Religious beliefs are no light matter, and it’s only right that they are taken seriously. Yet, earnest and well-meaning interlocutors have sometimes, in the words of the president of Fuller Seminary, Richard J. Mouw, “talked past each other,” due to their differing doctrinal lenses.
Anyone familiar with the history of Christianity knows that it has been quite a complicated matter. The word “Christian” was first used during New Testament times (see Acts 11:26) to describe the disciples who accepted the message and redemption of Jesus Christ. Now after two millennia, Christianity has weathered centuries of change and experienced periods of growth, persecution, reformation, schism, globalization and more. While inspiring believers of every race and nationality, Christianity has taken a multitude of forms and advanced a diversity of doctrines. As a result, questions about who should be called a Christian and who should not continue to be discussed by some within the religious world.
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