What exactly is a Christian?
The most common questions
I hear non Christians asking is what makes Christians different from any other religion, and what makes them think Christianity
is the only right religion? After all, all religions believe they are the only true one!
The difference between
Christianity and all other religions is that Christians believe in God’s son, Jesus Christ. Now a lot of religions also believe in Jesus but they have incorporated their own ideas into who or what
He really was: prophet, teacher, brother of Satan…some religions believe in Jesus but worship His mother Mary more than
they worship Jesus! Christians believe Jesus to be what the bible says He is, God’s son who was sent to the world to
die for our sins, because we could never pay for them. The bible says many things
about Jesus and calls Him many things: God, Savior, Alpha and Omega, the Deliverer, etc. but nowhere does it indicate He was
just a prophet or a good man. No prophet or good man performed the miracles He
did that were documented in the bible.
But how do you know the bible is
Part of the proof is in
the historical evidence of the bible, fulfillment of prophesy over the years and specifically the last 60 years (Jewish nation)
and the fact that people have tried to destroy the bible for years and never succeeded, in fact, it is more widespread today
then ever before. Christians in communist countries are putting their life on
the line to have this book. They are imprisoned and tortured for being in possession
of it or preaching about it. Who would risk their life for a hoax?
But people have
died in the name of false religions. What makes Christians different?
The fact that they have
been dying for thousands of years for this book makes them different. Cults come
and go. But people are still testifying to the power of Jesus, as they have been
(and have been dying for) for thousands of years. After Jesus died and was raised
from the dead three days later, His disciples proceeded to spread the good news of Jesus Christ everywhere. Many of them were tortured and died for their faith. Who would
do this and keep doing this for thousands of years because of a lie? Who would die for a dead man?
Maybe they were delusional. Christians engulf themselves in false hope and wishful thinking all the time because
they don’t want to face reality. They think they have no control over their
life when they really do, and just use God as a crutch.
I guess that’s where
faith comes in. If you are a logical person ask yourself would a person really
allow themselves to be tortured and killed, die a painful and humiliating death for something they knew was a lie? And if
so (we’ll go with the delusional argument) what is in it for them?
But most people
who call themselves Christians aren’t suffering or dying.
over time, the word "Christian" has lost a great deal of it significance and is often used of someone who is religious or
has high moral values instead of a true born again follower of Jesus Christ. Or, non-Christians opinions of Christians
have been twisted by hypocrites who are professing Christians but do not live their faith, such as the neighbor who chews
out and swears at his employees during the week, then praises and worships in Church on the weekend. Then there is the
gossipy old ladies in the church, the married choir leader that everyone knows is having an affair with the soloist, the
self righteous, judgmental cliques who ignore a non-believer who visits the Church because of the way he or she acts,
talks or dresses.
Those stereotypical views of the hypocrites I described who give Christianity a bad name are
NOT pictures of true Christians. Many people who don’t believe and trust in Jesus Christ consider themselves Christians
simply because they go to church or they live in a "Christian" nation. But going to church, serving those less fortunate
than you, or being a good person does not make you a Christian. As one evangelist once said, “Going to church
doesn’t make one a Christian anymore than going to a garage makes one an automobile.” Being a member of
a church, attending services regularly, and giving to the work of the church cannot make you a Christian.
I have a hard time believing in something I can’t see.
Everyone does, some
more than others and the types range from the gentle agnostics to the die-hard atheists.
If you’re wondering if God exists, look around you and see how the world operates in
a perfect cycle. Look at how complex the human body is and how each part works
together so intricately. Think of the sun, how it is in the perfect position. If it were any closer we would be scorched and if it were any further we would freeze
How ridiculous to think all this just happened. And
if we entertain the Big Bang theory, where did all the contents that were floating around to perform the Big Bang come from?
Most people don’t want to admit that evolution is a crock; because it would start a
chain reaction that would ultimately lead to admitting that the bible and everything it says is true. And that would mean that there is only one way to eternal life and we are all accountable for our sins
unless we ask God to forgive them. And most people don’t like being accountable.
If that is not enough for you, check out some of the resources at the end of the page.
If God is so powerful, why didn't he just make us follow him?
God gave us the gift of free will, because he doesn't want to force us to love and follow him anymore than you
want to force someone to be your girlfriend/boyfriend. We are not robots, and were given a choice.
So if he loves us so much, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?
This is a popular question, one that could only be answered by God. We cannot begin to understand him
in our limited thinking.
My opinion is that a lot of it stems back to bad choices people make because of the free will they were given.
It would be similar to asking someone, "If you were such a good husband, why did your wife cheat on you?" Or, "If you are
such a good father, why is your kid in jail?"
My question for you would be, are you doing anything to change this pain and suffering? Do you donate money
to poor countries? Do you volunteer in the homeless shelter? Or do you stay in your comfortable home and blame the world's
problems on God?
