What is a "good Christian"?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
John2
Posts: 2777
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

What is a "good Christian"?

Post by John2 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:05 pm

I could ask the same thing about Jews or whoever, but I'm more confused by what people mean by being a "good" Christian. Is it something you do? Is it something you think? What, exactly, are these things?

It makes sense to me when I picture "Jewish Christianity"; in that case I see it as being like Chabad messianism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chabad_messianism

And since they are Rabbinic Jews, I know they revere the oral Torah and rabbinic traditions, so it's ultimately modern Pharisaic Judaism plus a messianism that involves/incorporates the death of their Messiah as part of the messianic "process."

In the case of "Jewish Christians," I see them as being similarly derived from the Pharisees but rejecting the oral Torah (like other Fourth Philosophic factions), plus a messianism that involves/incorporates the death of their Messiah as part of the messiainic "process."

But "Pauline" Christianity is the version that prevailed, and this is where I get confused. What does a "good" Pauline Christian do? it seems to me to involve simultaneously rejecting and cherry picking the written Torah, but the cherry picked parts seem to vary. For example, some Christians condemn homosexuality because of Leviticus (as does Paul), but I have the impression that most Christians don't observe the commandment not to wear clothing with mixed fibers. Why one but not the other? The narrative itself says not to add or take anything away from the Torah (as does Jesus).

I get the impression from Jesus that a "good" Christian (or Jew, rather, in my view) ought to reject the oral Torah, live a life of poverty, have a special regard for the poor, and in some cases have a stricter interpretation of the written Torah than the Pharisees (e.g., regarding divorce). Jesus seems like an apocalyptic Karaite to me.

But then there is the "thought" side of things. What does a "good Christian" think (in addition to believing that Jesus was the Messiah and the world is coming to an end)?
Show me something built to last.

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 10786
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: What is a "good Christian"?

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:09 pm

a mensch
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

John2
Posts: 2777
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: What is a "good Christian"?

Post by John2 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:26 pm

This is becoming clearer to me now. I was at first wondering what Christians think is a "good Christian," but now I don't care. Now I'm only interested in what I think, based on my understanding of the NT, with a preference for Mark (the short version) and Matthew (the NT and Nazarene versions), supplemented by James, 1 Peter and Jude (which I view as being genuine).

On that basis I think a "good Christian" is someone who:

1. Believes that Jesus was the Messiah/Daniel's "son of man"

2. Observes the written Torah and Jesus' interpretations of it and rejects the oral Torah

3. Believes that the End Time is imminent

4. Believes that their belief in Jesus as the Messiah/Daniel's "son of man" gives them the power to heal people of illnesses and evil spirits

5. Travels and preaches Jesus' philosophy while wearing only one tunic and a pair of sandals and carrying only a staff and no bag, money, food or change of clothing

6. Prays quietly and alone

7. Does not worry about what they will wear or eat tomorrow

8. Has little to no interest in acquiring money

9. Loves their enemies

10. Loves Jesus more than their parents and children
Show me something built to last.

perseusomega9
Posts: 522
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:19 am
Contact:

Re: What is a "good Christian"?

Post by perseusomega9 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:10 am

A good and True(TM) christian believes:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the begotten of God the Father, the Only-begotten, that is of the essence of the Father.

God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten and not made; of the very same nature of the Father, by Whom all things came into being, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.

Who for us humanity and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate, was made human, was born perfectly of the holy virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.

By whom He took body, soul, and mind, and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.

He suffered, was crucified, was buried, rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven with the same body, [and] sat at the right hand of the Father.

He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father, to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there is no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, in the uncreated and the perfect; Who spoke through the Law, prophets, and Gospels; Who came down upon the Jordan, preached through the apostles, and lived in the saints.

We believe also in only One, Universal, Apostolic, and [Holy] Church; in one baptism in repentance, for the remission, and forgiveness of sins; and in the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgement of souls and bodies, and the Kingdom of Heaven and in the everlasting life

John2
Posts: 2777
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: What is a "good Christian"?

Post by John2 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:13 pm

I think those kinds of things (the parts that apply to Jesus anyway) can be subsumed by my number one above and I am not interested in details like that:
... a "good Christian" is someone who:

1. Believes that Jesus was the Messiah/Daniel's "son of man"
Show me something built to last.

theeternaliam
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:33 am

Re: What is a "good Christian"?

Post by theeternaliam » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:21 pm

There is none good but God alone. But, if you obey Jesus's commands you are one with Him and hence one with the Father.

Lord, we need more workers. Send more, please, in Jesus name
Amen

John2
Posts: 2777
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: What is a "good Christian"?

Post by John2 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:44 pm

... if you obey Jesus's commands ...

But what are "Jesus' commands"?

I've outlined what I think are the most important ones above, basing them on short Mark and Matthew (supplemented by James, 1 Peter and Jude, which I think are genuine). In my view, while it is interesting, I think Luke is a pro-Pauline rewrite of Mark and Matthew (as per the Farrer Hypothesis) and thus does not represent "Jesus' commands" as well as Mark and Matthew do, and I see little to no value in John in that respect as well.

