Christianity - what's it all about?

What does it mean to be a Christian?

A Christian is someone who follows Jesus and trusts that his death and resurrection is all that is needed to have a right relationship with God.

A common misconception is that Christianity is about following rules or doing the right thing to earn God’s favour but the Bible is very clear that this is not the case. Romans 3:23 says ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ and  Ecclesiastes 7:20 states ‘Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins’. The difference is that our definition of good and God's definition of good are very different.

For God, good means perfection and if we are honest with ourselves we know we aren’t perfect. That leaves us with a real problem in relating to a perfect God.

This is why Jesus death is so important. As a perfect man, he died to take our place. If we place our trust in him we are made to be right with God. Romans 3:24 continues ‘…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’ In this context, grace means the free gift of God. This gift is Jesus and if we accept this gift we can come into relationship with God. It’s that simple. Nothing else is required.

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What is the Bible and why is it important?

The Christian Bible is a collection of 66 books written by a number of different authors over a period of time of approximately 1600 years. Its books contain a variety of writing styles including historical narrative, teaching, poetry, law and prophecy. Because of these different literary styles it is important to interpret the Bible according to the context of the writing.

The Bible is the story of God and his relationship to his people. The Old Testament, written before the time of Jesus is the story of the Jews and how they became God’s chosen people. The New Testament is the story of Jesus and establishment of the early Christian church.

Some people dismiss the Bible as a fairytale, full of contradictions and having no benefit for today. These criticisms often come from a lack of understanding about the context and intent of the writing. Much of the historical accounts of the bible have been shown to be correct following subsequent archaeological investigation.

At Drummoyne Presbyterian Church, we encourage people to explore the Bible and ask the hard questions. Test it for yourself and form your own conclusions. 

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What can we know about Jesus - he lived 2000 years ago. Can we even be sure Jesus existed?

Jesus is the central figure in Christianity and so it fair to expect solid evidence for his life. In the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we see vivid portraits based on eye witness accounts of Jesus life, death and resurrection. These four accounts provide a large amount of information. We know where Jesus was born, we know what he taught, we know that he was killed and that his followers claimed that he rose from the dead.

What about other sources? Well, there are actually a number of other sources confirming Jesus as an historical figure. Roman sources including Pliny the Younger, Tacitus and Suetonius mention Jesus and the early Christians. Ancient Jewish historian, Josephus mentions Jesus as a wise man who was executed by Pontius Pilate. These sources were not supporters of Jesus and were more likely to be hostile to a Christian perspective. Virtually no serious scholar using accepted methods of historical enquiry hold to the view that Jesus did not exist.

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Aren’t Christians anti-science?

Some popular authors such as Richard Dawkins have made statements to this affect. Whilst they might make good soundbites to sell books, it isn’t really a true reflection. At Drummoyne Presbyterian we take a positive view that science is a gift from God to enable people to learn more about the world. Science has brought about tremendous advances in knowledge, health and many other areas of life.

Whilst science has much to teach us about the natural world, some believe that scientific advances have made belief in God obsolete. Evolution is often cited as being far more reliable than biblical accounts of creation. In reality, they are approaches exploring different questions. Evolution is focused on the question of how species came into existence. The Bible has a much greater focus on who created and why were we created. Many Christians are happy to accept the major tenets of natural selection as being compatible with biblical teaching.

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Why should I go to church?

This is a common question for people exploring Christianity. There are two good reasons for people to go to church:

At Drummoyne Presbyterian we aren’t perfect and certainly don’t claim to be. We make mistakes and don’t always get it right. However, we do try very hard to ensure that the word of God is presented clearly and faithfully.

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Like to know more?

If you'd like to know more or would like to talk to someone about Christianity, please contact us.