[LMB] OT: What is Christianity?

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Wed Sep 1 21:02:49 BST 2021

On Wed, Sep 1, 2021 at 7:02 AM Elizabeth Holden <alzurite at gmail.com> wrote:

> There have been many Christian groups which did not believe in the Trinity.
> The Churches of Rome and Constantinople  labelled them heretics, but they
> were Christian heretics.

Because they had possessed membership in the political body of the faith at
the time they developed positions contrary to its doctrines.  Because their
position violated the necessary and sufficient conditions that define
Christianity, they ceased to be Christians the moment they took it up.
Formal excommunication obviously depends upon the church hierarchy learning
of the heresy, and in practice people were given opportunities to repent
before they were cast out of the society, but cast out they would be -
excluded from receiving any of the sacraments, including Confession, which
in several branches of Christianity means losing access to God's
forgiveness and a certainty of damnation.  (In others, it's merely a
profound rejection of grace, and damnation is explicitly considered to be
solely the domain of God's choice - I don't want to get into the details
here, but suffice it to say everyone thinks excommunication is a *very* big

Additionally, I would note that the part of Mormonism's formal name that is
important is the 'Christ', not the 'Jesus'.  'Christ' is not a name but a
title.  Merely believing that there was some person whose name is
transliterated as 'Jesus' doesn't provide even the faintest pretext for
claiming to be a Christian, which is what makes the fictional Arroway's
claim so offensively absurd.  (Sagan didn't understand enough theology to
understand what he was having his character claim to believe - she might
have found much worthiness in the traditional teachings of Jesus, but she
clearly did not believe he was the Christ.)

> Which is?

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike having to repeat myself?


Matt G.

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