What is Christianity – A Great Resource Free to Download

Here is a link to Steve Williams book What is Christianity. Steve used to preach at University City Church of Christ in Gainesville, FL and teaches at Amridge University (formerly Southern Christian). It is currently out of print but has been provided to download/print. It is an excellent resources that highlights our core beliefs in 30 pages. I would encourage you to pass this on to people of all maturity levels as well as people who are asking questions about Christianity. Here is the link. Never hurts to be free!

0 Responses to What is Christianity – A Great Resource Free to Download

  1. lanewidick says:

    Thank you for posting this link. Joel used to preach here at West University, and just gave out our last copy of the physical book we had.

    I’ve never read a more complete yet simple message on Christianity. This could be one of the best resources I’ve ever seen.

  2. JJ Miller says:

    I am sorry… what is williams background?

    This is worth reading, only to see if you understand theology…. or so it seems to me. Let me see if I understand, and feel free to correct me:
    Repentance is really Obeying God.
    Faith is really Obeying God.

    The Gospel is really obeying Christ or rejecting Christ.

    That is not such good news, is it?

    • mattdabbs says:

      JJ,

      Steve preached at the University City Church of Christ in Gainesville, FL and now lives near Florence, AL. I believe he has a PhD from Baylor.

      Acts 2:38 and many other passages talk about the need to repent. If we do that, aren’t we obeying God? What am I missing there?

      Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and in doing so believing that Jesus is the Christ. But faith is more than just an intellectual understanding that Jesus is Lord. Even the demons do that (James 2:19) but they are certainly not going to be in heaven! So faith does have some level of obedience involved…that is the difference between Christ followers and demons, right? Both know who Jesus is but only the second has faith to follow him and try to be like him (discipleship). So faith does have some measure of obedience involved (James 2:18). Hopefully we can all agree with that. Let me know if you have questions or qualms and we will discuss that further if you like.

      So what is the Gospel? The Gospel is not our obedience. The Gospel is what Jesus has gracefully done on our behalf (see Steve’s first line under atonement on p.9 and also his whole section on grace, which I am sure you have already read based on your comments above). Faith, repentance, etc is our response to what the Gospel is. The Gospel is not our response in and of itself. If it were just about our response that would be one pretty terrible story. But the good news is, we have something given us by God to respond with through faith. If we believe the gospel and put our faith in God, certainly we recognize our own sinfulness and repent.

      Read this post for some more help on this and see what you think – http://mattdabbs.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/misconceptions-about-our-contribution-salvation/

      Thanks for commenting.

      • JJ Miller says:

        You are welcome.
        I followed a recommendation from a twitter friend to this site. Then I thought, “gee, I don’t know what the theology of the site owner is! I shouldn’t criticize if this is the theology that the site normally follows.”

        Then I saw your Blog Roll and I was surprised a bit. If you don’t mind, I will respond to the above:

        “But faith is more than intellectual assent” and the “demons have intellectual assent and they aren’t saved.”

        Both of these statements are often used but don’t match anyone’s (that i know of) theology. I am not sure why they continue to be used? No one, no one says that faith is simply intellectual assent. No one even tries to define it. Is “heart assent” better???? Secondly, demons can not be saved… and precious few would ever say that they could be. So the nature of their “faith” or what they believe means nothing. But, in James, the nature of their ‘belief” is that they believe that God is one. Well, sir, that is not the gospel. We dont believe that God is One to be saved. We don’t even “believe that God is love” to be saved. We can talk about why James uses this example another time, if you like. The point I want to make is that no one claims these things. We called that a Straw Man argument when I went to school.

        So, what is saving faith? It is not obedience to the teachings of Christ… if we could do that, we wouldn’t need Christ’s shed blood to save us. It is not to LOVE GOD. Love is definately a work.. as Williams points out repeatedly *(and to which I agree). Saving faith is a positive response to God’s divine initiative in sending His Son to die on the cross. It is receiving the gift of life, through the forgiveness we find through the cross of Christ.

        Williams does not state this. He states the opposite time and time again. Repentance, he says is forsaking sin and obeying God. Well, again, if we could obey God, we wouldn’t need Christ. Repentance, he says, is a work.

        Faith, Williams says, means obedience….that we can’t simply believe and be saved. But Paul says, ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Also in Romans, For he died once, the just for the unjust….” Strange that Paul left out the part that this free gift was conditioned on my obedience.

        Repentance is seen in the act of the publican, “Lord have mercy on me, the sinner.” It is agreeing with God about the heinousness of our sin. We have wronged a holy God. And we are condemned for that failure, rightfully. One cant have salvific faith without also repenting: which is recognizing our great need before God, who has righteously found us wanting.

        Faith is no mere mental assent (no one believes this), but is rather volitional. We have receive by faith the work of Christ on our behalf. That is Gospel message, and it is good news for all who believe. Our obedience is out of gratitiude for what he has done… and faith is in no way, “conditioned upon our obedience.” Our love is again based on our repentance and faith… we understand and are moved by love.. the love of Christ compels us.

        My only point is that Williams wholeheartedly denies these things. He spends page after page saying the exact opposite. And both can not be true. The fact that he seems to affirm this under “ATONEMENT” section is little comfort when he spends the next 6 pages redefining terms so that no one can miss his point. We can choose to follow and obey (faith, he calls this) Christ or we can reject him. That is fine, if you believe that. People always want to believe they do this good work for Christ…. that it is our love that saves us, etc. But, it is not the gospel. The Many who say, “lord, lord” are those that do these good things. The even cast out demons and do wonderful works. But child-like faith? Trusting Christ’s work on our behalf … that is the good news…. and when we lose that… even if people may think calling sinners to obey Christ is a good thing… if we lose the gospel, we lose everything.

        Thanks for the reply… Hope I have clarified.
        JJ

    • mattdabbs says:

      JJ,

      Thanks for the lengthy reply. When I have a bit more time I will certainly address the points you have made. I am very glad you took the time to write such a well thought out and well presented comment. I look forward to responding and the dialogue that will ensue from there. Blessings.

  3. ival says:

    [quote]
    Repentance is seen in the act of the publican, “Lord have mercy on me, the sinner.” It is agreeing with God about the heinousness of our sin. We have wronged a holy God. And we are condemned for that failure, rightfully. One cant have salvific faith without also repenting: which is recognizing our great need before God, who has righteously found us wanting.
    [/quote]

    Absolutely correct, and good works does not save!

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