The Good News of Jesus Christ
If we trust in Jesus the Christ, who lived the perfect life, volunteered to be executed in our place, and rose again from the dead by His own power, we can be forgiven for all of our crimes against God.
Christian groups around the world recognize certain texts to be authoritative in terms of religious belief and practice. Different Christian groups differ on exactly which texts, some having more and others having fewer, but there is almost always a particular core that is agreed upon. These groups differ on how exactly the texts are authoritative, with some believing that they are absolutely inerrant in everything that they assert, including issues of history and science, biology and mathematics; and others claiming they are only authoritative in elements of faith and religious practice, but we all agree that they can be trusted and ought to be followed at least in areas of faith and religious practice.
Christians have compiled these many texts together and call the result the Bible.
Among these texts that virtually all Christian groups seem to accept as authoritative are the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which are historical narratives of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. The Book of Acts, written by the same author that wrote the gospel of Luke, tells us about the activities of the immediate followers of Jesus after He died and rose again from the dead. The Book of Romans, a theological treatise on how to be right with God by a first century Jew named Paul, a former enemy of Christians, is another undisputed text that all Christians accept; along with the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which tell us about the beginning of the world and the establishing of the nation of Israel, the nation that provided the world with Jesus. The books of Moses also tell us about the law that God gave to the Israelites, including the famed Ten Commandments. There are more universally accepted books as well, but for my purposes, these eleven will more than suffice.
In the five books of Moses, we are told about God's rules of behavior when humans are under His direct governance, and in those books, as well as in the book of Romans, we are also told about the penalty for disobedience, which is death. For lesser crimes or trespasses and also for unintentional sins, God has mercifully allowed animals to die in the place of the human sinner, as a substitutionary atoning sacrifice. But in all cases, someone had to die when a sin was committed, and no substitute at all was provided for the most serious of sins.
As we would expect, though, all of the animals that died stayed dead. There was never any indication that the death penalty had been paid in full and would never need to be paid again. There was never any fulfillment. Never any final satisfaction. Instead, that dreaded penalty for sin remained, hovering over humans, unrelenting, unavoidable, and absolutely final. With more sins, more animals needed to die, because the blood of bulls and goats was unable to completely take away the penalty for sins. And this penalty of death, once enacted, was always permanent.
Or so it seemed.
This Jesus Guy
In the four gospels, we hear of a man named Jesus, known as “the Christ,” or the anointed one, who comes on the scene in the first century. Jesus is announced by a prophet named John, who refers to Jesus as “the Lamb of God,” a reminder of the sacrifices God had commanded in the books of Moses. The Christ did all kinds of peculiar things. No one could completely figure Him out while He was alive. Some of the things He did were wonderful in everyone's eyes -- He healed the sick, sometimes with nothing more than a word, made the blind to see, even brought people back to life temporarily, one particular time by merely telling the dead man's stinky, rotting corpse to come to Him.
But as awesome, miraculous, and truly amazing as all of that was, that kind of thing has all been standard fare for prophets and magicians of all sorts throughout the ages.
Something that set Jesus apart from other prophets, miracle workers and magicians during His life on earth was that He claimed He had the power to forgive sins.
But when we sin, we sin against God, since He is the one who made the rules we break. As a result, only God can truly forgive our sins against Him. Imagine, after all, if you stole a car from your friend Bob. And then imagine if I tell you that I forgive you for that. Are you really forgiven? How can I forgive you for what you did to Bob? The very idea is absurd, and an insult to Bob. The only way I could really forgive your crime against Bob would be if I myself was Bob.
This seems to be the same reasoning that people who heard Jesus used. As a result, when He said He could forgive sins, they understood Him to be equating Himself with God.
According to the Christian Bible, Jesus was executed for blasphemy, specifically, for claiming to be equal with God... perhaps even for claiming to be God Himself. Jesus died. He was buried.
And His followers ran away from the authorities, terrified.
Three days after Jesus was executed, He came back to life, rising from the dead by His own power, never to die again. Remember, death is the dreaded penalty for sins, and this man, who claimed to have the power to forgive sins, had now conquered death, clearly demonstrating He had power over the penalty for sins.
