I had a thought this morning while driving, and who better to run it by than the internet?
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. He’s in his northern 50’s and has been a Christian his entire life. We started talking about theology and had a great time chatting through various rabbit trails and minutiae of our shared faith.
Eventually, as I often do, I started lamenting how little Christians know about their own faith. This is why a semi-coherent argument from a semi-educated atheist is able to pull so many Christians from their faith. We are happy to go to church and feel the good feelings while singing to Jesus, but as soon as an intellectual wind blows in, we freeze or run away, or worse — listen and start to think this enlightened atheist is making some good points.
“My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge of me.” -Hosea 4:6
My point is, many American Christians today don’t know what they believe. If asked to articulate their theology, they would struggle and throw out vague answers like my friend did this morning. “As Christians, we need to spread the word…” (Out of politeness, I didn’t ask him what he meant by that.)
We have become comfortable using Christianese words like ‘saved,’ ‘redemption,’ or ‘word,’ as well as cliche phrases like ‘Jesus died for my sins.’ We use them, but don’t give them much thought or care to root down to their origins. Worse, we use them without having any idea as to where in Scripture those ideas originate.
In talking with my friend this morning, I brought up several passages I was wrestling with — specifically on the afterlife but this could apply to any topic — and he told me that for his entire life, he hadn’t given them or the topic much thought. He just accepted what was preached at church without digging down to the bottom of these belief structures which he somewhat blindly held.
So, the thought I had was this: What if every Christian was asked to write out specific, detailed answers to a few basic questions about our faith? Would this help them highlight blindspots in their faith, and show them places they could grow in their knowledge of God? I wanted to undertake this assignment myself, so here are a few questions I am articulating (but I’m not sharing my answers because you’ll just copy them and that’s cheating):
Who/What is God?
Who is Jesus? Why did He have to come to earth, die, rise again?
What does it mean to be saved? What changes about a person when they’re saved?
What happens in the end to people who are saved? And those who are not?
What is the end goal, or purpose of life, for Christians?
This is obviously not an exhaustive list of questions, but it’s a start. How do you find them? Are they hard to answer? Do they make you feel uncomfortable — maybe because you struggled to articulate some of them?
I also realize this is essentially what the catechism is, but perhaps reframed and repurposed for our current cultural moment.
Anyway, I hope this makes you think, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. I hop this motivates us to draw nearer to Christ; loving Him with our heart, strength, and mind.
Terrific Ethan! A respected pastor said this week that probably 70% of the people in his church probably do not have a viable personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is probably realistic. Life is not about our success stories but it is Jesus who is the heir of all things.
I like this idea. What’s interesting is, after reading your questions, I think I would ask slightly different ones. Not that yours are “wrong,” but it just goes to show how much there is to learn about Christianity, even and especially as Christians. (I would ask something along the lines of how you interpret the Bible – is it a literal, historical document? Allegory meant for instruction? The only source for divine inspiration/instruction? Something else? How people chose to interpret it *really* effects the way they practice their faith!)
Very good! thanks for the challenge! Drawing near to Christ❤️
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.