Christian Basics Handbook
The focus of this handbook
What is this handbook about?
The question, “Who am I and why am I here?”, is one that has been asked for a very long time. Is there more to life than just being alive, learning, working, and playing? Is there life beyond this one? If the world was created by God, which religion has the right God, and what does God want from us? Though people disagree on the answers, this handbook offers the Christian perspective.
The Christian faith teaches that the world was created by God, and that God told us in the Bible what we need to know about life. It teaches that Jesus came from heaven and took on human nature in order to show us how to relate to God. It also teaches that this Jesus gave up his life and then rose again, to make it possible for everyone who trusts him to be reconciled to their Creator and be adopted as spiritual children. So our purpose is to please God and care about people, and we look forward to the day when we will live in happiness forever with God and others who accepted spiritual adoption.
Becoming a Christian is like being reborn, and that’s not the end of spiritual life, but the beginning. So how do we grow spiritually? God has chosen to give us the Bible and other Christians to help each other walk the path, and this handbook is designed to help make that path clear and simple. Not only can we learn how to grow in our personal relationship with God, but also in our relationships with other believers. By focusing on the essential teachings and the simple rule to love God and people, we can all reach spiritual maturity and spread the good news about Jesus to more people.
This may be a simple task, but not always an easy one. People have differences of opinion and personality, and such differences can often lead to division. Unity depends ultimately on the people and their willingness to remember what is central and what is secondary, to respect other people’s opinions even if we don’t agree with them, as long as they don’t clash with the central facts about Jetsus, love, and the teachings of the Bible.
This handbook is not a complicated analysis or exhaustive reference. Instead, it is meant to serve as a “class” for group study, as a personal study, or as a reference on the basics for experienced believers. There are many pressures being applied to the Christian faith, the Bible, and Jesus Himself, so we as Jesus’ followers need to know where the anchor of our faith is set.
What’s so special about the Christian faith?
Among all the world’s religious or spiritual writings, none has had greater impact on especially the western world than the Bible. It is perhaps the most copied, translated, and quoted book of all time. Its content is written in the most natural, ordinary ways, such as history, poetry, moral lessons, social rules, and prophecy. Yet it presents God not as aloof and uncaring but involved and loving. Prophecy is a very large part of the Bible, much more so than other religious writings of old. And the Bible’s historical accuracy has withstood many assaults by critics. So the Bible certainly is a unique and influential book, to say the least.
Of course, the most unique teaching of the Bible is that Jesus rose from the dead, which is the central belief of the Christian faith. No other major religion or belief system claims a founder who died and rose again three days later, and there were many reliable witnesses of the event. No other major belief system even predicted such a thing for their founder or god, and there is no evidence that this was simply a newer version of older, made-up stories.
Another special thing about the Christian faith is that we are in good standing with our Creator by accepting a gift, not by performing some task or ritual. Only the Christian faith teaches that we can be reconciled to our Creator and adopted as God’s children by trusting Jesus instead of ourselves. To trust Jesus means to accept as a fact that he died for our sins and then came back to life again, so that whoever has this trust or faith is adopted as a child of God.
When we accept this gift of salvation (being saved or rescued from being separated from God), we are given God’s own Holy Spirit as what the Bible calls “a deposit that guarantees our inheritance”. There is no need to meditate or work for this, while other belief systems require much effort to achieve some kind of unity with “the divine”. This Holy Spirit helps us go through the troubles of life and gives us insight into the teachings of the Bible.
Such a generous gift from our Creator is well worth our attention and study. May the student be blessed through this handbook.
Who wrote this handbook?
This material was written by Paula Fether, whose other work is listed below: