1 Peter 3:15 GNV But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and reverence.
I started this post anticipating that I could explain why I am a Christian along with how I got here in a single post. That's just not going to work, so I am going to have to break it down into two or three parts. I was going to start with the journey, but I feel it's important to just get to the point of what I believe first, and then we'll take a step back in part 2 to explain why I believe what I do. I am starting the site off with this series because I feel this is the issue that sits at the core of what every apologist needs to understand before they can engage in healthy debate with non-believers.
The reason I am a Christian is simple. I believe the big theological issues we face have all been answered in truth and generally with clarity in the Christian doctrine. The Church may have some disagreements within on some of the smaller bits, but by and large the Christian understanding of God is the one that seems to make the most sense to me. The idea of redemption from sin being a gift is something unique to Christianity. We are clearly drawn to sin as humans, and without guiding principles rooted in Christ, we will fail.
I have faith that God is real. I believe he has created the universe that we exist in, and He's made us in his image, not necessarily in form, but definitely in mind. I believe He is timeless and immaterial. He is conscious and personally accessible. I believe God is loving, kind, and forgiving to those who are able to humble themselves before him. He used Abraham to bring his Son into the world so that we could be redeemed to him and we could receive his blessing. He used their origin story as a way to introduce himself to the world as a just and honest God, and he used their moral ineptitude as a way to show his gracious forgiving nature.
Genesis 12:1-3 GNV For the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house unto the land that I will show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing. I will also bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
I believe Jesus Christ (the man) was the Word of God in human form. He was a descendent of Abraham, born to the virgin Mary. He was raised in a modest setting, and when he was an adult he started a ministry that he brought to people all over the region. I believe the spirit of Jesus exists with the Father in eternity. He has been present since before our Genesis, and he will be the judge of this world.
John 1:1-4 GNV In the beginning was that Word, and that Word was with God, and that Word was God. This same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by it, and without it was made nothing that was made. In it was life, and that life was the light of men.
While Jesus was on earth, he taught that God's grace is a gift freely awarded rather than earned. This was something that existed throughout the entire Old Testament, but somehow it wasn't being taught. Instead, the synagogues taught the Law was the only way to God. They had turned faith in God into a kind of legalism. The poor and downtrodden were looked down upon because it was assumed their sin was to blame for all of their problems. The Pharisees failed to show God's love to the sinners of the world. Instead they thought they were better than other people, and they attributed God's election to their own greatness instead of recognizing it as grace. They "earned" it instead of it being freely given.
Romans 3:21-24 GNV But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, attested by the Law and the Prophets. The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Jesus spent his time teaching sinners that redemption was possible. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and raised the dead. This was all to show that God is great, forgiving, and gracious to those who accept his gifts freely. For this he was accused of blasphemy, and he was crucified. His body was buried in a tomb, and he rose from the dead on the third day. In his crucifixion and resurrection he fulfilled the debt obligation for our sins.
Romans 6:23 GNV For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When Jesus rose from the dead, he continued his ministry with his closest followers and friends. He told them that when he left them again, they'd be gifted with abilities that would help in spreading the Gospel throughout the lands. These gifts were provided by the Holy Spirit, an aspect of God that is harder to conceptualize as the Father and Son but is just as important. This aspect of God is one that he uses to guide people after accepting his word. I believe the 3 "persons" of God are distinct from one another, coexist, and together complete the Most High God. I will expand on how this is expressed in the universe in a later article I'm sure, but I just want to point out that I believe in a trinitarian Godhead which is comprised of 3 persons sharing one will.
I believe there is a greater plan God has for mankind. I don't pretend to know exactly what that plan is, but while we are here on earth, as one who has received his gracious forgiveness despite my wretched nature, I feel called to defense of the gospel message. His plan for me has brought me to where I am today, so I embrace the challenge and look forward to wherever this may lead. The next post will get into some of the history behind why I believe these things.