Is Confessing Christ Necesarry: Restarting the Conversation

Well, the whole diablogue has died down over the last few days. After I clarified myself, the conversation seemed to come to a screeching halt. In fact, in an attempt to keep the convo going, I asked James, Drew and others to clarify themselves. In particular, I asked them to each give their position on "confession". In other words, each of them were willing to take the stance (all to a different degree) that one did not have to hold any certain belief about Jesus and confess it to partake of salvation through Christ. I totally disagreed with all of them. I do think both of these are necesarry.

Still, nobody has responded to my challenge. In the meantime, I've read a couple of posts by persons not part of the diablogue, that I agree with to a large extent (though, I don't adopt everything each of them says). The first one is found at Parchment and Pen: Orthodoxy: Should We Define Who is 'In' and Who is 'Out'?. The second one is located at Between Two worlds, titled: Do Muslims Worship the True God? A Bridge Too Far. Give these a read.


  1. Sorry I kinda dropped out of the conversation. Life got busy, and will probably stay that way for the next day or two....

    I've added you to the list though.

  2. Hi Michael;

    I think it's pretty clear that there are certain liturgical/theological deliniators that you insist must be part of Christian self-definition.

    I think the problem I have is that there doesn't seem to be a defense for that kind of stance (other than faith in the veracity of an inherited tradition) in your reasoning.

    I might suggest you post something addressing not just what you think is essential to self-identification as a Christian, but a reasoned argument for each item on that list as to why you conclude that it is "essential".

    For instance, if you feel that baptism is "essential" then elaborate a little on why you think it is so.

    E.E. Cummings once wrote:
    Always the beautiful answer
    who asks a more beautiful question.

    To me, the most beautiful (and inescapable—though we may try) question of all is:


    Actually, I would like to read not just YOUR breakdown on this "essentials list", but ANY professing Christian's who may wish to share theirs.

    I'm pretty much an unashamed naturalist, so appeals to revelation or prophecy leave me cold, but then it would be impossible to speak of such things as "salvation" (which has yet to be defined in the conversation, btw) without recourse to theological constructs— wouldn't it?. And we all know theologies vary from place to place.

    It's a very good question that seems to be so difficult to answer:
    Just what is a "Christian"?

    I'm fascinated with the phenomenology of faith and its resultants (religion, inspiration, superstition, philanthropy—etc), though obviously as an "outsider".
    Of course, nobody is really an "outsider" in their own culture—I was raised a fairly pious Catholic kid; am I really an "outsider"?

    Once the again, the question is raised; what is a Christian.

    Do I have to believe that someone raised himself from the dead as part of a redemption mechanism in a celestial salvation scheme?

    If no, then cool! . . . . I'd even consider signing up.
    After all, I'm all FOR the Kingdom of G-sh as an ideal to strive for. No? :D In other words, I think that the NT can be read and understood in its historical context without recourse to liturgical mandates or attributions of divinity.

    If yes (and I suspect this is one of your "essentials"), then I ask again:


    Having said all this, I'll probably bow out now and let you guys draw your lines.

    Always fascinating.



  3. I have this pinned in my reader so I'll get to it when my brain is more awake! It was a crazy week this week. Thanks.

  4. The best I can offer is a quote from someone else that I found thought-provoking in relation to the topic we've been discussing.

  5. I've replied in a comment to your last comment on my blog, as a first step towards addressing the question you posed, which I did not intend to neglect indefinitely. Hopefully you can understand why, and perhaps even agree that, the deadline for submitting proposals for the annual SBL meeting should take priority over our bloggersation! :)