Apologetics - Is Christianity a unique faith?
And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify (I.e. set apart) Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense (Or argument; Or explanation) to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. (1 Peter 3:14b,15 - NASB - Ref. NASBRE)
Thomas saith unto Him, "Lord, we know not wither though goest; and how can we know the way?" Jesus saith unto him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me". (John 14:5-6 - KJV)
"What makes Christianity unique?"
Is Christianity really unique, or is it just one of many roads on the path to Truth? Is Christianity truly unique among the many religions around the world? If it is, what makes it so? Unique among all religions, Christianity makes several claims that others do not. First, all other religions exhort man to reach up to God and grasp hold of Him through their own efforts. Christianity is the only religion where God reaches down to man. Second, other religions are systems of do’s and don’ts to appease God; whereas Christianity is a relationship with God. Third, Christianity looks to the Bible as the singular source of Truth. Finally, Christianity is based upon truly the most amazing event in all of human history, the resurrection.
As to the first issue, other forms of religion subscribe to a system of works, those we should do and those we should avoid, which will make us “good enough” to please God and merit His favor. Christianity, on the other hand, is based on the biblical principle that we can never be good enough to be in the presence of a perfect, holy God. The Mosaic Law was given to mankind to prove to us that we can’t keep it. Galatians 3 describes the purpose of the Law. It is a “tutor” or “schoolmaster” to lead us to Christ because “…by observing the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16). The impossibility of keeping the Law is revealed in what Jesus called the “first and greatest commandment” in Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This would mean loving God with every fiber our being 24/7, with never a thought for ourselves, an impossible task for anyone. But rather than condemning us as law-breakers and leaving it at that, God provided a substitute, Jesus Christ, who obeyed the Law perfectly for us. By faith in Him and accepting His work on our behalf, we are justified and made righteous. Here is the crucial difference between Christianity and all other religions.
As to the second point, Christianity is not a religious system, but a relationship with God, one that He initiated and maintains. Christians believe that mankind was created specifically to have a relationship with God, but sin separates all men from Him (Romans 3:23, 5:12). Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ walked this earth, fully God, and yet fully man (Philippians 2:6-11) and died on the cross to restore the relationship that was broken by sin. After His death on the cross, Christ was buried, He rose again, and now lives at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers forever (Hebrews 7:25). The intimacy of this relationship is revealed in two poignant pictures. Now no longer seen as law-breakers, we have been adopted into God’s own family as His children (Ephesians 1:5). Even more intimately, believers are the very “body of Christ” of which He is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23), having been purchased by His blood (Hebrews 9:12). No other religion makes assertions that even begin to approximate this incredible truth.
Another thing that makes Christianity unique is its source of information. All religions have some sort of basis of information that outlines its beliefs and practices, but none have one source of information that makes the claims Christianity does about the Bible, that it is the written Word of God, and it is infallible and inerrant and all that is necessary for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16). Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired, literally “God-breathed”, Word of God and that its teaching is the final authority (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Though there are other religions that use prophecy , none are 100% accurate, as are those in the Bible, and none of them point to someone like Jesus who made incredible claims and performed incredible deeds.
Perhaps the most defining principle of Christianity that makes it truly unique in every way and provides its fundamental basis is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Within Christianity, the resurrection is vitally important, for without it, Christianity does not exist, and our faith is useless (1 Corinthians 15:14). It was Jesus' resurrection that changed the lives of the disciples. After Jesus was crucified, the disciples ran and hid. But when they saw the risen Lord, they knew that all Jesus had said and done proved that He was indeed God in flesh. No other religious leader has died in full view of trained executioners, had a guarded tomb, and then rose from the dead three days later to appear to many people. The resurrection is proof of who Jesus is and that He did accomplish what He set out to do: provide the only means of redemption for mankind. Buddha did not rise from the dead. Muhammad did not rise from the dead. Confucius did not rise from the dead. Krishna did not rise from the dead. Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God, and raised others from the dead. He has conquered death. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, died and rose from the dead, and claimed that He alone is “the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and that no one comes to the Father except through Him.
"How is the Christian religion different from all the other world religions?"
Religion is the practice of faith; that is, religion is the external or ceremonial observance of a set of beliefs. Technically, there is a difference between faith (the internal attitude) and religion (the external works), but for the sake of this article, we will define “Christian religion” broadly as “the faithful observance of the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles".