The “Lamb of God” had died as a substitution for us, shedding His own blood as an atonement for our sins, including those sins that were allowed no substitute in the books of Moses. And this time, death was demonstrably conquered. Since Christ offered the forgiveness of sins, and demonstrated He really has authority over the penalty for sins, sin no longer reigns over those who put their faith and trust in Him. We who trust in Christ trust that even though we too will eventually die, death will not be permanent, even as it was not for Christ. As Christ, who offered us forgiveness of sins, rose from the dead, showing power over the penalty for our sins, we trust that after death we too will one day rise to live permanently with Christ, according to His promise.
Through Christ, we can be right with God.
Sin is no longer in charge of our eternity, and death no longer reigns over our mortal bodies, if we place our trust in Jesus Christ.
My Personal Journey
I am not a Christian because I was convinced by the proofs that I offer here on this website. Instead, I developed these proofs because I was already convinced of the conclusion.
The existence of God has never been something I have ever seriously doubted. Historically, virtually every people group ever has held to a belief in some kind of God. For me, this particular point was never in serious question.
I also knew that I ought to obey Him. This is, in my mind, why the entire human race believes that people ought to act certain ways, and why everyone at some point in time feels guilt for their own bad conduct. The very concept of behavioral standards, and the very existence of guilt, were enough to convince me that God had rules I needed to follow...
I ought to obey God's rules.
But one day, I realized that I hadn't.
I understood that I was a sinner. I was a troublemaker. I was guilty. I deserved punishment. I didn't even deserve the gift of life.
To say I was absolutely distraught is an understatement.
I understood that there was a problem, and I knew that I had caused it. I also knew that I could not fix it. There was nothing I could possibly do to make up for what I had done. I could try to make the most of it. I could try to live a good life from that point on. But even if I succeeded at being perfect for the rest of my life (something that frankly seemed absolutely impossible to me), what I still could not do was erase my past.
Growing up, I had been taught that forgiveness from God was possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. At the time, I couldn't find another solution that seemed even remotely reasonable.
I grabbed ahold of Jesus with both hands, and I have never let go.
 Romans 5:12, 5:21, 6:23; Genesis 2:17; Exodus 21:12-17, 21:29, 22:19,
31:14-15, 35:2; Leviticus 20:2, 20:9-16, 20:27, 24:16-17, 24:21; Numbers 35:16-21,
35:30-31; Deuteronomy 13:5, 13:9, 17:5-7, 21:21, 22:21, 22:24.
 Leviticus 17:11; Deuteronomy 21:1-9; Leviticus 4-5, 5:1-6, 6:2-7, 9:7-15,
16:6-11, 19:20-22, 23:19; Exodus 29:36, 30:10; Numbers 7, 15:22-28, 29.
 The first century is actually known as the “first” century because the
so-called “common era” (C.E.) actually began when Jesus, called “the Christ”
or the anointed one, was born. In fact, C.E. is a fairly new non-Christian designation
for the era that began with Christ, an era which had previously most frequently been referred to as A.D.,
or anno Domini, Latin for “the year of our Lord”, a reference to the Lord
Jesus Christ. The time before the common era was up until recently most frequently
referred to as B.C., or before Christ. Now it is frequently referred to by the non-Christian
designation of B.C.E., or “before the common era.”
 John 1:29, 1:36; Genesis 22:8; Exodus 12; Leviticus 5:1-6.
 Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 9:20-22, 14:14, 15:22-28; Luke 4:40, 5:15, 6:17, 7:2-10, 9:11; John 5:6-9.
 Matthew 9:27-31, 12:22, 20:30-34; Mark 8:22-25, 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43; John 9:1-7.
 John 11; Matthew 9:24-25; Mark 5:35-42; Luke 7:12-15, 8:49-55.
 Matthew 9:2-3; Mark 2:4-7; Luke 5:20-21, 7:48-49.
 Matthew 26:63-66; Mark 14:61-64; John 5:18.
 Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19; Acts 2:22-23; Romans 5:6-10.
 Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:43-47; Luke 23:50-55; John 19:41-42; Acts 13:29.
 Mark 14:50; Matthew 26:56, 26:69-75; Luke 22:54-62.
 John 2:19-22; John 10:17; Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20; Acts 2:24, 2:32,
3:15, 3:26, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30-37; Romans 4:24-25, 6:4, 6:9, 7:4, 8:11, 10:9.
