RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
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Faith: What is a Christian?
How does someone become a Christian?
Perhaps the clue to what a Christian is can be found in the name. The word ‘Christian’ is actually a nickname – it literally means 'little Christ.' It was a nickname given to men and women in the first century who went about talking about Jesus Christ, a Jewish rabbi, prophet and miracle maker who had been crucified by the Romans. They said he was the way to God. They regularly met together to worship him. And as a group, they did their best to follow his teaching and example – helping people in need and giving away their money and possessions to support each other. What makes somebody a Christian? Most Christians would agree that it involves these things:
- Saying sorry to God for the wrong things they have done (confession)
- Accepting Jesus' gift of forgiveness and choosing to change the way they live by putting God first (repentance)
- Believing in Jesus as the Son of God for themselves (faith)
- Finding out more about how Jesus lived and what he taught, and following his example (obedience)
Becoming a Christian is not a decision to be taken lightly. Even Jesus taught that following him was hard work! People often spend time finding out and making up their own mind before becoming a Christian. Perhaps they will have been to Sunday School, Confirmation classes or an Alpha course. When they make the decision to become a Christian, many people demonstrate this decision to other people by being baptised or confirmed.
Although going to church by itself doesn’t make you a Christian, many people choose to join a local church to help them connect with God and learn more about him, in the company of other people who believe the same things.