RE: Just a book?
Hi Cameron and anyone else who cares to read,
I know the following comments will probably open up a totally new can of worms but so be it. I can appreciate where you are coming from because I too was very skeptical of religion for many years. But I want to let you know that not only am I a Christian, I'm also an ordained minister and a Pastor of my own church under a very well known, very conservative denomination.
First of all I'm sorry that you have such a negative outlook on Christianity and I appreciate you sharing your views so candidly. I'm sure that these short words may not do much to change your views but I want to put them out there to offer a different perspective.
I think that Christianity as a whole today has a very BIG problem. That problem is that true Christianity has been replaced with MORALISM. All these "How To" recipes are being given week in and week out. But you see I can NOT live a life of perfect obedience to God (in and of myself). I CONSTANTLY make mistakes that some would say causes God to be "angry with me."
But the Bible is clear that man is sinful. Even after I became a Christian I'm still a SINNER. WHO AM I TO JUDGE ANYONE?! The main difference between me and an unbeliever is that I've been forgiven of my sins and the unbeliever has NOT. I've put my faith in the fact that Jesus lived a substitionary life for me and died a substitutionary death for me. And that He sent His Holy Spirit to help me to overcome the daily struggles that cause me to live a life of disobedience.
I remember two years ago U2 came to my home town and Bono, (a professing Christian) had on a leather jacket that had the word "SINNER" embossed on the back of it. This is what Christianity is, understanding that man is imperfect without Christ.
However, so called "Christians" today don't do this. They are so quick to quote John 3:16 but nobody ever quotes the following verse 17 "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
Jesus came to show man that in and of himself man can NOT live up to God's standards of perfect obedience. ONLY JESUS could do that. The problem is, all these ignorant, so called ministers of the "gospel" are trying to show man week after week how to accomplish this impossible task on their own. This can ONLY lead to a life of guilt.
This is why your parents beat you (and mine beat me) when you weren't being a "good Christian boy." Because they, like so many others, had Christianity confused with MORALISM and RELIGIOSITY. What I like to call, CHURCHIANITY... Doing what the church says instead of what the Bible says.
The message of the bible is simple, "salvation by Grace, through faith." It has NOTHING to do with MORALISM. MORALISM is what the Pharisess taught.
I welcome any comments...