People who want to know why we’re Christians don’t always phrase their question with the words “What is the reason of the hope within you?” However the approach is worded, we’re to be ready with a meek, love-in-truth answer.
Not always have I been ready with the reason for our hope. Now I am. Let’s look at this together.
According to Webster, a religion is any specific system of belief, worship, and conduct involving a code of ethics (morality) and philosophy (a worldview).
Christianity is a religion – a system of beliefs, worship, and conduct. We often hear the statement that Christianity isn’t about religion, it’s about relationship. Christianity is a religion, the foundation of which is a vibrant, authentic relationship with Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ. It is a worldview that speaks to every area of this life and the next.
Christianity is the religion of the New Testament Scriptures, a Judeo-Christian belief system based on the entire Word of God, the Bible.
There are different doctrines within Christianity represented mainly by denominations. Denominations hold to varying doctrines; they are not different religions. Denominations are generally doctrinally divided by their originators. Catholicism has its popes, Protestants who broke from Catholicism beginning with Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley, among others, and, in general, hold to the fundamental truths of the gospel.
Christianity has fundamental doctrines that all true Christian denominations attest, the majority of which are listed here:
- The Creator God
- Mankind created in the image of God
- The fall of mankind resulting in the sin nature
- The immortality of man
- Salvation by grace through faith in the sinless sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God – virgin-born, fully God and fully Man
- The Trinity
- The inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God
- Eternal reward or punishment for deeds done in this life following a final judgment
Teaching that differs from these fundamental truths is heresy and a falling away from the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3; Galatians 1:8&9).
The answer to why I am a Christian and not a follower of another religion or cult has two parts.
- Only in Christianity is God the God He says He is in His Word and,
- Only in Christianity does God do for me what He says in His Word He’ll do.
- All non-Christian religions and cults have either a distorted view or an outright denial of the Trinity. All are marked in their confusion of the Persons of the Trinity and their deviation on the nature of God, altering Him, diminishing Him, or denying Him altogether.
Another characteristic common to cults and non-Christian religions is the false teachings regarding the deity, Person, work of atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, distorting or denying the second Person of the Trinity and Savior of mankind.
All cults and non-Christian religions grossly and painfully misrepresent the Holy Spirit, blasphemously denying His distinct place and Person in the Trinity.
The Bible is retranslated to match the erroneous beliefs of cults and non-Christian religions or it’s disregarded altogether. Words are redefined to fit false doctrines, or there is a claim of new, additional revelations that contradict and cancel biblical Scriptures. Thus the Bible is deliberately undermined and deceptions are reinforced to adherents of cults and non-Christian religions.
The only hope of eternal life is diabolically misrepresented to people lost and in desperate need of knowing the Lord and Savior of mankind as He is. Too many have swallowed the lie that we all believe in the same God. Any belief system that twists, perverts, or diminishes God from Who and What He is as He presents Himself in His Word does not know and serve the true and living Jehovah Triune God.
And so I am a Christian because only in Christianity is God the God He says He is in His Word.
- One teaching totally missing from all cults and non-Christian religions is the hope offered in the Gospel – the Christian message.
None teach the blessed hope of eternal salvation through faith in the blood of the everlasting covenant, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the spotless Son of God.
None teach that Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
None teach that He was God in human flesh, the one Mediator between God and man.
None teach justification and adoption through faith in Jesus Christ.
None teach redemption from the power of sin.
None teach the “come alongside” comfort of the Holy Spirit.
None teach the hope of heaven for eternity though having nothing within myself to earn that reward but that Christ in me is my hope of glory for He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Rather the teaching is that I must save myself by performing good works required by the group I’m in, or through many reincarnations, or mantras, meditations, or deprivations. And then heaven is represented as a state of mind, or an interplanetary confederation, or a sexually deviant paradise, or non-existent.
The only hope of eternal life is diabolically misrepresented to people lost and in desperate need of knowing the Lord and Savior of mankind as He is. Not one cult or non-Christian religion presents salvation to its adherents as it is offered to all who come in faith as presented in the true Gospel message.
And so I am a Christian because only in Christianity does God do for me what He says in His Word He’ll do for me.
The conjecture floats that cults are populated by people hurt or disappointed by Christians or the hypocrisy of church attenders. As Christians, let’s live holy lives, adorning the doctrine of God, that we not be stumblingblocks in the way of the lost coming to Christ, those who need our answer of hope. We must plead that God will open the eyes, ears, hearts, and minds of those blinded by the false teachings of cults and non-Christian religions, that they might turn to Jesus. Let’s pray and live true to our calling as Christians so others may come to know Him as He is, that He may do for them what He says in His Word He’ll do for them.
Many points taken from Josh McDowell and Don Stewart’s book, The DeceiversTags: deception, false doctrine, false gospel