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Christianity - Short Version
Christianity is about Christ. This person lived 2,000 years ago. He was both God and man. He was predicted to offer a kingdom to the nation of Israel. This offer was rejected and he was executed. He was raised from the dead and seen by over 500 people before he ascended into heaven. God offers eternal life to anyone who trusts in Christ. This eternal life is often what is called 'going to heaven'.
Christianity - Brief Version
Basically Christianity asserts that God created heaven and earth as well as angels and people. Some angels rebelled and convinced the first people to also rebell against the will of their creator. As a result, humans have been cut off from fellowship with God and ever since have had to deal with hardship and difficulty in life as a result of being born into a natural environment made hostile to us, the hurt we inflict on each other as a result of our unrestrained selfishness, and the manipulation of us by hostile angelic forces.
The solution God had in mind to rescue us from this sad situation was that he would send Jesus to be born into a people (Israel) he had chosen and through whom he had his word recorded. The Old Testament of the bible (the word of God recorded by prophets of Israel) is largely a history of these people. It is mostly a record of selfishness, vanity, disinterest in God, and outright rebellion against God. In short, they were a fair representation of all humanity. As proof of the truth of God and his word, they received prophecies, many of which have already been fulfilled, some, hundreds of years after they were made.
One prophecy was that in the future a Messiah (the Greek word Christ means the same thing, 'anointed') would come to be king. It was also foretold that he would be rejected and put to death. While Jesus (the Messiah or Christ) was dying on the cross, God placed on him the sins of the whole world. It may not be possible for us to fully understand what bearing the sins of everyone (past, present, and future) would entail, but the bible is pretty clear that this act was necessary in order for us to have the opportunity to escape being held accountable for our own sins.
It seems unlikely that a man rejected as king and executed as a criminal would be the central object of a major religion. Even though often severely persecuted the first three hundred years, Christianity became more and more sought and followed. What was most convincing was the power of a transformed life. The conversion to a sober husband, dutiful wife, loving father, or patient mother was such a compelling testimony that many sought to also follow Christ.
It seems that the more information that is presented about Christianity, the more questions are raised. For this reason, the rest of the book will be a detailed presentation following a mostly historical path but focusing on the concepts to illustrate and explain the Christian perspective.
A major reason Christianity is confusing and is often confused itself is that the devil (Satan) has been allowed to attack it over the centuries. One of his greatest successes was to get many to think he does not even exist. As Christianity is discussed, the role Satan has played in subverting it will be examined.
Aside from an obscure reference by the historian Josephus, our understanding of Christianity is derived from two sources, Christian tradition and the bible. Our traditions often have accumulated teaching that is not correct or even helpful and often contribute to confusion about Christianity. For this reason, the bible stands alone as critical to understand Christianity.
A second reason the bible is central to Christianity is that it is the means by which God accomplishes what he wills. This can seem an incredible claim to those who are unfamiliar with Christianity. However, one can consider the implication of the following statements from the bible.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. - Romans 10:17
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. - Isaiah 55:10-11
There are two general parts to this book. The first is a more detailed description of how life on earth was created, rebelled, a people was chosen, and a kingdom promised. The failure of the people to accept the kingdom resulted in a condition where other people (gentiles) are left hanging, being members of a kingdom that has not been manifest for 2,000 years.
The second part of the book is a detailed look at how those claiming to be Christian have been led so often to do and say things that bring the name of Christ into disrepute, in addition to causing much confusion. Even more sad are the many ways Christians (who are supposed to love each other) have been led to demonstrate contempt for and even harm each other.
Information about Christianity and the Christian life.
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