Saturday, November 22, 2014

Who is a Christian?

This week the book I read was "The Antichrist" by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, a great hero of mine and a man I consider the precursor to my philosophy in many aspects. This book could be titled "The Anti-Christian", since Nietzsche goes after the so called followers of Christ, rather than the man known to the world as Jesus of Nazareth.

In this work, Nietzsche states a true principle which many in the world disagree with: That Jesus of Nazareth was the only true Christian, and that those who claim to be Christians are just fooling themselves. He said "The very word "Christian" is a misunderstanding, truth to tell, there never was more than one Christian, and he died on the cross."

This begs the question "Who is a Christian?" And even more importantly, "Who can determine what a Christian is?" According to the Oxford Dictionary a Christian is "Of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings." However, this was written by men who do not stand up to the teachings of Christ, who said in his Sermon on the Mount "Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect." The only person to have done this would be Jesus of Nazareth, making him the only Christian. A Christian is one who is as Christ is, and no man has or can accomplish that; therefore as Nietzsche said, there are no Christians.


  1. I always considered the term "Christian" to only describe one's beliefs, not one's lifestyle. This puts the term in a different light for me.

  2. I disagree. When Christ invited His Apostles to partake of the sacrament He was inviting them to follow Him and be like Him. True, no one lives up to that benchmark, but it doesn't mean we aren't partakers of the gospel of Christ and in a sense of Him. The suffix "-ian" following Christ could be taken to mean "people of" someone, similar to the way "Canadian" signifies that someone is "of Canada."
    You could argue that someone cannot be "of" a person unless they are literal descendants, however at baptism we are all made members of Christ's Church and in extension Him. So, yes, members of His Church are Christian and if others believe they are following Christ they can call themselves Christian too. I don't imagine He minds as long as they are truly striving to be like Him.