What Do Reformed Christians Believe?

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Aapex, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. Aapex


    I want to clear up some misunderstanding about religion on these boards.

    This is NOT an attempt to proselytize or convince others to become Christians.

    No one can convince the skeptic that there is a God.
    No skeptic can convince the believer that there is no God.

    Salvation is the work of God alone. God quickens the heart unto salvation. Salvation is not won by compelling arguments or wit.
    Salvation is the work of God.

    The Christian is called to 'witness' or explain what they believe and why they believe it. THAT'S IT!

    As Christians we are to share the Gospel not try to win arguments or convince others to be saved and place their trust in Jesus. God has already determined whom will be saved and those that believe are the chosen remnant or "seed of Abraham".
    For not all that are of Abraham are of Abraham. But only those that believe the Gospel are saved.

    I just want to demonstrate how we are different from the norm of what the world calls Christianity or Protestant. WE are not Roman Catholics or any other denomination. However we do hail from Baptist roots.

    so you might say what do "Reformed BAPTISTS believe?

    A. Reformed Baptist are Puritan or Calvinistic Reformers in Doctrine, belief and practice as it is discussed in the 1689.

  2. Aapex


    Introductory Essay on the Puritans

    In many of the Puritan portraits shown on our website, it says that many of these men were suspended from their ministry, and/or excommunicated for "non-conformity." To most Christians today, the matter of conformity and non-conformity are at least unknown, and at best considered to be irrelevant. But the story of the Protestant faith in Great Britain and America is that of men who, for the sake of conscience, guided by Scripture, could not conform to the dictates of their church. And the matters becomes more confusing–at least in our day, and most likely in their own–when we consider that the Church of England at that time was not considered by anyone to be apostate! So we have thousands of godly ministers being suspended from the ministry, stripped of their licenses to preach, and excommunicated by a Christian church, which still believed in justification by faith alone, the deity of Christ, the faithful preaching of the Word, and church discipline.

    Some questions surely arise, such as: What were the issues? Why couldn’t they all "just get along"? How can we be so impressed with men who were disciplined out of a Christian church? Would we admire a Jeremiah Burroughs as much if we thought of him as a suspended, excommunicated minister? Would we have him in our pulpits today if he were alive? In this essay, we hope to shed some light on some of these questions.

    On August 24th, 1572, a dreadful massacre took place. The Huguenots, the French Protestants, were slaughtered by the edict of Charles IX. Thousands were hunted down and shot, or otherwise barbarously destroyed. After this took place, all the princes of Europe expressed their indignation except the King of Spain and the Pope. In Rome, great rejoicing took place, and the messenger who brought the news of the massacre, which came to be remembered as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, was liberally rewarded. The pope went out publicly in a grand procession, performed high mass with all the splendor of his court, and ordered the Te Deum to be sung to celebrate the event. According to Richard Baxter, "thirty or forty thousand Protestants perished by religious Roman zeal."

    That same date, August 24th, was chosen by the professedly Protestant rulers of England, 90 years later, to put into force a new "Act of Uniformity," which was designed to expel great numbers from the church. It is generally acknowledged that over 2,000 godly ministers were expelled from pulpits and lecterns all over England. The demands under which they were placed by the Church of England were such that it left them with a choice: either conform to what they considered to be unbiblical demands, or refuse to conform and accept the penalties and consequences. But these men could not commit perjury; they could not profess to approve what in reality they condemned; they could not adopt what they believed to be false, nor could they abjure what they considered to be true. In their minds, they were placed in a position in which they could submit to man or obey God, and, of course, most of them chose the latter alternative.

    It was Henry VIII who denied the supremacy of the Pope of Rome, but by doing so he set himself up as the Pope of England by making his will the standard of religious faith and worship. King Henry disavowed the pope’s authority because he would not annul his marriage. But there remained many "popish trappings" in the worship of the Church of England, and much corruption, which was what the Puritans wanted to "purify" or reform.

