Writing about Jesus, by Justin

Justin Steckbauer, student of Religion - Liberty University, Ministry Intern - Salvation Army

The Search for Truth

Why do you exist?  What gives life meaning?  These questions puzzled me for years.  From science, to evolution, and then into post-modernism and relativism, I found few answers.  I believed in nothing for a time (secular humanism), then I believed in everything for a time (New Age mysticism).  Nothing seemed particularly true, one seemed empty and meaningless, the other seemed all inclusive and intriguing, yet entirely devoid of the actual factual truth.  Where did the search for truth inevitably lead me?  Full circle.  It began when I turned from a cross I didn't understand, and ended at a cross I still didn't understand.  I suppose the difference was that I was dying at the end, and my ego had been sufficiently shattered, to the point where calling on Jesus Christ was my last choice.  Did I know if it would save me?  No I didn't.  But it has saved me.  I invite you to join me on the journey.  I invite you to discover the cross of Jesus Christ.  And the peace there in.  

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Christianity: The Facts

“The Bible encourages people to put their faith in God. Unfortunately, many people equate faith with a blind leap in the dark or wishful thinking. But the faith that the Bible requires is intelligent faith. It is neither blind nor irrational. Biblical faith is a committing trust with an object (God) who is worthy of our faith. No one is asked to sacrifice his intellect when he puts his faith in the God of the Bible.” –Don Stewart,The Ten Wonders of the Bible, 1990, p. 13.

“The Christian faith does not call for us to put our minds on the shelf, to fly in the face of common sense and history, or to make a leap of faith into the dark. The rational person, fully apprised of the evidence, can confidently believe...” –William Lane Craig 


A: The Historical Jesus Christ is a fact.  The Bible when compared with recorded history is 99.7% accurate.  There have been several notable books on this topic, most notably "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel.  The point of contention is: did Jesus Christ rise from the dead?  Mark Driscoll did an engaging and entertaining sermon series around that topic called "Vintage Jesus" that can be found on Youtube.  

“Do you believe in the existence of Socrates? Alexander the Great? Julius Caesar? If historicity is established by written records in multiple copies that date originally from near contemporaneous sources, there is far more proof for Christ’s existence than for any of theirs.” –Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity, p. 296.

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.” –Nelson Glueck

B: The existence of God is not 100% provable but neither is the big bang.  There are many compelling arguments,such as the cosmological argument, moral argument, ontological argument, and teleological argument.  Evolution and Christianity are not necessarily at odds, Francis Collins a noted scientist has done lectures and wrote a book called "The Language of God" which lays out an excellent argument along those lines.  


C: The Philosophy and truth within Christianity can withstand the most powerful intellectual probing.  Youtube "Ravi Zacharias", he has done some of the most noted talks on the philosophy within Christianity and the defense of the faith.  I would recommend "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis which walks the reader step by step through the issues of the idea of belief.  I would also highly recommend "Orthodoxy" (click for a free audio version of it) by G.K. Chesterton a man who converted to Christianity after reading all the arguments for the atheist worldview and being thoroughly unimpressed, began to search out belief in a higher power, arriving eventually at the cross of Christ Jesus.  If you're a former believer, consider "Has Christianity failed you?" by Ravi Zacharias.  Would you like to have a look at Jesus Christ in comparison to other world religions?  Read "Jesus among other gods" by Ravi Zacharias.  If you're a highly analytical individual, William Lane Craig has done some excellent writing and speaking on the reason for God.  Others of notable mention are Lee Strobel and Tim Keller.

Christianity: The Basics

How do I become a Christian?

So you've looked at the arguments for God, the Bible, and Jesus.  You've decided there is enough evidence to take a leap of faith.  Or you just know in your heart there is a God, something bigger than you.  What's next?   

Christianity is about a personal relationship with God.  It's like a romance, or a close friendship, or a father-son/father-daughter relationship.  It's not about ritual or superstition.  The two most important parts of that relationship are prayer and Bible reading.  As a Christian I try to pray twice a day.  Sometimes I'll say the "Our Father" but most often I'll just get on my knees and talk to God.  It's about communication and love.  Prayer is how I talk to God, but how does God talk back?  That's where Bible reading comes in.  As I read the various books of the Bible, God will communicate through them to me.  Isn't that cool?

So I would encourage you to find a Bible, a good understandable translation like the New International Version, the English Standard Version,  New Living Translation, or even something very contemporary like The Message Translation.  Read through the Gospel of John.  That is my favorite Gospel.  Luke, Mark, and Matthew are great too though!  The Psalms are great to read through, they are poetry are out wonderful God.  If you have trouble understanding exactly what's being talked about, consider purchasing a quality Study Bible.  A Study Bible will include commentary and notes on the scriptures in front of you, to provide for better understanding of the Bible.

If you prefer to read on the computer, check out Bible Gateway.  You can go through the Bible in any translation you like.  There are even Bible commentaries, studies, and Audio Bibles.  There are Bible apps as well, like YouVersion for all phones.  

Once you've read through the Bible, ask yourself, do I understand that I need a Savior to remove my sins?  Do I realize I've fallen short of the perfect requirement of God, just like the rest of humanity?  Do I understand that God is sovereign over my life, and I want him to be my personal God?  

If so, go on your knees before God, and say a prayer similar to this: Father God of the Bible, I realize now that you're real, your Bible is real, and your son Jesus Christ is real.  I admit to you Father that I've sinned against you, I confess my sins to you now, and I admit that I need a Savior.  You have provided that Savior.  I accept Father, today I accept your son Jesus Christ, and his work on the cross as the necessary payment for all my sins, past, present, and future.  Please Father, cloth me in his righteousness.  Father God I make you the Lord of my life, please grant me your Holy Spirit to guide me in my new life as a Christian.  Thank you so much Father, it's in Jesus Christ name I pray this prayer, Amen. 

Then pursue that new life.  Find a good Bible believing church in your area.  Join a Bible study.  Read books on the Christian life.  Pray and pray a lot.  Get involved in discipleship and evangelism as well.  Learn and grow as a Christian.  Establish a network of relationships with Christians in your area.  And live it my friend, live it.  Finish the journey strong, and live forever with your family of believers in the next phase of existence, after this life comes to an end.  May God bless you and keep you until then!

 

Video Presentations on Christianity

I found these very helpful in my struggle to intellectually understand Christianity.  These are some of the leading figures in Christianity today.  

 

 

 

Rick Warren addresses the topic of living a Life of Significance

Ravi Zacharias at Oxford University "What does it mean to be Human?"

Presentation by Ravi Zacharias at UCLA on the cultural climate of Western Culture and the relevance of Christianity. Ravi is a wonderfully engaging and entertaining speaker, enjoy! :)

Mark Driscoll on establishing the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mark is crass and straight forward, somewhat lude, but hey, that's the culture he's engaging. Just a forewarning :)

Are there other Gods or is Jesus the only God? Another presentation by Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill church in Seattle.

Apologist Frank Turek debates atheist Christopher Hitchens

Ken Ham debates Bill Nye, this debates is in regards to young earth creationism, so not necessarily specifically on the existence of God or Christianity, but informative none-the-less

Ravi Zacharias Q&A at Princeton University

 

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