‘aChristians’ – Yes I Coined It!

Maybe we need a new term for the Christian person – who doesn’t quite belong in the mainstream but still considers themselves a Christian…they are ‘aChristians’

Okay it’s a play on the term ‘atheism’ – which according to Wikipedia can be defined as “can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods, or the rejection of theism. It is also defined more broadly as an absence of belief in deities, or nontheism”   

Isn’t aChristianity the rejection of some of the capital tenets of mainstream Christianity? Although we will affirm the existence of Jesus and God – this does not mean we have to affirm the core tenets of orthodoxy or some doctrinal statement. 

We’re not quite Christian, in the most accepted sense of the word, so we are aChristian – this being our essence and meaning is derived from the Christian realm and although we display some opposition to many tenets of the faith – we realize our meaning also lies in those texts and faith in God (were not the same but we do share). 

This is slightly comparable to how mainstream Christianity is ‘aJudaic’ – feels its connection to Judaism and derives meaning from that – yet refuses to be barely connected to Judaism. There are aspects of rejection and absence of beliefs within Christianity towards Judaism. 

Now we have come full circle – aChristians – we reject and even deny some of the beliefs of the mainstream faith – we derive meaning from one another – yet we are quite different. How? 

An ‘aChristian’ can believe: 

  • Jesus was not God (was the messiah)
  • Jesus was not born of a virgin (this is not that important)
  • Jesus’ stories contain some mythical aspects for the telling of the story
  • The resurrection was an addition to the stories – more symbolic than literal
  • The bible contains errors
  • Jesus’ teachings are the focus of this faith
  • There is no trinity 

These are things a Christian cannot even imagine not believing – some of them scream bloody anathema! That’s why we need a new category – right ‘aChristians’ (wink wink).

Now Christians – stop being aJudaic and we can all stop being a-something’s or another 🙂

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39 thoughts on “‘aChristians’ – Yes I Coined It!

  1. I like the idea, and I like the term. But how inclusive is it? I would say about myself that I believe God exists. I believe Christ was God. I believe in Christ’s resurrection. I believe in the Trinity. I am no longer sure that hell exists as a place that God sends those who don’t jump through certain hoops and am considering that it may not exist at all. I believe that God is redeeming all of his creation and restoring it to himself (which has me looking into Christian universalism a bit). The Bible does have inconsistencies, especially when it is read as a black and white ethics text. I hate the term “evangelical” and do not want to be called that at all. What does that set of beliefs make me?

  2. “What does that set of beliefs make me?” (Doug)

    Would mainstream church actually ‘persecute’ (in some small way) you for holding to beliefs no longer orthodox – yet you remain firmly a Christian? I would say if you fall into a category where you are a Christian but no lonfger a Christian to some – you are aChristian.

    FIF – don’t worry about it – I found it funny – gotta have a sense of humor.

  3. haha! loved your first comment!

    i would be sorta aChristian as well… here’s how i match up:

    Jesus was not God (was the messiah)- Sorry, i believe that but i also think we have the same capacity to be divine as Jesus did. we just don’t tap into it.

    Jesus was not born of a virgin (this is not that important) yup!

    Jesus’ stories contain some mythical aspects for the telling of the story -you betcha!

    The resurrection was an addition to the stories – more symbolic than literal- i can see this.. but i think SOMETHING happened. I do believe in a literal resurrection beleive it or not. there’s something more to the story after most would think it over.

    The bible contains errors- PREACH ON! the Bible is COMPLEX!!! and it’s got human emotion, God’s inspiration, and all sorts of errors left and right.

    Jesus’ teachings are the focus of this faith– yup!

    There is no trinity– i affirm the Trinity but also see the problems with this as there are NO direct scriptural passages on this. I believe in the Trinity as “Creator, Savior and Sustainer” in terms like i can be all of these just as simple as i could be a “father, uncle, blogger” or some such. however, this isn’t core to my theology so i’m a little more lax than others… plus UCC stands for Unitarians Considering Christ 😉

    RAWK! great post! i’d like to be aChristian if you’ll have me.

  4. My list of bullet points are not what I totally believe (I do believe in a literal resurrection) – but I can hold a room for those who do not (the more Crossan types). I think the term ‘aChristian’ is a catch-all term for those the mainstream faith have pushed to the outer limits of this faith (trying to determine who is and isn’t a Christian – or real and not real – or converted or not converted- or whatever category they use now).

    I have noticed there is an orthodoxy view of the Christian faith that is accepted as the standard – yet not all Christian fall into that nice neat little category (including myself). Anyone who falls outside their orthodxy and catches ‘heat’ for not being Christian enuough – these people are ‘aChristian’ – in that I would consider them ‘a Christian’ while some may not.

