Monday, August 11, 2008

Christian Identity in a Pluralist World?

Question Posted by ieatsuka:
This was a question I heard someone else asked, but I have pondered it myself as well: What defines a Christian? In this pluralist, postmodern world, definitions are highly subjective, and anyone can call themselves anything. What's the difference between a Christian and a "christian"? From an essay I wrote tonight:

This is the story of "Joe," a dorm-mate at UC Berkeley last year. Joe had a friend named "Jack", with whom he went to high school. They were good friends and socialites, partying it up and having fun through high school. However in college, Jack was reached by a local church through which he heard about the Gospel in earnest, and started getting more and more involved in it.Being in the same small group at that church, Jack was visiting my dorm and stopped in my hallway. Joe was also present and we struck up a conversation. It came up that Jack had started attending church, and Joe was reasonably surprised - as it was not something you'd expect from Jack. "Church? Nah, you don't need that stuff." Jack did not make much effort to defend his actions.Joe continued by pulling out the christian cross necklace he wore - "look, I'M a Christian," said Joe. "I even wear a cross necklace! It's just that i'm not a very good Christian - i don't go to church and i drink and party, but i can still call myself a christian." And that's the story of the christian Joe and his Christian friend Jack.And I realized, anyone can call themselves a christian - just not a very good one, and *sarcastic voice* who are you to say they are not a christian? aren't christians not supposed to judge others? While Joe was joking in his claim to be a "christian," even in his joking he made a very good point. Anyone can claim to be a christian.

I wrote an entire essay with my thoughts, i'd still like to hear yours. The definitions I came up with are:A CHRISTIAN is a follower of Christ - one who follows with sincerity. Even if his heart is not wholly for God, it is progressing in that direction. A Christian cannot be worldly - if a man or woman's heart is for Christ, it precludes the selfishness, pettiness, and vanity of the world.A "christian" is someone who, for whatever reasons considers himself one, but does not have his or her heart set on Christ - anything else in their heart is moot - they are a "christian." The worst thing about one, is their illusion - of security, of spirituality, or worst of all, of "divine right." These illusions can range from somewhat benign, to unfathomably malignant.

Monday, August 4, 2008

End of Mark?

This question wasn't submitted by anyone, but because we just finished the Remarkable Jesus message series at Gracepoint Berkeley, I thought that I should open up a thread just in case someone had a question. As Pastor William covered during the message, the earlier copies of the Gospel of Mark is missing the last few verses - so we decided to cover only up to chapter 16 verse 8, since that's what we know for sure as being written by John Mark.

Question: Isn't it strange that Mark seems to be missing the resurrection account? Doesn't that mean that the resurrection account might have been made up at a later time?

Pastor William gave a good explanation of this in his message this past Sunday, so you can review your notes and post an answer here. There's also some more background (regarding dating) that we could give in support of what Pastor William said - what would that be? All you Gracepoint SET people - you should be able to briefly answer this question in 3 sentences. If not, then it's time to review your notes!