    When the first English sovereign of the Stuart line ascended the throne as the successor of Elizabeth, though he had been brought up under Scottish presbyterianism, and had professed to regard that as the purest church in the world, it was soon manifest that he was determined to maintain the Episcopal church. The Puritans were told that they were conform to the King and to the Church of England. Unfortunately, when the King is head of the country and the church, to disobey in the church is to disobey the civil magistrate as well.

    Some of the issues to which they had been asked to conform revolved around these actual questions:

    * Is your communion table so placed within the Chancel as the Canon directs?

    * Doth your minister pray for the king using his whole title?

    * Doth he receive the sacrament kneeling himself, and administer to none but such as kneel? Doth your minister baptize with the sign of the cross?

    * Doth he wear the surplice while he is reading prayers and administering the sacraments?

    * Are the graves in the church-yard dug east and west, and the bodies buried with their heads to the west?

    * Do your parishioners kneel at confession, stand up at the creed, and bow at the glorious name of Jesus?
  3. Aapex


    The Church of England considered all of these, and over 130 others, to be so essential that absolute conformity to all of them was required. There was no "liberty of conscience" in any of these matters.

    Under Archbishop William Laud, non-conformists were sentenced to pay heavy fines, to stand in the pillory, to have their noses slit, their ears cut off, to be branded on the cheeks with hot irons, and to suffer long imprisonments, even unto death. When Cromwell established the Commonwealth, religious liberty was granted to dissenters, and devoted ministers had liberty to preach the gospel and conduct worship in the manner they preferred. But after the death of Cromwell, Charles II drifted towards civil and religious tyranny. Those who advised him determined that those who had ranked as Puritan divines should be cast out of the Church. They decided that there must be full uniformity in the Church, and that a new "Act of Uniformity" should be passed, which required that everyone who ministered must be ordained with Episcopalian orders, no matter what their previous ordination may have been; each minister must give his full and unqualified adhesion to everything in the Book of Common Prayer and Service Book.

    This was passed into law by parliament, and all ministers were given until August 24, 1662 to comply, or give up their pulpits and teaching positions in any public institution or school. They would be forbidden to exercise their ministry in any way other than that appointed by the Church of England, and, if they did not conform, would lose the profits of their livings for that year. On that fateful day, over 2000 ministers and teachers either resigned their livings or were ejected by the Church of England for refusing to conform.

    There was one great principle prevailing with them all: they ought not to yield obedience to the civil ruler in what they believed to be contrary to the will of Christ. They could not give that subscription to a book of human composition which they believed to be only due to the Word of God, and especially to a book which, in their judgment, contained many things contrary to the teachings of that Word.

    They could not renounce their prior ordinations without thereby declaring that those ordinations were invalid. They could not allow themselves to be forced to use, without any liberty of conscience, a number of ceremonies in religious worship, and to wear certain vestments, which they felt savored of superstition and which were relics of Romanism.

    Philip Henry, father of the famous Matthew Henry, stated that he could not submit to re-ordination, which was done by "the laying on of the hands of the presbytery," and that he dared not do anything that looked like a renunciation of it as null and sinful. This would have made invalid all his previous ministerial work. He, and others, could not give his "unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained in the Book of Common Prayer," for that would be to affirm everything in that books as true and good.

    Their objections to the Book of Common Prayer were based on their belief that it taught some things contrary to the Word of God. For example, they believed that it taught baptismal regeneration; it required godfathers and godmothers in baptism, to the exclusion of parents; it required making the sign of the cross at baptism, which they felt was a superstitious addition to a divine ordinance. They would be forced to reject all from the Lord’s Supper who would not receive it kneeling; they could not consent to pronounce all saved over whom they were required to read the burial service; and it required them to read the apocryphal books under the title of Holy Scripture.

