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A Christian Template:Audio2 is a person who adheres to Christianity, a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament[2] and interpreted by Christians to have been prophesied in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament[3].


From Old English cristen, from Latin Christianus, from Greek Χριστιανός (khristianos), from Χριστός (khristos) meaning "the anointed".[4] In the (Greek) Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, khristos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Mašíaḥ,) (messiah), meaning "[one who is] anointed." [5]

Who is a Christian?

The definition of who is a "Christian" varies among different Christian groups. Some believe that, to be a Christian, an individual must join a participate in specific sacraments. Others teach that instead a belief and acceptance in Jesus Christ necessary. Some consider a Christian to be simply one who tries to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and many Protestants define a Christian as one who has become a member of the church through the sacrament of baptism. In these churches, infants who are baptized may be considered Christians, although they are expected to make a personal affirmation of faith when old enough to decide for themselves.

Evangelical and fundamentalist denominations do not generally practice infant baptism and do not necessarily believe that baptism is necessary for salvation (a sacrament). Rather, they consider it to be a public command of identifying oneself with Jesus Christ in his death, representing repentance and a new life in God, as in Christ's resurrection. They encourage youth and adults to "become Christians" by personally "accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour," and to follow that decision with Believer's Baptism. These groups also use the phrase "born-again" (Template:Bibleref2) to describe becoming a Christian.

A few denominations and sects teach that Believer's baptism is necessary for salvation — the transition from non-Christian to Christian. They define a Christian as one who has been baptized as a repenting adult.

There are believers that follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, but do not believe it is necessary to affiliate with organized religion.

Within countries where Christianity is the historical majority religion, the term is also used by some in a casual generic sense to indicate that they are not members of nor affiliated with any other religion – therefore considering themselves Christians by default.[6]

In other languages

As the identification of "Christ" with Jesus is not accepted within Judaism, in the Hebrew language Christians are called "Nazarenes" (Natsri), because Jesus is described in the New Testament as being from the city of Nazareth.

Among Arabs (whether Christians, Muslims or belonging to other faiths), as well as in other languages influenced by the Arabic language (i.e. mainly in Muslim cultures influenced by Arabic as the liturgical language of Islam), two words are commonly used for Christians: Nasrani (stemming from the Arabic ansar, as in the disciples of Jesus), and Masihi meaning followers of the Messiah. Where there is a distinction, Nasrani refers to people from a Christian culture and Masihi means those with a religious faith in Jesus. In some countries Nasrani tends to be used generically for non-Muslim white people. Another Arabic word sometimes used for Christians, particularly in a political context, is Salibi; this refers to Crusaders and has negative connotations.[7]

See also


  1. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX, Monotheism; William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity; H. Richard Niebuhr, ;, Monotheistic Religion resources; Jonathan Kirsch, God Against the Gods; Linda Woodhead, An Introduction to Christianity; The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Monotheism; The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, monotheism; New Dictionary of Theology, Paul pp. 496-99; David Vincent Meconi, "Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity" in Journal of Early Christian Studies pp. 111–12, 2nd London Baptist Confession 1689, 2:1 "1._____The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty."
  2. BBC, BBC - Religion & Ethics - Christianity
  3. Book of Isaiah Book of Isaiah, Chapter 53.
  4. Etymology Online [1]
  5. Etymology Online [2]
  6. Becoming a Christian. URL accessed on 2007-10-25.
  7. Khaled Ahmed, Pakistan Daily Times. Jeffrey Tayler, Trekking through the Moroccan Sahara. Society for Internet Research, The Hamas Charter, note 62 (erroneously, "Salidi"). Akbar S. Ahmed, Islam, Globalization, and Postmodernity, p 110.

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