26 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]

"Anointed" is a loaded term in Christianity, full of significance. To the average non-Christian (and even to some Christians) it means absolutely nothing. Simply translating terms will not help the lay-participant. I think "Christian" should be defined simply as "follower of Christ", with the Greek, perhaps, in a footnote (it would be preferable if non-Romanized Greek were included, as well). Any discussion of the meaning of Christ/Messiah will need a (somewhat) lengthy explanation of why "the anointed" is significant, however, driving home the significance of the term. I like the prophet/priest/king association, however. The Jade Knight 06:10, 27 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with your assessment although I now think we should try to reach people using terms they _do_ understand. We could use a legal metaphor to introduce Christianity, such as Jesus making a "last will and testament", the new testament superceding the old, who can be appointed his executor, what does his will state the executor must do, and in this sense, Christians "follow Jesus" and "do his will". Describing the legal framework on which Christianity is constructed may be easier than diving straight into the spiritual meaning of these things. Do you have a metahpor you think would be better than the legal one, or could we discussed it further? PeterMG

Earliest Writers[edit source]

"The earliest writers to record the teachings of the first century Christian community were the Gospel writers" - I'm not sure that this is an accurate statement. I don't have the source in front of me, but in A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, it is established that the letters of Paul (and most of the rest of the epistles) were actually written before the Gospels. That is why one of the earliest attestations of Christ's divinity are considered the creeds embedded in Paul's letters. Just wanted to point that out, in case precision in the matter matters :-).

--Opensourcejunkie 20:38, 22 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]