no one denomination of Christianity owns the rights to call themselves Christian. i grew up in the Catholic church...later became Presbyterian...and now i'm a LDS. not one of these different denominations ever reffered to themselves as Christians...we were who we were...where do Born-agains and Evangelicals get off with the i'm a Christian act?
it's my understanding that if you are a follower and a disciple of Christ you are a Christian...am i wrong?... maybe i'm just tired of the "i'm more christian than X,Y, and Z denominations" threads as of late...there sure is alot of insecurtiy going around here if people have resorted to bashing people because they believe in Christ a different way than they do...remember...he is the Savior and Redeemer of all of mankind not just you and you're little neck of the woods
i leave you with one of my favorites from the Bible
2 Timothy Chapter 3
 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
This is a excpert from Wikipedia:
The term "Christian" appears in just three verses of the Bible, as detailed below. The earliest recorded use of the term outside the Bible was when Tacitus recorded that Nero blamed the "Christians" for the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD.
 Usage of the word
The first known usage of this term can be found in the New Testament of the Bible, in Acts 11:26: "the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." The term was thus first used to denote those known or perceived to be disciples of Christ. Similarly, in the two other New Testament uses of the word (Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16), it refers to the public identity of those who follow Jesus."
I don't know when common man came up with this definition but by today's vocabulary the word is commonly referred to people that believe "Jesus" Christ is the one and savior-just as the original desciples did. Many religions believe in a christ but not Jesus as the one and only Savior.
To clarify, those aren't different denominations. They are entirely different religions.
If any one of those 3 mentioned are the proper Biblical expression of Christianity, the other two CAN NOT POSSIBLY BE CHRISTIAN.
This is simply a matter of logic.
Rome claims to be the only legitmate church. Utah claims to have restored the church.
(Meanwhile, Protestants continue to teach Justification by Faith Alone, just as is oh-so-clearly and oh-so-painfully taught in Scripture. You figure out which one you want to stake eternity on....)
Oh oh me me! (hand is raised)
Since you're busily pooping on the OPs thread, I'd like to offer my opinion. How about none of the above? How are you so sure that your particular brand of interpretation is "the Way, the truth, and the Life"?
This is literally like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
One mans interpretation is as valid as any others, because religion is not subjected to any sort of proofing mechanism such as the Scientific Method. Every attempt to subject it to any real objective analysis always fails - I'll let you figure out why. Hint - Bertrand Russell and his Celestial Teapot put this to rest in the 19th century. LINK
Get this straight -YOUR FAITH IS NO MORE VALID THAN JOSEPH SMITH'S OR JERRY FALWELL OR DAVID KORESH OR MOHAMMED OR BUDDHA OR <pick your poison>
You may feel that your faith is more logical, scriptural, historical, or supported by your feelings - but remember, they are just your feelings. Other folks, with opinions and beliefs of their own, disagree. They believe just a fervently, just as deeply, and just as faithfully.
I didn't poop on anyone's thread; I just posted something really obvious that has apparently hurt one of your feelings.
Go away, troll.
Check your IM. Sorry for the hasty reply . . . I reread your response and it was germane.
I'm still right though
Not a problem. I should have been a bit more conservative in my response.
It is my belief that my faith is a gift from God.
Men being fallen, we'd never have faith in the true God unless He gave it to us.
Having said that, let's set it aside for a moment and deal with a different aspect of faith.
You're correct that all of the men or groups you listed have faith, of some sort. You're correct that all can claim to genuinely believe in....whatever they beleive in. I don't believe in atheists (see Romans ch. 1) but I don't doubt that many men genuinely believe in non-Christian deities or religious systems (some don't really have deity).
The real issue, though, is the object of that faith.
In a sense, religious discussions don't center around my faith or yours; they center around the object of our faith.
I have faith in a God that is described in the pages of Scripture.
Mormons have faith in a god that is different than mine, though their god does go by the same names as mine. Falwell (who I respected, thoug I strongly disagreed with him on some issues) had faith in the same God I do, though we had some deep (but not dividing) disagreements about some of God's decrees and methods.
Mohammed's God is most certainly not my god (regardless of what GW says...).
SO, when people discuss faith, ultimately, what is being discussed is not the genuineness of my faith versus yours, but, rather, the validity of the object of my faith, versus the object of Mohammed's faith, versus the object of Joeseph Smith's faith, and so on.
It is my belief that the God of the Bible is essentially and fundamentally differnet from other constructs of god.
(I'd even say other gods are figments of imagination, created by sinful men who would rather believe a lie than to worship the True God. But that's food for a different thread).
Anyway, the reason for discussing these things is twofold:
1) errant understandings of God are, in reality, no understanding at all, therefore, those in error don't really have faith, but only presumption. As such, they are in danger of Hell.