We all have a chance. Some will suffer immensly in this life, others will not at all. God sent his
son Jesus to die for all of our sins, so we all have the chance to go to Heaven when our time on this earth is done.
I’m content with my life the way it is. Why
should I change?
If you’re content,
then you probably shouldn’t change. Christianity is probably not for you. Only when a person’s eyes are opened to the truth, or they have been broken
and cry out for God, or when they realize the world has nothing to offer them and nothing is making them happy, do they truly
desire to give their lives to Christ and start living for Him instead of for themselves.
Think about it: why would a person give up fame and fortune to live the life of a Christian? (Click here to check out the Brian “Head” Welch story). It’s because they
have everything and realize it isn’t making them happy. In Matthew 7:14
Jesus says, “But
small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
of us know someone, maybe even in our city who at one time was promiscuous, a boozer, a fighter, druggie, and on and on. Suddenly they gave all that up. Do you
wonder why they changed? Maybe you should ask them. And if you’re skeptical
about the words they say, just look into their eyes and see how they’ve changed.
See the lightness, and hear the passion in their voice as they explain to you what it means to be “saved”.
So why did YOU
become a Christian? You weren’t into nasty stuff and you were brought up in it.
Isn’t that a little like brainwashing?
True, I became a Christian
as a little child, but I didn’t actually start living my life for Christ until my twenties (see my testimony page). It’s comparable to joining a union where you do just enough not to get fired
and keep your job. That’s what I was doing.
I knew the truth and didn’t want to go to Hell, so I called myself a Christian, but I wasn’t growing. And there is no middle of the road with Christianity.
Once you stop growing you start slipping back…and it’s ever so slightly, you probably won’t realize
it at first. I didn’t! And before I knew it I had slipped so far away from
God that I knew I had to make dramatic changes to come back.
I could handle
the going to church part, but don’t ask me to give up going to the bars on weekends, or having sex with my girlfriend/boyfriend.
Again, if you choose to
do those things over what it says in God’s word, then Christianity probably isn’t for you. There are Christians by words only, who tell you what they believe but their actions contradict God’s
word, and there are true Christians who obey God not because of what it says in the bible, but because they want to please
him out of gratitude for what He’s done and is going to do for them. You
cannot have a fulfilling relationship with Jesus when you’re living in sin and disobedience. He knows what’s best for you and that’s why He makes those laws.
What about liberal-minded Christians?
That is an oxymoron. Christians are narrow-minded and fundamental, or at least they are supposed to be. Christians aren’t supposed to disobey or rearrange God’s word to suit
them. Jesus assured us that the world would hate us and our beliefs would not
be popular, and that was thousands of years ago before we had debates on whether or not it was okay for homosexuals to get
married, or that it’s okay to live with someone before you’re married because you’re in love and will be
married anyway. A liberal-minded Christian has deviated so far from God’s
word. They pick and choose what they want from the bible. A give-away is when you hear someone say, “I have my own beliefs.” Who are they to claim to follow God, yet pick and choose what they want to obey. Can you imagine a three-year old telling her parents that she chooses to eat only chocolate ice cream and
stay up until midnight?
God created us, and He
knows what is best for us. He doesn’t make the laws to keep up from having
fun; he makes them to protect us. If we don’t see it that way, we shouldn’t
be Christians. But don’t try to merge sin and Christianity together.
So how does a person become a Christian?
It’s very simple. No rituals or years of study and dedication are needed. No list of deeds and good works need to be done. All we need
to do is believe in Jesus God’s son, that He died on the cross for our sins. We
need to promise to God that we’re going to stop living for ourselves and allow Him to guide us. We have to admit we have sinned and are sinners, and ask forgiveness.
We need to want to change, not change because we feel we have to. That
kind of decision is as shallow and as effective as a crash diet.
That is when your new life
will start. Instead of wondering where you will go when you die, you can know
that you’re going to Heaven, a place that is indescribably beautiful.
The Christian life is not
always easy, and you need support. Check out some churches until you find one
you fell comfortable in, but be selective. There are a lot of churches out there
claiming to be the one true church. Avoid Seventh Day Adventist, Mormon, Jehovah
Witness, etc. Much of what they preach meshes with Christianity but it is not.
Get yourself a bible, but
again, be selective. There are many translations out there. The closest translation to the original bible is the King James Version.
If you have difficulty with the “thees” and “thous” check out the New International Version. It is a little easier to understand.
Bible studies and small
groups can be great for meeting friends and learning about the bible if you’re new to it. But make sure you spend time alone praying and reading the bible.
It is so important to spend time with just you and God. It is the best
way to get to know Him, and it’s important to get to know Him because the more we learn, the more we understand and
can mature as Christians.
If you still
have questions about the authenticity of the bible and the existence of God, check out:
The Case for Christ,
The Case for a Creator and The Case for Faith, all written by author Lee Strobel, a journalist that investigates scientific
evidence of Christianity.
You can also visit http://www.gotquestions.org/ to have your bible questions answered.
Thank you for
reading and God bless you!