James 1:27 says that religion that is “pure and faultless” before God is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” In other words, care for the needy and personal virtue are externals which are present when one has a true love for God. And, since James specifies that he is speaking of “pure and faultless” religion, there must exist an “unclean and imperfect” type of religion as well, a religion not based on love for God.
Here are five reasons why the Christian religion is better than non-Christian religions (why observing the teachings of Jesus Christ is better than not observing them):
† Christian religion - Jesus Christ is the Way to God.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because that which leads to God is better than that which leads away from God. We have sinfully wandered away from God (Isaiah 53:6), and we need a Guide to lead us back. Jesus is that Way (John 14:6), the One to seek the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus claims not to be one of many ways, but the one-and-only Way to God. He is, in fact, God Himself in human flesh (John 20:28), so to find Jesus is to find God. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” He said (John 14:9). The Christian religion is unique in that it offers a close, intimate relationship with the personal God of the universe.
† Christian religion - Jesus Christ is the Truth.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because things that are true are better than things that are false. Jesus is “the Truth” (John 14:6). He is the embodiment of truth, the revelation of God to humanity (Colossians 2:9), and the conveyor of God’s words (John 17:8). The Christian religion is grounded in truth, being based on a historical Person whose acts were verified by eyewitnesses and recorded by four different biographers. Parodies of Christianity often spring up through the work of “false prophets” (1 John 4:1), but only Jesus is true. In following Christ, Christians have the utmost regard for truth, as opposed to hollow externals and the hypocrisy of false appearances. The Christian religion is unique in that it forces us to face the truth about ourselves and speak the truth with others.
† Christian religion - Jesus Christ is the Life.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because life is better than death and heaven is better than hell. Jesus is “the Life” (John 14:6); He is the source of life, and without Him one cannot truly live (John 1:4; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 10:10). Jesus provides what we need: the Bread that satisfies forever (John 6:35), the Water that gives eternal life (John 4:14; John 7:37-38), and the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). These are more than empty claims; Jesus proved His ability to give life by raising from the dead Lazarus (John 11:1-44), Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:21-43), and the boy from Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Then, after His own death on the cross, Jesus rose again the third day, having conquered death forever (Matthew 28). The Christian religion is unique in that it is based on the actual, physical resurrection of its Founder.
† Christian religion - Jesus Christ transforms mankind.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because righteousness is better than wickedness. Other religions may impose conformity to a certain code of behavior, but they have no power to change the heart. Christianity teaches that the believer is “dead to sin” and now lives “in newness of life” (Romans 6:2-4). The authenticating mark of a Christian is his transformation from practicing sin to having a zeal for good works (Titus 2:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The Christian’s zeal for doing good has resulted in the founding of countless orphanages, hospitals, clinics, schools, homeless shelters, and emergency relief agencies, all in the name of Christ. The Christian religion is unique in that it does not force change from without but revolutionizes lives from within.
† Christian religion - Jesus Christ is loving.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because love is better than the absence of love. God is love (1 John 4:8,16). Love is the greatest of His gifts to us (1 Corinthians 13:13), not the fickle, so-called love of the world, but the selfless, unconditional love which always seeks to benefit the one loved. God showed His love for us in sending His only begotten Son (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). Jesus showed His love for us in providing for our salvation by dying on the cross (John 15:13). Jesus gave His followers a new command: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Love, not duty or debt, is what motivates the believer and impels him to greater humility and greater service for the kingdom of heaven. Christianity is unique in that it is not a system of rules but a celebration of unselfish love. “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
Man, in his creativity, has invented innumerable religions in his attempt to reach God. God, in His love, has given us the truth: the one religion, Christianity, in which God attempts to reach man.
† If you want to begin a relationship with God now, you can.
God views your relationship with Him as permanent. Referring to all those who believe in Him, Jesus Christ said of us, "I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand (John 10:27-30)."
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Apologetics - More Topics/Questions
Christian apologetics - (Greek: ἀπολογία, "verbal defence, speech in defence") is a field of Christian theology which aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and attempt to expose the flaws of other world views.
More topics associated with Christian Apologetics:
- † Does God exist?
- † Is the Bible true?
- † Is the Bible God's inspired Word?
- † Is Jesus the 'Son' of God?
For a more scientific/technical approach go HERE.
Apologetics - Defending Your Faith - More Coming Soon!
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