What is the minimum requirement to call oneself a "Christian"?

This is an offshoot of this thread, in which the question is raised more than once as to the authenticity of those who call themselves “Christians” and “Believers in God”. What are the minimum requirements for a person to call her/himself a Christian? Is merely saying it good enough? Must one read the Bible and follow the teachings of Jesus, or can just generally getting the gist of what he said be good enough? Do you have to believe that he is supernatural, or that he is the Son Of God, or do you have to believe that he is God Himself?
What is the minimum requirement, in your eyes?

If you call yourself a Christian then you’re a Christian. I have no idea what you actually believe in, self identification is fine, and it doesn’t matter to me why you think you’re a Christian.

Can I call myself a football player if I’ve never played the game in my life?

When I lived in Jordan, my residence card had two boxes that were checked to indicate the religion of the card-holder – Muslim or Christian. Everybody who did not meet the strict definition of a Muslim (which is defined) had the Christian box checked. In effect, Christian was defined as “non-Muslim”. There was also space to list four wives. I had only one, but she had her own residence card…

Globally, a Christian is loosely defined as a person who grew up in a culture or nation that had a Christian-coated ethical basis, unless some other religion is declared.

Yes. Good luck getting off the bench.

Yes…but I am asking for your personal opinion on the matter.

I believe the minimum requirement is believing in the divinity Jesus Christ and that he’s your Lord.

As for the other things you mention, they’re not the minimum requirement. They’re extras but are expected in some sects.

The sects are more than happy to deny that people in other sects are Christians because they don’t do what some other sect says they should. So they are more than happy to say those other people will be going to hell.

And there’s one whole school of philosophy that believes absolutely nothing you do matters because it was determined before you were even born if you’re going to heaven or hell. If you’re American, you should be familiar with them as predestination was popular in our founding settlements.

Ummm, he’s both. He’s also the Holy Spirit. It’s a trinity. Or a Trinity.

Every Christian is going to say something different.

In the brand of Christianity I grew up in, it seemed to me the minimum requirement was love for God and belief in Christ’s resurrection. Love isn’t just an emotion, but an action, so you were expected to act accordingly. But it was made abundantly clear that if you didn’t feel it, you weren’t a real Christian. The emphasis on feeling the “right” way was the biggest turn-off for me.

I attended a Quaker congregation for about a year. I attended a weekly orientation class run by one of the elders, who said that the only “requirement” was accepting the divinity of Jesus. You didn’t necessarily need to believe in the resurrection, but you had to accept that there was something special about the man called Jesus. Somehow it was possible to be agnostic, Jewish, Buddhist, etc. and still meet this requirement, in her eyes. But I couldn’t, so I stopped attending.

Do you have to believe this to be a Christian?

I’d have difficulty accepting as Christian anyone who would not fully affirm either the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

But I’d also be guided by Luke 12:8
“I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before God’s angels. But the one who denies me before men will be denied before God’s angels.”

This is my belief also. And by this standard I’m certainly not Christian.

I consider my fellow Unitarians to be christian-influenced. And I consider the other branches which reject the trinity to be splinter sects which are moving away from Christianity.

But if anyone wants to be called a Christian, I’m more than willing to do so, regardless of their beliefs.

I know a Universalist minister - former pastor of the Universalist Memorial Church in Washington, as a matter of fact - who would disagree with you. But that’s why we have many different denominations, innit?

Only if you believe it’s a monotheistic religion.

And I’ve never met a Christian who indicated he thought the religion was polytheistic. Though I do remember having to explain this concept to a Jewish friend of mine as the Christian god has multiple personalities. Sometimes he’s god the father, sometimes he’s god the son and sometimes he’s god the holy spirit. But it’s all the same deity.

You see what I mean?

Different sects.

I know plenty of Christians who think the Apostles Creed or Nicene Creed has squat to do with being a Christian and just because someone says it/believes it they’re still gonna go to hell because they weren’t born again in Christ which is the only thing that counts. (That’s from John 3:3 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”)

Different sects.:rolleyes:

Now if you want to know what I, personally, think it takes to be a true Christian and not just a Christian in name only, it’s here and it’s really tough. (However, it’s not me setting the standards. It’s Jesus Christ.) Though after I discuss the qualifications, in the last half of the piece I talk about an example of someone who I do think is a true Christian ---- a most remarkable Catholic priest. I couldn’t have done what he did.

The minimum would be accepting Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Saviour, and affirming his self sacrifice wipes out one’s sins.
Repentance is good also.

Trinity and, therefore, Divinity of Jesus
Bodily resurrection of Jesus
Jesus is the Savior.

The Apostles’ or Nicene creed cannot be denied, but I wouldn’t demand their being affirmed.

I’d say the minimum requirement is believing that whole Jesus shlock. I knew a fellow American over here who was desperate to get me to admit I was a Christian. It seemed to be a personal mission of his. He insisted that if I behaved like a Christian – didn’t harm others and lived a good life etc – I should be considered a Christian regardless of my disbelief in Christian mythology. I always laughed him off. I’ve mentioned this guy before – he had some serious mental problems and was in and out of psychiatric wards here.

But belief is all that’s required. However, I know there are some fundamentalists who don’t consider Catholics to be Christians.

Certainly not a universal requirement among quakers, especially my own western liberal flavor.

And to answer the OP, self-identifying as one works for me.

That congregation was very very liberal, so that’s why I was a bit taken aback by this elder’s statement.

At any rate, I don’t know what a “requirement” means in such a denomination. It is not like anyone forces you to take an oath to join.