So there is educated cherry picking going on here, but mainly broadly so because I'm more or less fine with short Mark and Matthew as they are. What drives the cherry picking is the difference between what I think Jesus taught and what Paul taught, and I think Luke and John ultimately champion the latter over the former. It is a judgment call on my part, but it works for me in terms of understanding what I think "Jesus' commands" were.

And there are things Jesus says in Mark and Matthew that I agree with and things I do not. I like that he rejected the oral Torah and championed the poor, but I don't like his suffering-and-dying-first-and-conquering-later philosophy, and the same goes for other Fourth Philosophers Josephus says did "not value dying any kinds of death" and the "resolution" that "they show when they undergo pain," like the suicide of those on Masada and Josephus' companions. It's all "dumb" in my book.

I feel bad for Jesus and everyone else who believed in the OT and its messianism and End Time ideas, since it ultimately led to the destruction of Fourth Philosophers -including Jesus- and the Kitos revolters and the followers of Bar Kochba and of Jerusalem (twice) by the Romans. And while I can appreciate their sincere belief in the Torah/OT, I don't share it and lament the destruction it led to.
Show me something built to last.

theeternaliam
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:33 am

Re: What is a "good Christian"?

Post by theeternaliam » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:39 am

Little to know value in John? What?! In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God and thee e Logos was God. If that doesn't do it for ya, you should consider it a summons to seek wisdom and understanding from the most High.

But, yea Jesus commands are delineated in scriptures for us. And I do think Paul had thee e holy spirit and can help us in this respect, even nearly 2000 years later after he wrote. But I agree I think I like James epistle best of all. And gospel of Thomas helps me a lot. And some other gnoKistic texts. But those are more philosophy for me, important for shifting my attitude towards reality. But the canonical gospe,s are great for learning Jesus's practical advice.

But in GoT, He said, chop a piece of wood and you will find me, lift a rock and I will be underneath it. I think that implies you can read the book of nature to learn about God. And He also places His law in our heart and mind.

To me, obeying Jesus's commands means serving Him as a knight would serve a king, or rather, I may be more of a serf. And poverty is part of that for me. And continence and ascetical living some seasons, but maybe not always. I used to be more attached to asceticism. I've learned to accept it's not always necessary or even helpful, either that or the devils been tempting me away.

One of my favorite prophecies is Jeremiah 31:31-34, in which we are told what the new covenant will be like. When God will put His law directly in our heart and no man will have to teach another man about God. that new covenant.has come. So, I'm not one for trying to shove my understanding of God down anyone's throat, or rather, I try not to be like that.

But, you asked me what I thought Jesus' commands are. I think humility and contrition are very important for a follower of the Way. The beatitudes are also helpful to remind us if we are in God's good graces or not. (Notice how the beatitudes are like the blessings and curses of Moses in Deuteronomy except without the curses? ) blessed are the poor, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the meek, blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice. God also commands us to help those in need, in GoT jesus tells us to be passersby in this world. He tells us to worship God in Spirit and not the letter of the law as the pharisees
Last edited by theeternaliam on Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

theeternaliam
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:33 am

Re: What is a "good Christian"?

Post by theeternaliam » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:55 am

John2 wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:44 pm


And there are things Jesus says in Mark and Matthew that I agree with and things I do not. I like that he rejected the oral Torah and championed the poor, but I don't like his suffering-and-dying-first-and-conquering-later philosophy, and the same goes for other Fourth Philosophers Josephus says did "not value dying any kinds of death" and the "resolution" that "they show when they undergo pain," like the suicide of those on Masada and Josephus' companions. It's all "dumb" in my book.
Jesus said if you learn how to suffer you will learn how not to suffer. Also, you agree with showing mercy on the poor. That might involve an attitude of a boddhisattva who chooses to live in this world with the poor and needy, to commiserate and to bear our cross with hope and faith in our reward at the end of our earthly race. And if we have the Holy Spirit we can be a light to others who are suffering to help guide them out if it, as Jesus Christ did for us. So I wouldn't call it dumb. Quite the opposite. The wisdom of God is foolishness to man, so it may appear foolish to others if we show contempt for the flesh. But if we have the Spirit of God, we will have the peace that surpasseth all understanding, even in circumstances that would be repulsive to worldly men. As for the suicide on masada, I don't know if that was right, but it seems to me to have been instigated by politics, and if ya live by the sword ya die by the sword. I think Jesus teaches us to be detached from the political games of this world and place our treasures where neither moth nor rust can corrupt.

theeternaliam
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:33 am

Re: What is a "good Christian"?

Post by theeternaliam » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:01 am

John2 wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:44 pm


I feel bad for Jesus and everyone else who believed in the OT and its messianism and End Time ideas, since it ultimately led to the destruction of Fourth Philosophers -including Jesus- and the Kitos revolters and the followers of Bar Kochba and of Jerusalem (twice) by the Romans. And while I can appreciate their sincere belief in the Torah/OT, I don't share it and lament the destruction it led to.
It's not just the OT that believes in messianism and end times, almost all religions speak of such. From Zoroastrianism to Norse paganism, to the Aztecs, Maya, Hopi and other American tribes, to some Hindu beliefs, and even materialistic beliefs like Marxism and scientism/transhumanist ideas of the singularity

Post Reply