 Romans 3:21-26, 4:24-25, 5:6-11; Acts 13:38-39, 26:15-18; John 11:49-52, 14:6.
 John 3:16-18, 3:36, 6:40, 11:26; Acts 5:31, 13:38, 26:18.; Romans 6:23, 10:9-10.
 John 3:18, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40-47, 8:24, 11:25-26; Mark 16:16.
In Printed Form
Along with numerous other authors including Don Landis, Bodie Hodge and Roger Patterson, Timothy McCabe contributes analyses of various world religions and cults in this volume from Master Books.
"Isaiah 7:20 says the Lord is going to be a barber and shave the hair off our legs. Is there any reason for this random stuff?"
Isaiah 7:20 (NASB) In that day the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from regions beyond the Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), the head and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the beard. This does seem like an odd verse when pulled out of its full context, but reading the entire passage in historical context and in light of the law of Moses, specifically Leviticus 14, the meaning becomes apparent.
"Hell seems designed to punish disobedience and perceived immorality. Would you agree that acting in a certain manner simply because you fear punishment is cowardly and an invalid motivator?"
The coward is the individual who, out of fear, refuses to do what is right. A coward is NOT someone who, out of fear, CHOOSES to do what is right. That man is not being cowardly -- rather, he is being prudent and sensible. Fear is an excellent and perfectly valid motivator toward good works. God uses it frequently and He instructs us, at times, to do likewise. The Book of Proverbs is filled with examples of the wisdom of a proper fear of God...
"While holding rattlesnakes and speaking in tongues, have you ever been bitten? Does it hurt? "
Mark 16:17-18 "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." My son had a snake once, but it was a boa, not a rattler. I picked it up many times and was not harmed. I also studied Spanish in school, but I was never very good at it.
"If God is "just is", then why can't the universe "just be"?"
God has made it clear that this is not the case (Genesis 1:1, 2:4; Isaiah 42:5, 45:8, 45:18; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11, 10:6), and since He is perfectly knowledgeable (Job 37:16; Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 46:9-10; John 21:17; 1 John 3:20), perfectly honest (Exodus 34:6; 2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 31:5, 57:10; John 1:14, 1:17, 14:6; Ephesians 4:21; Hebrews 6:18), and perfectly sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:14; Job 41:11; Psalm 119:91, 135:6; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Mark 10:27; John 1:3, 5:44;...
"In Genesis 9:11-13 It says God has a covenant that he will never submerge the world by flood again and his token of the covenant is the rainbow. But it is scientifically impossible for rainbows to have not existed before this. Please explain?"
To begin with, Genesis 9 does not claim that there were no rainbows before the flood of Noah. It simply says that from the time of Noah onward, the rainbow will be a sign of God's promise. However, it is certainly not impossible for there to have been no rainbows prior to the flood. The Bible states that prior to the creation of Man, the earth was watered by a fine mist that came up from it, and there was no rain yet.
"Why are books of faith, such as the Bible or Koran, seething with so much violence? Do you think that there is a relationship between the violence that has been perpetrated in the name of religion and the books of faith?"
The word "violence" often carries with it a connotation of evil. However, the definition of the word does not necessitate any kind of moral association. According to dictionary.com, the first definition of violence is "swift and intense force". Thus, we could comfortably say that a batter hits a baseball with violence, or a carpenter drives a nail into a piece of wood with violence. I can think of no one who would find these violent tasks to be inherently evil.
"How does your particular faith conceive of vegetarianism and why?"
While there is no scriptural command for all people of today to be vegetarians, the Bible does have quite a bit to say about eating meat, or abstaining from it. Initially, Adam and Eve, the two first people, and all of their offspring, were vegetarians. They were told by God what they were allowed to eat, and meat was not included.
"Where is existence going (i.e. eschatology), both immediately and ultimately?"
The Bible states that no one is perfect but God alone (Luke 18:19). As a result, all of us have earned death and condemnation (Romans 6:23). However, in an amazing substitution, God Himself lived the perfect human life in our place, and paid our fine on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5). Those of us who put our trust in the work He did in our place will be forgiven (Romans 4:5, John 3:18).