    Plus we all know many good people that stand against certain tenets of the Christian faith and yet are great people who consider themselves Christian…it usually has people creating categories of ‘real Christian’ vs. ‘not real Christian’…I figure here is my new category ‘aChristian’.

  5. Hey, all

    What you are describing is very similar to the conversations and loose associations at Emergent Village, and Emergent Christianity in general.

    I think your term is catchier, however. And more accurate :0)

    I have a million issues with those guys, but what you are describing is a real phenomenon, for better or worse.

  6. Nice term!

    “(I do believe in a literal resurrection) – but I can hold a room for those who do not ”

    Bingo. I think there is room for all of this if we will just MAKE the room. It seems that people of a more conservative bent struggle more with making that room. However, I have seen it work the other way… where some Christians try to make me feel like a buffoon for believing in a literal resurrection or some other Orthodox piece.

    I was reading an article on beliefnet by Francis Schaeffer, where he was discussing how it is difficult to be in the middle. Because he stuck to some Orthodox beliefs, he gets bashed from the Left, and because he rejects some Orthodox beliefs, he gets bashed from the right. Both sides have their “absolutist” elements.

  7. What do you guys think of Messianic Judaism?

    I have a very thoughtful blogger friend named Shlomo ben Yaakov (http://www.xanga.com/Ps29v11) who I have learned quite a bit from. He is an African-American Jewish Christian who attends (or attended) a Baptist church for many years.

    He doesn’t fit neatly into any category, as I think is true for a lot of Messianic Jews.

    I’d be interested to hear what you guys think.

  8. yeah, Messianic Judaism was covered in depth a month ago.. SVS will send you the link. the concensus here among the Canon (TK, Mark, Matt, Luke and John) need Messianic Jews like fish need bikes.

    but yeah, i would label us emergent. that’s my style, it’s what i know and like, so i’ll go with that! although emergentvillage is okay, but there’s really no conversation over there.. plus they like that Trucker guy who is a blow-hard. so it goes.

  9. Faithless… yeah i can see how Jesus could be viewed as a failed apocalyptic prophet… but i think that title is more apt for Paul. he is the one who thought Jesus would return within his lifetime. i personally, have come to understand that Jesus didn’t even know when that time would come. Think of things like “not even the son, only the Father” in John or in Mark and Matthew when Jesus talks about the coming of the son of man where sometimes it sounds like he’s talking about himself and other times it’s not clear.

    i think there is a coming kin-dom (not just for one gender). Justice is equally distributed and there are no -isms. that is my hope and i think a hope for all people. that day will come, but it will be slow in getting here.

    freestyle: you know how i do 😉 glad you liked it!

  10. Luke..I am aware of some of the debates concerning yr former point,but yr last statement begs another ques…..let’s call it “my hope for the future-apocalyptic or not”

    How much of this do you consider to be revealed religion?… and this refers back to the other comments,is there a body,a foundation of something to be found in those documents(the Canon) that puts the brakes on how much we claim to be myth vs.historical fact,revelation vs humanly inspired theologies,etc?

    To put it another way…Is there a Good News or something good in the news to be discovered as well as much that cd be discarded?

  11. there is good news! my future hope is that there will be no victims.

    in today’s world, everyone is the victim, nobody has ever fired the first shot, all strikes are claimed to be counterstrikes… all shots are returned fire. retributive violence, for me, is the crux of this whole mess.

    the apocalyptic view of this can be found in Revelation. many people talk of the final battle but fail to realize it for what it is… the armies gather, good vs evil and then… nothing. they walk away. like the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8w4iTBPXn4

    this is the central idea of Girardian/Mimetic Theory. one day we’ll just say “ouch” and let our hurt be known and then be able to reconsile with our neighbor. what a world that would be!

  12. I just found it Luke is a ‘false prophet’ – he quoted Coldplay – and they are possibly being sued for plagarism (lol).

    “What do you guys think of Messianic Judaism?” (Steve)

    Here are a few blogs I did on it:

    Messianic Judaism & Legitimacy
    Gentiles & Messianic Judaism (My Response)Noahide Laws, Faith, Torah, and Gentile Christians
    The Messianic Contention is Implied?

    I did a 4 part blog series – because the issue refused to ‘die’ – Messianics cannot be wrong apparently.

