Mia, I agree with everyhing you said, but I don’t know that all priests or pastors for that matter have been born again. I know you probably wince at that term but it does have meaning. If one hasn’t been born again, they are no different than anyone else except they may have on the clothes ( I don’t know what they are called) of a priest or pastor. I f they are there in that job on their own strength they are bound to fail. I don’t want to get down on Catholocism, but it has been expressed that because of their decleration of celebacy it is a safe haven for homosexuals. I’m not excusing pedophiles or condeming people with homosexual desires but it seems to be much more prevalent in the Catholic Church than in society as a whole. Waht I have been dancing around is this, declaring ones self as a Christian does not make one a Christian. I am not saying that we do not sin, we do, but pedophelia and child abuse are such heinous acts that I would have to question their relationship to the Lord.
I was under the impression that a person really became a Christian when they “accepted Jesus as their personal savior”. I put that in quotes because it’s not clear what that would consist of: is it baptism, is it the first moment you decide to call yourself a Christian, or is it much later when you achieve a sort of drastic self-transformation (i.e. being “born again”) after having called yourself a Christian for many years, or something else?
What does this process of being “born again” consist of, if you consider that to be the defining factor in who is a Christian?
I was under the impression that a person really became a Christian when they “accepted Jesus as their personal savior”
That would be a true statement, it is also a HUGE statement. It means that you believe that Jesus is God and that He died for your sins and that He rose the third day. Along with the statement or confession of faith there has to be repentance, to turn from a life of sin and acknowledge that you need him as your Savior. And it is more than just saying it, you can utter the words right now but if you don’t mean them it will mean nothing because God knows what is in your heart. There are plenty of people in the church that don’t believe but they come for one reason or the other and yet they will still isentify themselves as Christians.
I worked with a guy (we’ll call him Chris) that said that he was a Christian and that he and his wife and kids went to church every week and that he made sure that they tithed. But in a discussion with another co-worker it came out under scrutiny of his religon that Chris was just “covering his bases if the whole Christian story was true”. His bases are not covered, and there are a multitude of people in the same camp as Chris. I would question anybody that lives a life devoted to sin whether or not they are Christians or not. Everyone sins but to live a life centered on sin is a whole other thing. As an example, look at the BTK killer. How can you be a born again Christian and plan, torure and kill people over years and years and take delight in it. I don’t think you can, that’s why I would question the Priests true commitment to the Lord. my 2 cents.
I’m curious about the ticket to Heaven. Are you saying there are a lot of people out there who call themselves Christians, have gone through the motions, etc, who are still gonna scream for all eternity in the big Pit o’ Coal?
Would you say there are perhaps any out there who have accepted Jesus in some way without even knowing it? Perhaps if the sin is more important than the intellectual agreement, then believing in God is itself not the main thing. Would you say there are any out there who believe they aren’t Christians but have been saved and will end up in heaven with the rest of that small circle of “true Christians”?