10. CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURE IS SUPERIOR TO OTHER BOOKS.
The Bible is a marvelous book. No other religious book is in the same league. It is the only divinely inspired book. It is not just a better book than any other religious or philosophical work because it reads better, it is superior because it alone comes to us from God. I try to read other spiritual resources and, despite the practical wisdom found therein, I eventually discover that these works do not compare with the words of Jesus and His Apostles. Moreover, other religious works often use the Bible as their starting point. Why read a second-hand presentation of the Bible when you can go directly to the source?
Secular literature and philosophical musing do not sufficiently explain mankind and our problems, and they continually need revision when they come across some new theory. They do not account for the origin of things around us. While the books of others may temporarily stir hearts on a variety of topics, they do not have the enduring impact the Bible does.
9. THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IS THE FINEST INSTITUTION THAT EVER WAS.
I recall touring around on my bicycle one bright sunny Sunday morning and seeing a group of Christians entering a church. I wondered to myself what caused people to assemble there on a day they should be out amusing themselves. I surmise that this incident was the initial calling of God which, over the course of a year or more, caused me to join them.
I admire people who work in churches. I am keen on the full-time pastors and also those men and women who are not professional clergy, but provide leadership by serving and teaching others. The sturdy men who protect the church and its doctrines from ravenous wolves are heroes.
I love the church – just about any church. The Church is where God meets man. The Church is superior to any other organization because she is formed by the Gospel.
I even have a fondness for its authority and restraints. These so-called “manacles,” as some see them, are energizing and cathartic in ways I cannot describe to people outside the Church. I am not able to explain why I embrace its discipline. To those outside the church, restraint is a threat to their many freedoms. Yet I find living under the management of godly men is a blessing from God, and is in my opinion the most liberating life I could ever want or ever had.
8. SOCIETY BENEFITS FROM CHRISTIANS LIVING AMONG THEM.
God’s people have always been a blessing to the world. Jacob was an asset to Laban’s household [i]and Joseph’s positive influence as Prime Minister in Egypt was the cause for abundance and prosperity in a time of famine [ii].
Think of the benefits the Roman Emperor’s “conversion” brought to the world (crucifixions eliminated and a humane treatment of slaves comes to mind). Eventually the Christians’ political influences proscribed slavery altogether.
Think of the contribution Christians brought to the world by elevating the status of woman.
The fact that the United States sends aid (billions of dollars) to help the poor all over the world – with no expectation of repayment– is a result of Christian principles embedded into our culture.
The existence of hospitals and schools all over the world was, from the onset, a Christian concept.
Roosevelt’s D-day prayer was a plea to God to preserve our American Christian nation. Even though he may or may not have been a
believer himself, the President apparently thought Christianity was worth preserving in light of Hitler’s worldview. Do you not wholeheartedly agree?
Look at how many Christian scientists have blessed the world. They were inspired to dig deeper to learn more about God’s creation and thus made stunning advances. The truly groundbreaking discoveries were made by scientists who were at least in name and practice “Christian:” Copernicus, Bacon, Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Faraday, Mendel, Kelvin, Max Planck, and others too numerous to mention. Today’s scientific community stands on the shoulders of these great men.
Christians have contributed the most glorious art and inspiring music to the world. Christian music and books continually outsell others.
The world sometimes dismisses Christians; consequently they miss them when they are gone.
7. THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IS REMARKABLE.
First there was Jesus. Then Jesus and John the Baptist. Then there were twelve more. These humble beginnings produced a following of billions all over the globe.
How has the belief of a handful of people in Jerusalem two thousand years ago expanded into a worldwide faith?
6. CHRISTIANITY IS UNIFIED, YET DIVERSE IN NONESSENTIALS.
Despite differences on when and how faith should be practiced, Christianity is not divided on what should be observed as a community. All Christians recognize and agree on the essentials of the faith. Each Sunday morning countless churches recite identical creeds. We sing the same hymns. We worship Jesus Christ and profess Him as Lord and King. All Christians believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Communion) should be practiced. All Christians profess Jesus is alive and He is the undisputed Leader of our faith. All Christians believe Jesus will return to earth in great glory to judge both the living and the dead.
5. MEN AND WOMEN BECOME CHRISTIANS THROUGH MIRACULOUS CONVERSIONS.
I became a Christian in May of 1987. I thought this was a unique experience, never before encountered in all of human history. Later I learned that my conversion was not all that distinctive, but the details of my life-change are in accord with the spiritual rebirth of innumerous people all over the globe. I met others who shared an identical experience. I have traveled to various places only to find that similar conversions have taken place. Furthermore, historical accounts of the transformed lives of ancient Christians are comparable to my own [iii].
It is the same Holy Spirit who converts Billy Graham who transforms the most vile and murderous sinner in the deep jungles of the Amazon.
How does one explain this phenomenon? The answer is we have the same Living Lord indwelling us all.
