What does it mean to be a Christian?

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Please watch these two videos. In both videos you can find individuals who believe they are followers of Christ and are performing God’s will.

Now that you have had a chance to view both videos, which of these two do you feel showed Christianity more accurately in the actions of those portrayed?

One might even paraphrase Luke 10:36 and ask which of those portrayed in these videos was a neighbour?

I didn’t pick these videos because I wanted to portray Mormons as Christian and Baptists as not Christian. In fact, there are many Mormons who don’t emulate Jesus’s life in their own. Likewise, there are many Baptists who are true disciples of Jesus.

Consider this passage from the Sermon on the Mount:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 7:21)

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we often use this scripture to justify the belief that we are saved by our works, and not by simply accepting Jesus into one’s life.

In my opinion, that interpretation is misguided.

This scripture isn’t separating the Mormons from other Christians, or the sheep from the goats (see Matt 25:32–33). It has nothing to do with denominations. There will be no division of the children of Christ in heaven. The children of Christ will have one faith, looking forward with one eye, and having our hearts knitted in unity (see Mosiah 18:21; 4 Nephi 1:17; Eph 4:5).

Missionary work in the Mormon Church shouldn’t be about producing more Mormons, it’s should be about creating new Christians. There will be no Mormons in the Celestial Kingdom, only Christians.

Too often in the Mormon Church I hear the echoes of the Zoramites preaching from their Rameumptom: how we are separated from other Christians; how we do not believe in the traditions of other Christians; how we have been elected to be saved while all around us revel in debauchery and are going to hell; that we are a chosen and holy people.

In fact, I heard this very thing in Gospel Doctrine today as class members listed off the various evil acts of today’s society.

But why don’t we get it? Why can’t we see that it’s not just the Westborough Baptist Churches out there who aren’t Christian? Why can’t we see that many Mormons think they are going to the Celestial Kingdom even though all they do is say, “Lord, Lord?”

Did Jesus stand on a street corner calling sinners to repentance? Did he sit in a Sunday School class extolling the righteousness of his Church members and badmouthing the sinners of the world?

Of course not. He showed charity. There is a reason why charity is called the pure love of Christ (see Moro 7:47). He did not condemn the sinners (see John 8:11); he ate with them (see Mark 2:15).

Consider this passage, which I believe sums up succinctly the ministry of Jesus:

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matt 5:44)

Imagine a world where all Christians were actually, well, Christian.

2 thoughts on “What does it mean to be a Christian?

  1. Yes, yes, yes…
    But if your definition of being a Christian means acting as Jesus would act, that is a very high standard indeed. Every human being would fall short.

    Insisting that we all act as Jesus would act is so overwhelming it has me starting to get depressed. Who gets saved and who doesn’t get saved is outside of my ability to judge.

    Jesus demands that we love even those who despitefully use us. Saul of Tarsus used to carry around signs that said God hates Christians but then he became Paul.

    Perhaps we shouldn’t so hard on others?

  2. Who gets saved and who doesn’t get saved is outside of my ability to judge.

    Agreed. Let’s just try to live a Christ-like life, loving others, and let Jesus do all the judging.

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