    Their refusal to do these things made these conscientious ministers liable to excommunication, because, in essence, they were seen as charging the Prayer book with containing things repugnant to Scriptures; they were seen as affirming some of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as erroneous. And for this, they were excommunicated until they "repented and publicly revoked their wicked errors." In fact, the Act of Uniformity declared that they were to be regarded and treated as if they were dead.

    Most of the Puritans had signed the Solemn League and Covenant, and the Act of Uniformity required them to renounce that document. The Puritans saw the imposition of such demands as sinful, and that to obey them would be equally sinful. One minister named Atkins declared that he would die for his king, but he would not be damned for him!

    For this non-conformity, these men, in varying degrees, were abused, mistreated, forced out of their churches and pulpits, imprisoned, and deprived of their livings. Some of them took the approach that only God can call a minister, and only God can remove a minister. Joseph Alleine died at the age of 36, in prison for non-conformity. John Bunyan spent 12 years in jail for the crime of continuing to preach. Some of them preached with soldiers holding loaded guns to their heads. Some preached in the churchyard since they were forbidden to preach in the church itself. Some preached in the streets. Some who were imprisoned found their congregations gathered outside their jail cells on Sunday mornings, and so preached to them through prison bars.

    Edmund Calamy, one of the most prominent ministers in London, would not conform. He decided to attend his former church for worship, but the supplying minister failed to show up, so the congregation asked Calamy if he had a sermon he could give them. He did so, and was arrested.

    Another Puritan was arrested for praying with a parishioner, being told that "praying is preaching." There are accounts of ministers being beaten in the pulpit while preaching by soldiers. Because of their attempts to circumvent these restrictions, the Five Mile Act was passed, which forbade anyone who would not conform from preaching or teaching within a five mile radius of a church or public school!

    Each account of preaching after the Great Ejection of 1662 brought with it an automatic prison sentence of 3 months. Christopher Ness, most known for his book An Antidote Against Arminianism, was excommunicated 4 times! It certainly becomes problematic to think of recommending Christopher Ness to one’s pastor to fill the pulpit, and then explaining that he has been excommunicated by a Christian church, and has spent time in jail for his contumacy!

    Many of the Puritans started private congregations in their homes. Others started theological schools in their homes. Some left England and went to Holland; others came to America, such as Thomas Hooker, John Cotton, John Norton, and many others who distinguished themselves as New England Puritans. It was a dark day for the Puritans, and ultimately led to the end of the movement. But today we regard these men as heroes, and rightly so. No church can demand that which the Bible does not demand, and men are obligated to disobey if they are being asked to sin against a conscience that is held captive to the Word of God. It is not a lack of submission to refuse to do that which a governing body does not have biblical warrant to ask in the first place. The sin, then, is on the imposing body, not on the non-conforming person.
  4. Aapex



    Paragraph 1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience,1 although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will which is necessary unto salvation.2 Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in diversified manners to reveal Himself, and to declare (that) His will unto His church;3 and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God's revealing His will unto His people being now completed.4
    1 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29,31; Eph. 2:20
    2 Rom. 1:19-21, 2:14,15; Psalm 19:1-3
    3 Heb. 1:1
    4 Prov. 22:19-21; Rom. 15:4; 2 Pet. 1:19,20

    Paragraph 2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

    1 Samuel
    2 Samuel 1 Kings
    2 Kings
    1 Chronicles
    2 Chronicles
    Proverbs Ecclesiastes
    The Song of
    Joel Amos

    1 Corinthians
    2 Corinthians
    Galatians Ephesians
    1 Thessalonians
    2 Thessalonians
    1 Timothy
    2 Timothy
    Philemon Hebrews
    1 Peter
    2 Peter
    1 John
    2 John
    3 John

    All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.5
    5 2 Tim. 3:16

    Paragraph 3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.6
    6 Luke 24:27,44; Rom. 3:2

    Paragraph 4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.7
    7 2 Pet. 1:19-21; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 John 5:9

