What Constitutes a Christian?

The recent Inter-Church Conference held in New York City has given rise to much discussion among religious people, which it is to be hoped will result in a better understanding of what really constitutes a Christian. It is a hopeful sign that many are coming to see the uselessness of controversy over the recorded teachings of Christ Jesus, and that they are endeavoring to understand his mission in the light of his works. His own statement, "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works;" this, added to his commission to his disciples, first to the twelve and later to the seventy, leaves no doubt as to his estimate of these works, and of what was then required of a follower of the Master. The only question is, how best to understand his instructions relative to the carrying out of the command to preach the gospel and heal the sick. According to the four Evangelists, the preaching of the gospel healed the sick, and the healing of the sick by the Christ-method reformed the sinner; while the doing of these works brought with it the understanding of the Science or philosophy underlying them. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine," said the great Teacher.

For many centuries men have been striving to "know of the doctrine," without attempting to do the Father's will in the way that Jesus did it; more than this, they have even declared that it would be sacrilege to attempt it; that is, in his way. Too long have men forgotten that "the Father doeth the works," and that the message of the resurrection, on which all true Christian faith is founded, was this, "My Father, and your Father." There can be no question that Jesus clear sense of the divine fatherhood enabled him to do the marvelous healing which we find recorded in the gospels, but it is also true that he looked for the attainment of that same spiritual sense by every faithful follower, when he said, "greater works than these shall he do."

The True Liberalism
December 2, 1905

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