2) Even worse, those who teach falsely about God denigrate His character. I'm compelled to speak when men speak falsely about the God of the Universe.
In summary, it's not that I don't respect the validity of men's belief in other gods. It's that I don't believe their god even exists.
An important tenet of Christianity is that God gave us, in Scripture, everything we needed to know about Him.
When a group teaches things that contradict with Scripture, therefore, either 1) they're right, or 2) we're right, but we can't both be right.
Speaking purely from a logical standpoint, it is possible that we all can be wrong. But from a Christian standpoint, God has given me eyes to see, and ears to hear, so that, as one of His sheep, I will hear His voice and follow Him, even in matters of what I believe about His essential nature. Therefore, when I disagreew ith someone on fundamental truths about God, such as His holiness, sovereignty, the divinity of His Son, and so on, I am absolutely, 100% confident that I am correct, not because I am smarter than others, but because God's truth has been revealed to me in a manner exactly as is described in Scripture.
It's not that I hate others; if I hated them I'd silently watch them espouse their false beliefs. I'd be much more popular if I took an 'I'm OK, You're OK' approach to religion - but when all my friends are cast into Hell, how much will I be able to say I loved them if I never attempted to correct heir erronous views of God (the object of their faith)?
Any man who genuinely seeks and follows Christ is a Christian and can call himself that. Likewise with any group of people.
If a group of people who share a common belief (aka, denomination) refuses to call themselves Christian, but instead something else (as opposed to naming their denomination but *also* calling themselves Christian), they are misguided and kinda creepy. I mean, who are they claiming to follow if they won't call themselves Christian?
Now, you imply that born agains and evangelicals are calling themselves Christian to the exclusion of others. I think it's very arrogant to claim "I'm a Christian and you are not." I also believe there are very few born-agains and evangelicals who do this. Most call themselves Christian, and also call others Christian, just that they are Christians who believe differently about various points of doctrine.
I personally believe that the Roman Catholic and LDS churches to be wrong on points of doctrine, probably major points of doctrine, but I won't claim someone who is RC or LDS is "not Christian" because I know many of them truly hunger after God and seek to do His will the best they can. I believe they are misguided to seek in the RC or LDS churches, but who am I to say they are completely wrong? I know that I also do not perfectly interpret all doctrine, and I merely pray that the amount I am deceived, misguided, or mistaken is not so much that I am no longer following Christ. I pray the same for RC and LDS, and practically any other self-described Christian I know of.
Here we go again....
If the threshold for someone to be 'saved in Jesus' is to believe that He is God sent to save us (faith thus being a gift from Heaven) then all Catholics are saved.
And if in addition to believing He's Lord, and that his death on the cross openned heaven for us, we also believe him when he told us in no uncertain terms that sin leads to death and so take him to mean the only thing that can separate us from himself is our own choice to sin.... I fail to see how 'getting this wrong' would ipso facto damn us as though he'd be MAD that we didn't just believe and conclude sin in our lives, (unrepented sin ) didn't affect our salvation (especially given HIS parables wherein people were certainly damned not for lack of faith or saved for mere faith, but for failure to be charitable).
Now, it's really nice for atomized individuals 2000 years later to pooh pooh the historical record, disregard those who came before and just assume that they're right with respect to scriptural interpretation.
It's also nice for these same individuals to simultaneously preach themselves to be INFALLIBLE in their personal interpretation of scripture while autoritatively preaching that FOR SURE the Pope is NOT infallible, ever.
And which is more arogant - the person who claims their personal sins don't matter - but harp continually on how evil "the roman church" is, as though that proved anything that their sins don't prove, or the person who believes Jesus' words that while faith is vital, it's not the end all and be all of his coming to us, but that living a virtuous life - made possible by his cross - was also part and parcel of life and thus one's sin and one's church's sin IS A BIG DEAL to be worked on, asked pardon for?
If sin is no big deal to the one who believes Jesus is Lord, then why do Protestants use sin as a stick to beat up Catholics with? After all, we couldn't go to Mass without declaring with our lips that Jesus is Lord and we couldn't go to communion without professing with our hearts that He is God.
So faith we have, in spades - in fact, what takes more faith? To believe he came 2000 years ago and like all other 'religious founders' left behind only a book, or that he's still present in His Church and in the breaking of the bread? Protestants claim transubstantiation is too crazy to believe because they can't PERCEIVE the presence....when it's never been a question of PERCEPTION, but of faith.
And it's absolutely the case that the earliest Christians were far more 'catholic' in ecclesiology, theology and doctrine than anything non-Catholic post 1500.
Because they have a clear definition, flawed or accurate, of what makes a Christian, based on their tradtion and/or scritptural interpretation. If a group or person acts or believes outside that definition, they would say that person is not a Christian.
If I believe one has to wear blue sox and red belts to be a Christian, and you do not do that, what should I call you?