    Paragraph 5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to a high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.8
    8 John 16:13,14; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20,27

    Paragraph 6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.9 Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word,10 and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.11
    9 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Gal. 1:8,9
    10 John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:9-12
    11 1 Cor. 11:13,14; 1 Cor. 14:26,40

    Paragraph 7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all;12 yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.13
    12 2 Pet. 3:16
    13 Ps. 19:7; Psalm 119:130

    Paragraph 8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old),14 and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by His singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them.15 But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read,16 and search them,17 therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come,18 that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.19
    14 Rom. 3:2
    15 Isa. 8:20
    16 Acts 15:15
    17 John 5:39
    18 1 Cor. 14:6,9,11,12,24,28
    19 Col. 3:16

    Paragraph 9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which are not many, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.20
    20 2 Pet. 1:20, 21; Acts 15:15, 16

    Paragraph 10. The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.21
    21 Matt. 22:29, 31, 32; Eph. 2:20; Acts 28:23
  5. Aapex



    If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a million times, “You can’t take the Bible literally.” You often hear people say that although it may be inspirational, it’s also full of myths and fables. Well, is this really true?

    If the Bible is really full of myths and fables, it would certainly be appropriate to read it as such. However, the simple fact is that the Bible certainly doesn’t fit that category.

    For one thing, the biblical writers flatly denied teaching mythology. For example, Peter said, “We didn’t follow cleverly devised tales when we told you about the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His Majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16). In fact, the Apostle Paul urged Timothy to teach his congregation to disregard mythology (1 Tim. 1:4). He warned that a time was coming when people would “turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to mythology” (2 Tim. 4:4).

    Besides all of this, the myths of the ancient world were never based on solid historical fact. They were stories invented to explain such recurring phenomena like the changing of the seasons or the motion of the stars. The events recorded in the Scripture, on the other hand, are firmly rooted in history. By way of illustration, it is an accepted historical fact that Israel became a nation after the exodus from Egypt. Later, Israel became a monarchy, David and Solomon really lived, and on and on and on. It is also a historical fact that Jesus was a Jew who preached about God the Father, who claimed to be God, worked miracles, and was crucified during Pilate’s reign. All of this is, in fact, literal history.

    In addition, the supernatural aspects of Scripture are presented just as matter-of-factly as the rest. And indeed, the most stupendous miracle recorded in the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, has been authenticated by numerous scholarly studies including the late great Dr. Simon Greenleaf. Dr. Greenleaf was the Royal Professor of Legal Evidences at Harvard University. He was goaded by his students into looking at the evidences for the resurrection. After a thorough examination he came back and said, “There is not a single unbiased juror in the world who would ever look at the evidence and deny it. Dr. Simon Greenleaf became a Christian. The Bible is not mythology and was never meant to be read as such.
  6. Aapex


    how do we know that the bible is the word of god?

    If I’ve heard it once I’ve probably heard it a 1000 times! Some Christian comes up to me and says, “The Bible says!!…. So what?!… Who says what the Bible says is true in the first place?”

    First, we know that the Bible is God’s Word because no less an authority than Jesus Christ Himself says it is. Sounds like circular reasoning, right?

    Not so fast, the New Testament documents are actually very reliable historically. The authors of the New Testament were either eyewitnesses to the life of Christ, or were close associates of eyewitnesses. And so they give a clear testimony as to the deity of Jesus Christ. Jesus not only claimed to be God, but He proved His claim through [1] the fulfillment of messianic prophecy, [2] the performance of miracles, and ultimately and most succinctly through His historically verifiable resurrection from the dead.

    If you can prove that Jesus is God in human flesh, whatever He says is truth. And what does Jesus say concerning the bible? He says that it is the very Word of God! As to the Old Testament, Jesus said that the “Scriptures cannot be broken,” and therefore they are sufficient, authoritative, and inspired. In fact, he went on to promise that the Bible will guide not only his apostles, but all of us in the truth — the truth he was talking about is not subjective truth, but objective verifiable truth.

