Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?
Absolutely! Sadly, it is sometimes looked to as a definitive history book telling exactly what happened when in the history of the world or a definitive science book. Either of these approaches really diminishes it. The Hebrew editors who first compiled the material Christians call our Old Testament consciously included material from varied sources DIFFERENTLY explaining such developments as creation and the behavior of the nation’s kings. This shows they were not trying to write a history book. If they were, they would have chosen some sources and rejected others. They were compiling sacred writings that record how God was revealed in the community. As Christian communities adopted these writings and chose their own sacred texts, they verified that what we call the Bible gives trustworthy testimony about how people have experienced God over time. It contains everything we need to know for salvation.
What is salvation?
We have all done things we are not proud of and failed to do things we meant to do. In at least little ways, this happens each and every day. It damages our relationships. Feeling bad about ourselves can make us lash out or diminish others. Our imperfection is also a big part of what causes us to dread death. We want more time to get things right. We want more time if we aren’t sure whether anything comes next. The truth is that a living, loving God brought us into being and longs to be trusted. As we grow in our capacity to trust God, we are freed from debilitating guilt and the peace of God’s grace increasingly supplants fear with joy. This is salvation, and we need not wait until our bodily death to begin our eternal life.
Why should I bother with church?
Many people today say, “I believe in God; I am a very spiritual person, but I am not religious. I get more out of being in nature than being in a church.” You might feel this way! The word “religious” is often associated with rules or rigid doctrines, whereas “spiritual” is used to affirm that a force for good some call God is more powerful and abiding than the physical world. Those who lead a spiritual life strive to attune themselves to that force for good. Christians believe that Jesus embodied it and displayed divine power over death and all else we might fear. If you are actually able to guide your life by such truths without regular reminders and encouragement from others who are striving to be faithful to what matters, then you are a very, very impressive person. Those of us who come to church are weaker and need such reminders and encouragement, particularly because our culture is so focused on acquiring physical things that don’t last. As we make progress, we also love to celebrate with others. In our basic church service, we make time both to learn and to celebrate.
Aren't churches full of hypocrites?
YES! A hypocrite is someone who doesn’t always live what they preach. We come to church to work on that. We hope we are getting better, but we don’t pretend to be perfect. Actually, we acknowledge being pretty flawed. The key is we are trying to get better and don’t object when someone helps us see how to get better.