Christianity often is confusing to the outsider — and even to the insider. We hear different things in different denominations, different churches, and different college courses. Where do we go for a straight answer?
Go to the evidence. Christianity is a relatively coherent system about which historical facts exist. Anything else isn’t really Christianity. If we plunge immediately into the deep end of the pool in the midst of diverse theological arguments, we quickly become confused and discouraged.
So here is the core: Christianity means faith in the person of Jesus Christ, who is both divine and human, who died to restore our free will, and who rose from the dead as evidence for his God-nature. Faith is dynamic interaction with God.
There are two types of faith: One is intellectual assent to a proposition or system; the other is moral assent in personal trust. One type of faith is belief that Christ rose from the dead, or that Christianity as a system is true. The other type of faith is commitment to Christ as a person in whom we have absolute trust.
Both types are necessary, though the latter is deeper; the will is more fundamental than the intellect. When both are seen clearly and acted upon firmly, Christian faith is not confusing.
This post is an excerpt from the book Exposing Myths About Christianity by Jeffrey Burton Russell (IVP Books, 2012). It is used with permission. You can purchase this resource in its entirety here.