    Now as I’ve shown inductively, Jesus Christ Himself, God incarnate, testifies not only to Scripture’s authority (Matt. 22:43), but to its reliability (Matt. 26:54), to its sufficiency (Luke 16:31), and finally to its finality (Matt. 4:4,7,10). Bottom line: The living Word (Jesus) bears testimony to the Written Word (the Bible).

    The truth is, demonstrating that the Bible is the Word of God is not all that difficult. Of course you have to be dealing with someone who is an open minded person. If someone has already made up his mind and doesn’t want to be confused with the facts, you’re never going to be able to talk him into the kingdom. Only the Holy Spirit can truly open the heart.
  7. Aapex



    Obviously, a vast amount of time has passed since the Bible was first penned. So, how do we know that the Bible is reliable?

    The Bible is a historical document. Interestingly enough, if you subject it to the same tests that you subject other historical documents to, you’ll discover that the Bible proves itself to be far superior to any other ancient writing.

    First, let’s look at the New Testament which, incidentally, was originally written in the Greek language between 50 and 100 A.D. Although we don’t have the original autographs, there are presently some 5,000 Greek manuscripts in existence, with as many as 25,000 more copies. Just as amazing is the fact that the earliest manuscripts can be dated back as far as 120 A.D. This is tremendous when you consider that only seven of Plato’s manuscripts are in existence today — and there’s a 1,300-year gap which separates the earliest copy from the original writing! Equally amazing is another fact; and that is, that the New Testament has been virtually unaltered. This has been demonstrated by scholars who have compared the earliest written manuscripts with manuscripts written centuries later. And remember, the accounts in the New Testament were recorded directly by eyewitnesses, (or by those who were associated with them) and in fact had close contact with the events themselves.

    But what about the Old Testament? Let’s take a quick look at one of the most incredible finds of the century — the Dead Sea Scrolls. With the discovery of these manuscripts at Qumran in 1946, texts were found that were about 1,000 years older than any previously-known Old Testament manuscript. And when compared with the later texts, these writings proved to be virtually identical.

    With every turn of the archaeologist’s spade, we see further evidence of Scripture’s trustworthiness. Such renowned and historical scholars as William Albright and Sir Frederick Kenyon have clearly testified that the findings of archaeology have served to underscore the authenticity of the Bible. Well, is the Bible reliable? I believe the evidence speaks for itself. And with that, I rest my case.
  8. Aapex


    reliability of the bible manuscripts

    Non-Christians, (skeptics like New Agers or Mormons) claim that in the process of copying Scripture the text of the Bible was corrupted. Is this really true?

    Suppose you wrote an essay and asked five friends to copy it. Each of them in turn asked five more friends to do the same — kind of like a chain letter. By the fifth “generation,” you would have approximately four thousand copies. Now, obviously, in the process, some people are going to make some copying errors. The first five people to copy it would make mistakes, and then most of the people who copy from them will make some more mistakes. Eventually you’d have thousands of copies and all of them flawed.

    Sounds pretty bad, right? But hold on. Your five friends might make mistakes, but they wouldn’t all make the same mistakes. If you compared all of the copies, you would find that one group contained the same mistake while the other four did not — which of course, would make it easy to tell the copies from the original. Not only that, but most of the mistakes would be obvious — things like misspelled words or words that were accidentally omitted. Anyone looking at all four thousand copies would have no trouble figuring out which was the original.

    That’s essentially the same situation with the Bible. We’ve got thousands of copies of the Bible in its original language, and scholars who have studied them have been able to classify them into groups and in most cases determine what the original documents actually said. The few cases which are still debated by scholars really don’t affect the basic message of the Bible at all.