    My personal opinion on Messianic Judaism is:

    (a) The title they use is a ‘lie’ – they are Christians not actual Jews (this is a known fact amongst Jewish faithful)
    (b) They require circumcision (which Paul teaches against)
    (c) They require we follow the whole law (which was never a concensus for gentiles – no one taught this – except them)
    (d) They are not an accepted form of Judaism – and they claim to be – which is rather offensive to the Jewish people
    (e) They follow the holy days – in their own way – and not with the synagogue’s that actually teach ‘how to and protocol’

    In general, I think the movement is unneccesary – but for some odd reason they see the need for it – even if they are gentile converts. They have yet to prove why Paul would advocate people not being circumcised in a few letters – yet they advocate it outright as part of conversion (no such passage exists to back that up). Theologically, I find them full of holes. Do I think they are Christian – yes!

  13. Very helpful.

    I still have not taken my friend Shlomo up on his offer for lunch, but I need to. I’m not actually sure if he calls himself a “Messianic Jew” or a “Jewish believer in Jesus” or what. He grew up Jewish and became a Christian back in the late 70’s, I think. As I mentioned, he attends a christian church.

    He may ahve many of the same issues that you do, and would like to explore this. I think it’s fascinating.

    Thanks for all the info!

  14. An “A-Christian” is, by definition, NOT a Christian, just as an A-theist is NOT a theist. May I humbly suggest “Nominal Christian” to be the term you seek. 😎

  15. “An “A-Christian” is, by definition, NOT a Christian, just as an A-theist is NOT a theist” (Jim)

    But I am only going by the defintion given – and even though an a-thiest is someone who does not believe in God – do they not find their definitive meaning in the fact someone proposes a God exists? They would cease to exist if no God existed?

    Also the definition is “can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods, or the rejection of theism. It is also defined more broadly as an absence of belief in deities, or nontheism“. What aChristianity is all about is some affirmation – some rejection – some absence of things – yet deriving its sole meaning from Christianity. I think it makes a lot of sense – different yet an equal.

  16. “I checked out a little bit of your Messianic dialogue. Wow (RITS)

    You’re telling me – the very basics of scripture get looked over for however they want to word it and see it..do they not understand they are gentiles?

  17. Jason. I see your point. But in one sense who cares if they want to call themselves whatever they want. They want to hold to some of their Jewish heritage and also see the Christ is the Messiah. The terminology “Messianic Jews” seems to blend those two ideas rather well to me. If it works for them, why make it a problem for them?

  18. …Wdn’t aChristianity be more appropriate than aChristians…I wd avoid defining a Christian by “doctrinal selections”

  19. “But in one sense who cares if they want to call themselves whatever they want. They want to hold to some of their Jewish heritage and also see the Christ is the Messiah.” (Doug)

    They are not Jewish – most of them are converts (thinking Messianic Judaism is a form of Judaism) – the majority are gentile converts to a form of Christianity that fronts as a form of Judaism…its all based on a ‘lie’. That’s the first problem I have with the movement.

    Its like this Doug – if I tell you an orange is a banana because I think it is – do you believe me? I have some convincing proofs – they both can be peeled and they both are forms of fruit. Would you believe me? I hope not – because an orange is not a banana…just like how Christianity is not Judaism.

    “The terminology “Messianic Jews” seems to blend those two ideas rather well to me. If it works for them, why make it a problem for them?” (Doug)

    “problem for them’? They are making the problem for Judaism – think about how Jews feel with this movement invading their space and making some pretty audacious claims – namely they are Jews also! This movement does not consider themselves ‘Christian’ – go and ask them – they consider themselves Judaism when we both know full well they are Christians…no ‘if, and, or buts about that’.

    I have no personal problems with these people – but then again – I am not Jewish Doug – I am a First Nations person in Canada. Now if some group of people start defining themselves as First Nations without any basis or claim to that identity – then yes – i will be offended on some level (since it is deception of a sort). I see this problem in the Messianic Judaism idea and becoming a Jew – its offensive on some level.

    But we live in ‘ho hum-ville’ of Christianity – where we do and think whatever we want – and sometimes our faith steps over the line and needs to be ‘checked’. Most people are not okay with the faith and prosperity movements – its too capitalistic and seems to make preachers rich – yet its just a blend of capitalism and Christianity – what is the harm? Messianic Judaism – falls along the same lines in my books. And to say nothing is to advocate for them – I cannot do that – I would be lying to my conscience on this issue and hurting the Jewish community. My faith did not come to destroy Judaism – did it?

  20. “does the myers-briggs stuff make any sense?” (Luke)

    It does – I just don;t put much stock into what a test can tell me i can be – my interestd, strengths, and weaknesses – I find them flawed. When i was young – I took one of these tests and it told me all that i was…I found as I aged – experience was a better gauge of what I really was. I changed since i was young – my test is balanced now in the Myers Briggs thing (more balanced) – and that is what i am shooting for.

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