Tuesday, March 12, 2013
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN? by Eric Shuster
SECTION 2: WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?—a Definition by Eric Shuster
The next leg of the journey will define what a “Christian” is. A simple task, right? Think again. There are hundreds of definitions of a Christian that have been generated by individuals and institutions over the centuries. Not all of them can be right as the variations are sometimes mind numbing. In the next four chapters Shuster digs deeply into the definition from multiple angles to reveal the confusion, clarity, illumination and complication of coming up with a practical and meaningful definition of a Christian.
Chapter 5: It’s Confusing According to the World
The first stop is to research the definitions of a Christian offered by respected secular publications, religious organizations, America’s ten largest Christian Churches and the internet at large. The result is a convoluted set of definitions with little commonality and plenty of confusion.
Chapter 6: It’s Clear According to the Bible
The title of the chapter suggests one need only proceed to Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, or 1 Peter. 4:16 (the three places in the New Testament where the word “Christian” appears) and read a sentence that begins with “a Christian is…” Unfortunately it is not that easy. Jesus taught that we must “search the scriptures” (John 5:39). After finding little satisfaction in the previous chapter’s effort Shuster searches the Bible and uniquely segments the words attributed directly to Jesus Christ in the New Testament and those attributed to the New Testament authors starting in Acts. The effort leads to a clear two-part definition of a Believing Christian and a Practicing Christian.
Chapter 7: It’s Revealing According to the Data
The definition of a Christian developed in chapter 6 is put to the test in Chapter 7 using data from a number of landmark quantitative studies conducted in the United States from 2000 to 2012. Analysis from the studies reveals how the major Christian denominations in the United States today are performing in inspiring their members to be Believing and Practicing Christians. The results are nothing short of astounding.
Chapter 8: It’s Complicated According to the Critics
Complicating matters in defining a Christian is the existence of Modern-day Pharisees—the “critics” among the Christian community. Jesus Christ during his public ministry was often confronted by the Pharisees who challenged his authority and spiritual legitimacy. The Pharisees viewed themselves as defenders of the Mosaic Law and the oral Torah just as Modern-day Pharisees view themselves as defenders of “true Biblical doctrine” as they interpret it. A review of America’s Founding Fathers and other historical figures helps demonstrate the dangers of reckless spiritual profiling.
After completing the first two sections of the book readers are armed with a knowledge of Christian history (the “who”) and a comprehensive understanding of the profile of a Christian (the “what”) preparing them for the next leg of the journey to answer the question “where are the Christians?” While readers may have some inkling as to the answer, nothing could prepare them for what is offered by the author in Section 3.
Go to www.findyourchristianity.com to watch the book trailer, find out what type of Christian you are, and to order the book