This page attempts to explain what I mean by the word "Christian", and what being a Christian means to me. However it is only a short description and cannot do justice to the topic. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments, even if it's to say that you disagree with me.
Another great way to find out more is to come along to my church, Christ Church sometime. From time to time, we run a 5 week course called Christianity Explored in the local pub, exploring the meaning of the Christian faith in greater detail.
Please also note that I haven't been able to update this page in a long time so I apologise if any of the links, etc. are out-of-date.
In the simplest terms, being a Christian means being a follower of Jesus Christ, a Jewish teacher who lived 2000 years ago, who claimed to be the Son of God and the one who could save humanity, and who died and came back to life again.
In practice, this means believing and trusting in Jesus, and turning
from one's former way of life to live God's way. The Bible says,
"if you confess with your mouth, `Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Rom 10v9
"I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus." Acts 20v21
The reason why I'm a Christian can be summed up in something Jesus said:
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me." John 14v6
In the beginning, there was no need for a special way to God. God created people in a good relationship with himself. It was only when people turned away from God, deciding not to do as he said, that a barrier came into being between mankind and God. And our sin and disobedience not only separates us from God, but brings God's judgment on us. He is holy and just, and punishes sin.
Yet, in response to our need and because of his love for us, God did not let things stand the way they did. He offered a solution to the problem - Jesus. Jesus, God's own Son, became a man, lived on earth, and died horrible death, executed by Roman authorities. And God let it happen. Why? Because Jesus' death was necessary to bring us back into friendship with God. The chasm between us and God is so great that only Jesus' death could overcome it. He died the death that we deserve for all the bad things we have done. He took our punishment so that we can be pure in God's eyes.
But Jesus didn't stay dead. He rose to life again, defeating death and sin, and mediating now between us and God. He provides the way to God for us.
And this leads to the need for a decision from us. Are we going to keep living the way we have in the past, ignoring God and disobeying Him, or are we going to accept the offer he holds out to us, to turn round, be God's friend, and live in harmony with him, through what Jesus has done for us?
I don't want to follow something just because it sounds nice, because my family does it, or because it makes me feel good, if it isn't true.
But after looking at the evidence (the Bible; Jesus' life, character, teachings and work; the change in the disciples' lives; and most of all Jesus' death and resurrection), I am convinced that what the Bible says and what Jesus claimed about himself was true. And this is why I follow him.
As mentioned above, our rebellion against God not only separates us from him, but makes us subject to his punishment. Jesus offers us an alternative to this, by taking this punishment on himself. If we accept it, we can have life, full life (though not necessarily happy and prosperous all the time), here and now, and also in eternity:
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord."
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3v16
[Jesus said,] "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." John 10v10