    In fact, interestingly enough when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered at Qumran, they predated the earliest extant text — the Masoretic text by almost one thousand years — yet in spite of this vast span of time, there was no substantive difference at all…..In fact, in looking at Isaiah 53 there were only 17 changes between the Masoretic text and those found at Qumran — 10 involved spelling, 4 style and 3 involved the Hebrew letters for the word light in verse 11. However, none of these differences were substantive — God has indeed preserved His Word.
  9. Aapex



    It’s often said that the validity of Christianity rests upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But how do we know Jesus rose from the dead?

    As Paul noted in 1 Corinthians 15:14, if Christ did not rise from the dead then our preaching and our faith are useless. We must therefore be prepared to demonstrate that Christ’s resurrection was an event that occurred in space and time — that it was in fact historical, and not mythological (cf. 2 Pet. 1:16). The importance of this event cannot be minimized as Jesus Himself proclaimed that His resurrection would prove His power over death, and thus His deity (John 2:18-22).

    Of the variety of evidence we have available, none is more compelling than the fact that over five hundred individuals saw Jesus (1 Cor. 15:6) during a 40-day period following His death and burial (Acts 1:3). In fact, the Apostles appealed to Christ’s resurrection as proof for the truth of the gospel (Acts 17:18, 31). The historical evidence for the resurrection is so compelling that the famed Harvard law professor, Simon Greenleaf, concluded that any cross-examination of the eyewitness testimonies recorded in Scripture will result in “an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth.”

    And even as we consider alternative explanations, reason drives us back to the conclusion that Christ rose from the dead. We know that the Romans had no intentions of stealing Christ’s body because the last thing they wanted was any turmoil that was sure to follow such an event. The Jewish religious leaders would also have no motive in stealing the body since that would only stir up the very movement they tried to crush. And certainly, the disciples could not have stolen the body; after all, would anyone really suffer and die for a cause that they knew to be a lie? It is conceivable that someone may die for the truth, but inconceivable that hundred’s of his follower’s would, in fact, be willing to die for what they knew to be a lie.

    All this leads us to only one possibility — that Jesus indeed rose from the dead, and lives to be our Lord and our Savior (cf. Rev. 1:18)!
  10. Aapex



    There sure are a lot of religions out there today. You’ve got Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, etc. So obviously Christianity is just another “ism,” right?

    The truth is Christianity happens to be unique among the world’s religions for several important reasons. Not the least of which happens to be that Christianity, unlike other religions, is historic and evidential. The fact is, Jesus Himself is a figure of history. He was, of course, born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of Caesar Augustus, and was put to death by Pontius Pilate, a first century Roman Governor. And, more importantly, the testimony of his life, death, and resurrection happened to come to us by way of eyewitness accounts (2 Pet. 1:16; 1 John 1:1-4). Christianity therefore is a historical faith, and its truth claims can be evaluated by examining the facts and testimony of history. None of the other religions of the world can claim this kind of historical support.

    Another unique feature of Christianity is that its founder claimed to be God. Of the great religious leaders of the world (Buddha, Moses, Zoroaster, Lao Tzu, Mohammed) only Jesus claimed to be God in human flesh (John 8:58). And this is not an empty claim because it is supported by Christ’s historically verifiable resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-8). Other religions like Buddhism and Islam claim miracles in support of their faith, but unlike Christianity, these miracles lack historical verification.

    An additional feature which sets Christianity apart from the other religions is that its beliefs system happens to be coherent. Some Christian doctrines may transcend logical categories — and even appear paradoxical — but unlike the religions of the east, they are not irrational or absurd. Oh, and before I forget, the Christian faith is unique in that it can account for the vast array of phenomena which we encounter in life — things like the laws of science, the universal laws of logic, ethical norms, love, meaning in life, and, of course, the problem of evil. So to state it philosophically, the Christian faith corresponds to the present state of affairs.

    Yes my friend, Christianity’s unique distinctions are very good reasons to embrace it.
    #10     Apr 9, 2006