Having sensible conversations depends on us agreeing on the meaning of the key words we use. An example of this problem comes with two words often used in religious conversations.  These two words fall off our tongues with little consideration about having any common agreement of their meaning. These key words are CHRISTIANITY  and CHURCH. 

No THING can be Christian, or a Christian.  Only an individual can be a Christian.  No "church" can be Christian.  A church is a group of people meeting together at any place, for worshipping their God. 

No THING can be "holy."  To declare a THING is "holy" is the creation of an idol.

The root word for Christianity is Christ, which then expands into Christian and finally into Christianity.  It is obvious that a definition of Christianity must start with Jesus the Christ and what that means. Reading backwards, Christianity is the religious system of Christians who accept Jesus as the Christ - the Savior or Messiah.  A Christian is a person who has an experience with God, because of Christ Jesus.  Only a person can be a Christian.  Institutions and material things cannot be Christian.  Those inanimate things, that are not a person, may include Christian principles, but cannot be "a Christian."

Christianity and Church exist because there are individual Christians who gather together for the purpose of celebrating what Christ has done for them as individuals.  We must be careful to limit the word Christian to people, and Christianity to the principals and beliefs of Christians.  If we do not make this distinction, all Christians can be defined by the actions of a particular "Christian" institution to which they never have been associated.

Thus, a "Church" cannot be "Christian."  It can only claim to embrace Christian principles and contain Christian people. 

The word of Church in Greek is ecclesia.  It simply means a religious gathering or a meeting of a group of people.  In its original use, the idea of "church" as a formal ecclesiastical institution,  or religious system, was not included in the meaning.  Certainly ecclesia was not meant to be a building in a fixed location or some closed religious system claiming  to have an exclusive franchise from God to hold, and use, the Keys to his  Kingdom, his grace, and his eternal presence for all mankind.

So, what is "Church" to you some religious system, or a claim to "believe in him"?  Is Church some denominational unit of Christians - if so, which of the many claimants is "true" Christianity?  Do you know?  Is "true" religion the one you follow?  Is your religious system named, ordained, and described in the Bible? 

Have you been born again and received the promised Holy Spirit? Do you really follow the words, ways, and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the "red letters" of the New Testament?  Or, are you defining your faith by what you know and believe about the doctrines of a religious system?

Christianity implies much more than a religion based on the words and works of Jesus who is called the Christ. It is not simply a moral code based on Jesus. Those who received Jesus' Spirit through the rebirth were first called "Christian" in Antioch soon after Jesus' crucifixion.  Those early Christians created a "religious system" that became known as "Christianity."  It evolved into an  institution as opposed to a personal relationship with our resurrected Jesus.

 In our times, there are many who reject such institutions, and do not follow the religious systems created by those early "Christians."  Those who reject the ancient traditions are usually known as Protestants.

It is unfortunate for all true Christians that "Christianity" is identified, defined, and smeared  by acts and beliefs of any of the many "Christian" religious systems.  "Religious systems" include all dogmatic denominations and other so called "world religions." For some inexplicable reason, Christianity is equated with other well known "other world religions" - religious systems - including Judaism,  Islam, and Hinduism. There is no comparison.

True Christianity is the only religion that asserts any person can receive God's Spirit into their mind and heart (Jeremiah 31:31 ff.), and can prove this claim.

Some major dogmatic denominations are  the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and the many dogmatic "Protestant" religious systems including, but not limited to, Lutherans, Anglicans, Mormons, and Church of Christ, each claiming to have the only correct message of, and method for "true" Christianity.  The implication of those claiming exclusive truth is the unchristian judgment that any with different opinions are heretical and schismatic and/or stupid.

Each religious system has "skeletons in its closet" that are grave embarrassments to all who are attempting to follow Jesus and explain him to others.  True Christians are unfairly expected to defend and excuse all acts of religious systems that do not now, and never have,  represented their views.  It is difficult to respond to, and overcome, unfair slander when so many confuse "religious systems" with true Christianity. 

Example:  Should a Protestant be judged by what Catholics believe and do?  And conversely, should any Christian be expected to defend and be judged by what dogmatic Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or any other religious systems do and believe?

Yet, the world - and all its non-Christian religious systems - judges all Christians by the highly visible behavior of differing so called "Christian" religious systems that agree on little or nothing and usually conflict with your particular religious opinions.

GOD 101 explains Jesus' true and universally available Christianity. It shows how everyone can enjoy God's face-to-face companionship without conforming to the beliefs of any dogmatically closed religious denomination.  Freely given grace is Jesus' gift to all humanity. (Click here to read about "Grace")

Religion is a private matter between YOU and God.  It is not a matter between you and a religious system. You and I want (and need) an intimate relationship with God, not a poor substitution that is focused on a relationship with an institution.  We want to know God personally, and not simply know about God. (Click here to read "Personal Faith")

Every person has their particular degree of "personal faith" independent of any religious system or institution.

Therefore, as one example, all Christians are judged by acts of the ancient Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestant religious systems that are watered down copies of Catholicism. Protestants rejected Catholic and Orthodox theology  five hundred years ago. 

Few non-Christians know about, or understand,  the Reformation and Protestantism beliefs.  So, world-wide, many people mistakenly equate all Christianity with the acts, theology, and history of the various Catholic and Orthodox religious systems, and their Protestant "spin off" denominational (Sacramental) worship systems. 

(Click here to read about Baptism and Communion)

It is impossible for Jesus' universally offered saving grace to be hijacked and locked up by any religious system that falsely claims to have an exclusive franchise on the produce of Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. 

Salvation is not, and cannot be the  controlled private property of any "ordained" person or religious system and be controlled and dispensed at the will of a person - a human.

(Click here for "Ordination")

How do you know your religious system is "true?"  Have you felt the personal presence of God's love?  If you love your neighbor as yourself, and know all people are equally loved by God, can you belong to a religious system that does not love and respect those who are not members of it?

Does your denomination  falsely teach God only favors members of its denomination and beliefs - its  religious system?

The fact that religious systems are not Christianity is easily proved from Jesus own words. A simple lesson is that "good trees cannot produce bad fruit and bad trees cannot produce good fruit" (Matthew 7:15-19).   If a religious system has recorded bad behavior, Christians need to make the distinction applicable and refuse to defend that system.   

Christianity is not defined as any particular system.   True Christianity is a person's individual relationship with God, the Abba/"Daddy", as explained and made possible by Jesus.  Christianity is our one-to-one relationship with our Creator.  It is as varied as are people.  (Click here for "Common Sense Christianity")

Every person either has, or has not, been born again and received a personal face-to-face relationship with God through Jesus.  Have you been born again?

Have you met God face-to-face? Do you want this experience with your Heavenly Father?

 GOD 101's purpose is to answer these basic questions.  Click below on GOD 101.  There you will find simple and non-denominational explanations of Jesus and Christianity. 

You may find you misunderstood the meaning of these words.  

But then, you may confirm you are already a member of Jesus' real church (the Kingdom of Heaven), and are a Christian regardless of your religious system.  At GOD 101 you may gain a clearer understanding of what it means to be a Christian - a follower of Jesus and a devotee of Christianity. For more Jesus information you can meet him today by clicking here.

Try GOD 101.  Many have and think it clears up the confusion about Jesus' true religion.

For discussions of basic spiritual ideas and objections, click here for essays in our LIBRARY.

To go to GOD 101
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