the weblog of Alan Knox

What is a Christian?

Posted by on Jan 29, 2007 in blog links, definition | 4 comments

Scot McKnight over at Jesus Creed answers the question, “What is a Christian?” After surveying the Synoptic Gospels, John, and Paul, he comes to the following definition:

The one who is a Christian is the one whose very being and identity are shaped by Jesus.

Could we apply this definition to the church? The church is all those whose very being and identity are shaped by Jesus.

What else needs to be added to this definition?


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  1. 1-29-2007

    Then the tricky question comes in: How does one become a Christian?

  2. 1-29-2007


    That is a “tricky” question, which I believe can be answered many different ways. I prefer the simple answer of by the grace and power of God.

    I’m still wondering, if we use that definition of “church”, is anything missing? Is that a valid definition of “church”?


  3. 1-29-2007

    Well, on the heels of our Wed. night Bible study, I’ll go to Acts 11 to add:

    The church is all those whose very being and identity are shaped by Jesus, who are faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.

    (that’s Barnabas’ exhortation to the disciples in Antioch who Luke refers to as “the church” and who would be the first to be called Christians).

    My question then is, what is that steadfast purpose? I think it could be the “one anothers” we practice among our church family.

  4. 1-29-2007


    I can’t believe that I just saw you and Samuel! I didn’t know that you had commented here, or I would have talked about this with you.

    I think you have brought a very interesting passage to our discussion. I have heard many things added to a definition of the church, but not this passage. I do believe that the church will be “faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.” I’m wondering if that would be included in the definition of having our “being and identity shaped by Jesus” – could part of our “being and identiy” be that we are “faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose”?

    I do agree with you, though, that the church should be “faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose”. This brings an interesting point to our definition of the church. Thank you for pointing out this passage.


    p.s. I’m looking forward to tasting your chocolate-chip cookies!