4. CHRISTIANITY MAKES SENSE.
I can still remember the thoughts I was mulling over in my mind shortly before my conversion: Of course I did not know God. Obviously I am a sinner. I will need to pay for the sins I committed – there were many of them. I clearly need someone or Someone to bear the sin debt because I am unable. Jesus Christ is coming back to judge the living and the dead, this I knew; therefore, an invitation to be on His side in the Afterlife – and to be pardoned – seemed far too generous (and too good) to be true. How could I say no to an offer of mercy, a proposal made by Christ Himself? And besides that, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to spend eternity with Jesus Christ? He is a good King. I recall wanting to permanently reside in proximity of Jesus’s Kingdom-whatever that meant.
This made sense to me on the 19th of May 1987. It still does.
3. CHRISTIANITY HAS A SUSTAINING POWER THROUGH THE LIFE OF ITS LIVING GOD.
Not only is the initial conversion experience truly remarkable in and of itself, but so is the life-change that ensues and perseveres and progresses without fail. It’s as though the Living Lord’s blood is flowing through His people’s veins.
One of the first “talks” I had with the Lord was probably too primitive for refined churchmen. I wanted Jesus to know that I had a history of failing to keep my promises. Therefore, I pleaded with the Lord to keep me forever. If it were up to me, I reckoned, I would give up under duress; therefore, I “told” the Lord if I decided to quit following Him, please don’t let me. I did not want to let Him down. Observe how Christians perceive that Jesus is genuinely alive and active in their lives. I believed, and still believe, that Jesus Christ is more alive than anyone I read about in books or in the newspaper.
What I did not know at the time is that whoever God accepts into His family is made permanently secure by His Spirit [iv]. Despite their struggles with earthly sins, His people can never entirely fall away from His mercy and grace [v]. The people of God will persevere to the very end and will be eternally saved [vi].
Jesus is eternal [vii]. Jesus promised to never leave or forsake His people [viii]. He indwells them forever. His people cannot perish because Jesus cannot perish [ix].
I initially thought that my ability to persevere depended on my free will. But as the Bible has pointed out, the perseverance of His people does not depend on the shifting aspirations of mere mortals, but on the unchanging love of God Who chooses them.
Theologians call this doctrine the “Perseverance of the Saints;” however, it is better to think of it as it as Jesus Christ Who is doing the persevering.
2. THE CHRISTIAN’S FUTURE IS GLORIOUS.
All Christians affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly and in great glory. We look forward to His return [x]. Our Lord’s physical return is so clearly taught in Scripture that there can be no question in this regard.
As a young Christian I read the final chapters of the book of Revelation. I knew that being on the right side of Jesus Christ was the best alternative. Furthermore, this King Jesus I read about in the Gospels was Someone with whom I truly wanted to spend eternity.
Who in their right mind wouldn’t?
1. THE CHRISTIAN LEADER, JESUS CHRIST, IS SUPERIOR TO OTHER RELIGIOUS TEACHERS.
I meet people who claim they love Jesus but see Him as one figure in a pantheon of spiritual luminaries. Here is their Jesus: the friendly carpenter turned divine avatar; here Jesus is like Ghandi. He is the friend of humanity who, when He became angry, occasionally threatened entire cities with ‘you will be brought down to Hades; [xi]’ here Jesus is like Muhammad. Their Jesus said, “I am the Way, The Truth, and the Life. No Man comes to the Father except through Me;”however, He permitted other religious views to coincide with His own.
The trouble with these jesuses is that they are not the One portrayed in the Gospels.
The Jesus in the Bible is the one in whom all fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form [xii]. The writer of Hebrews recognized Jesus as the One
to whom the Psalm is addressed: Thy throne O God, is forever and ever [xiii]. The Apostle John said Jesus is the eternal Word who had become flesh for His people’s salvation[xiv]. He is the One like the Son of Man to whom world dominion is given [xv]. He is the One who has authority to forgive sins because He has the authority to execute judgment [xvi].
Jesus is alive. He is coming back to judge the living and the dead. Muhammad is dead. Buddha is dead. Joseph Smith is dead. All the others are dead, too; they are trapped in tombs.
Why follow the teachings of dead religious leaders when you can follow the Living Lord?
[i] Genesis 29
[ii] Genesis 41f
[iii] Emperor Constantine, Augustine, Calvin, Pascal, Bunyan, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Newton, Livingstone, Spurgeon, Tolstoy, Schweitzer, C.S. Lewis, Lin Yutang, Hammarskjöld, Muggeridge, Chuck Colson, et al.
[iv] Philippians 1:6
[v] 2 Peter 1:10
[vi] John 10:28-29; 1 John 3:9; 1 Peter 1:5, 9
[vii] John 1:1; John 8:58
[viii] Hebrews 13:5
[ix] 2 Corinthians 13:4; 1 John 3:24
[x] Titus 2:13
[xi] Luke 10:15; Matthew 11:23
[xii] Colossians 2:9
[xiii] Hebrews 1:9; Psalm 45:6
[xiv] John 1:1f
[xv] Daniel 7:13
[xvi] Mark 2:10; John 5:27