Communicate Christianity’s Most Revolutionary Ideas to Others
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2012 15 Jun
Editor's note: This article is based on 7 Truths that Changed the World: Discovering Christianity’s Most Dangerous Ideas by Kenneth Richard Samples, copyright 2012 by Reasons to Believe. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com.
In this era when many people have neglected to learn what the Bible says and have pushed aside the truths of historic Christianity in society, too many people are unaware of how powerfully Christian ideas can change their lives and the world for the better. They need faithful Christians like you to communicate the faith’s most revolutionary ideas to them in fresh ways.
Here’s how you can reach others for Christ with seven uniquely Christian ideas that changed the world when they were first introduced and still have the same revolutionary power:
Help people understand the resurrection. Christianity is the only religion in the world’s history to make the startling claim that not all dead people stay dead. Historical evidence abounds of Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection after His sacrificial death on the cross. Not only did Jesus Himself come back to life after death, but He promised that everyone who places their trust in Him will also be able to live again after they die, and to live forever with Him. This astonishing promise has great power to give people hope. Thanks to the resurrection, Christians never need to fear death – the most common fear among human beings – and can actually look forward to it as a blessing, because it will usher them into God’s presence and a wonderful life throughout eternity.
Help people understand that God walked the Earth. Jesus Christ is the only religious leader in history who claimed to be God incarnate. The fact that God visited Earth in the form of Jesus Christ shows just how much God really cares about human beings. God was willing to subject Himself to the limitations of a human life to show us His love in the most up close and personal way possible. God endured suffering to pay the penalty of sin for us, so we could be connected to Him in relationships. No other religion shows God’s love at work in such a powerful way. Jesus reconciled God and humans completely, empowering Christians to change every part of human society for the better because His Spirit is at work through them.
Help people understand that the cosmos had a beginning and was fine-tuned. Christianity affirms that God brought the universe into being from nothing, creating the cosmos at a definite point in time and designing it in fine-tuned ways to support life. Scientific research also affirms that idea. The latest cosmological findings support what the Bible says about the universe emerging at a set time (the “big bang”) out of nothing that existed previously, and also support the Bible’s revelation that the universe was designed specifically with human life in mind. This gives people hope, because they’re not at the mercy of arbitrary, impersonal forces but instead are made and cared for by God, who loves them and wants them to know Him personally. Moreover, people aren’t set adrift in a random universe to fend for themselves, but can experience real care from God, who works do what’s best for them.
Help people understand why Christian faith explains reality much better than atheism does. The world makes much more sense when people accept the existence of the God of the Bible than it does when they think that there’s no God. Historic Christianity offers the best explanation of the realities that people encounter in life. The existence of the God of the Bible provides a rationally plausible explanation for: the universe’s existence; the universe’s beginning; the complex order, design, and elegance evident in the universe; the universe’s susceptibility to rational investigation; the reality of abstract, nonphysical entities; the presence of conscious beings in the universe; the reality of objective moral values; the purpose and significance that human beings yearn for in their lives; people’s innate sense of the divine; the enigma of human nature (greatness and wretchedness intertwined); the extraordinary life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and the meaningful realities of life by means of a cumulative case for God’s existence. People can best understand reality through a Christian worldview that accounts for abstract, intangible entities and encourages people to use their God-given, conscious minds to discover reality.
Help people understand that salvation is not by works, but by grace. The most common view of salvation in society today is that most people get into heaven because they try to live morally good lives, and only a few people – those who are most evil – go to hell. However, the reality is that God is perfectly holy, so people can’t be in presence if they sin even just a tiny bit. People must be perfectly holy to live with a perfectly holy God in heaven, and that’s impossible for fallen human beings to achieve on their own, no matter how hard they may try. Only Christianity offers a workable solution to the sin problem. While other world religions tell people to try to earn their way to heaven – which is impossible for imperfect people to do – Christianity shows people that God has come to Earth from heaven to connect with them through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death for their sin. Thanks to Jesus, people don’t have to earn salvation; they can simply accept it as a gift from God by placing their trust in Him and experiencing grace. This takes enormous pressure off of people, freeing them to respond to God’s love for them in confidence.
Help people understand humanity’s value and dignity. While society often says that people don’t really matter unless they’re rich, attractive, or famous, Christianity says that all people are equally valuable because God has made them in His image. The concept of people as divine image-bearers gives people hope because it lets them know that they’re worthy of respect and love, no matter what their circumstances may be. This idea also shows that life is sacred, showing people the need to protect the vulnerable from abortion and euthanasia.
Help people understand the good in suffering. Christianity lets people know that their suffering in this fallen world isn’t in vain. God cares about the pain they’re experiencing and will fulfill good purposes through their suffering when they choose to trust Him. This knowledge gives people hope for their own lives and motivates them to help others who are suffering, as God leads them. Christians have done more to help suffering people throughout history than followers of any other religion have done.
Kenneth Richard Samples is a senior research scholar with Reasons to Believe, the premier science-religion think tank. An adjunct instructor of apologetics at Biola University, Samples is the author of Without a Doubt and A World of Difference. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan, and their three children. Visit the website for Reasons to Believe at: http://www.reasons.org/.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles, at: http://angels.about.com/. Contact Whitney at: [email protected] to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: June 15, 2012