I found Frank Viola’s reasons for following Jesus Christ to be ones that resonate with me. Consider his remarks below.
In 1927, the famed British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote an essay entitled, “Why I Am Not a Christian.”
Russell’s essay inspired the title of this post.
By “Christian,” I mean someone who has trusted their life to Jesus Christ as Crucified Savior and Resurrected Lord and seeks to follow Him each day. (I’m keenly aware that the term “Christian” has been hijacked to mean different things, hence the need to define.)
Three things to keep in mind about this list:
1) This isn’t a list of theological reasons (e.g., God chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world and the Holy Spirit revealed Christ to my heart).
2) This isn’t a list of why I am indebted to Jesus (He owns me; He bought me with His blood; He died for my sins, etc.) Instead, they are intellectual/emotional/experiential reasons why I trust in and follow Jesus.
3) This isn’t an exhaustive list (I can certainly list more reasons), and it doesn’t reflect any particular order or priority.
At the end of the list, I have a question for readers who aren’t following Jesus at the present time. And I’m really looking forward to hearing what they have to say.
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Why I’m a Christian . . .
1. Because life makes no sense to me apart from Christ. Nor does it have any purpose.
2. Because I’ve tried to not believe in Jesus, and I find that I cannot. (Perhaps this is why the early Christians were called “believers.” We believe for reasons that we cannot naturally explain. We believe because we believe. I have certainly struggled with various doubts along the way and questioned why God does and doesn’t do certain things, but that’s a different issue.)
3. Because I’ve never seen the Gospel narratives refuted successfully. Every critique that’s sought to debunk them throughout the years has been discounted under careful scrutiny and scholarship. The Gospels have stood the test of time.
4. Because I’ve never seen the resurrection of Jesus refuted successfully. Upon careful study of all the historical data, it actually takes more faith to deny His resurrection than to believe it occurred.
5. Because it makes no sense to me that Jesus of Nazareth isn’t who He said He was – the Messiah, the Son of the living God. No human being has had nearly the kind of effect on world history as Jesus has (e.g., I’m writing this post in 2012 – what does “2012” mean?). No serious historian denies that Jesus of Nazareth existed (there is more historical attestation for His existence than there is to Julius Caesar and many other ancient figures). And C.S. Lewis’ trilemma – Jesus is either a lunatic, a liar, or lord – rings true for me.
6. Because I can’t help but see the biblical narrative of Creation, Fall, and Redemption echoed in every play, every work of art, every human story, every drama, every movie, and the news I read each day. The Christian story is deeply embedded in the soundtrack of human history and art.
7. Because every time I meet a true follower of Jesus for the first time, I feel like I’ve known him or her all my life.
8. Because Jesus is the most compelling, intriguing, awe-inspiring, and amazing person I know of who is worthy of the greatest admiration, obedience, love, and (uniquely) worship. To my mind, truth, justice, and beauty are all grounded in Him, and His story (as told in the Gospels) trumps every other story known to humanity.
9. Because I’ve never seen any religion or philosophy deliver people from a life of carnality and bondage to addictions. In my experience and observation at least, Jesus transforms people’s lives greater than anything else on the face of the earth.
10. Because I have a deep and unshakeable belief that the Lord Jesus Christ is with me and taking care of me . . . and has all of my life. I cannot imagine life without Christ.
11. Because there is no rational explanation for some of the prayers that I (and others I know) have seen answered “in Jesus’ name.”
12. Because I don’t weep easily, but I readily cry whenever I detect the fingerprints of my Lord or behold His handiwork.