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Chapter 1 - The Power of Christianity Reduced to a Religion
Christianity spread rapidly for its first three hundred years under occasionally very adverse circumstances. Later in history the religion of Christianity would spread similar to Islam or other religions by trade advantages or by the sword. However, when considering how it spread initially, one can see what was at the core of Christianity, the supernatural power to change a life.
It is difficult today to even imagine a world that up until 100 years ago was the way humans lived. Most people grew up, lived, and died in the town or village in which they were born. They had a large number of siblings and cousins as well as aunts and uncles. Each person was known so completely as they grew up that nothing about a personís character was hidden. If a person was a drunk, intemperate, spiteful, or filled with rage, it was known by everyone. When someone became a Christian and became, kind, loving, considerate, and even showed selflessness, it was also known. People could see in Christianity that which was true, real, and useful.
The powerful testimony of a changed life was a sufficient inducement for many to chose to become Christians even if it meant social ostracism, loss of property, or even death. Today this inducement still occurs but is often not observed as people (even in families) do not know each other well enough and the Christian religion is flooded with those who have inherited a Christian legacy and may not even be Christian at all.
My parents were raised in a Christian religion where it was assumed that everyone was a real Christian because they had been baptized. Confirmation of this was seen in that church people seldom committed murder or were arrested for robbery. However, while many were real Christians and showed the selflessness of love as well as the fruit of the Spirit, most considered the absence of serious sins as proof of their faith.
My parents were convinced that they were not only Christians but fully complete and functional Christians because they had been baptized and confirmed. They didnít have a clue about what real Christianity was or how ignorant they were. While their parents were primarily to blame, the church which declared that they were complete and proficient was also to blame and perhaps even more so for their presentation of themselves as authoritatively speaking for God.
My parents were exposed to the religion of Christianity which was different than the person of Christ or what might be called useful Christianity. While many in Christian churches who follow Christianity as a religion may not even be Christian at all, sadly many who actually do trust in Christ receive no instruction as to how this would be useful in life. They feel that the totality of Christianity is getting out of hell and going to heaven. They usually think that for the rest of life they have to just accept whatever comes.
Ignorance is bad enough however, when a false understanding is substituted for real understanding a fraud is perpetrated. An ignorant person may seek out that which is missing. A person assured that he has full knowledge has no reason to seek out anything because he has been assured that he is complete. My parents strode out into life fully convinced that they were fully prepared.
Information about Christianity and the Christian life.
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