Back to Basics

Written by Jeff Carlson on .

Bible And Sword"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified". I Corinthians 2:2

What is the Gospel? Who is Jesus? What is the Christian Faith all about? What is God trying to say to us? What should we be doing in the Church? These are but a few of the questions that every Christian should be asking themselves from time to time. If we cannot answer these basic questions, we are not going anywhere in the Christian life and we may lead others astray.

Over the years, I have come to see that there are many answers being given to the above questions. I never cease to be amazed by some of the answers people give when asked to define the Christian Faith. Some people believe Christianity is largely about living some sort of better moral life where we try to become better human beings. For others, the Christian Faith is a cause that helps us transform the injustices of life. A growing number of people see Christianity as a great tool to make them more prosperous, blessed and successful in life. If you really stop and think about it, there are almost as many ideas about the Christian Faith as there are people. Every person tends to shape the Faith and our Lord into their own image on some level.

While there are many ideas about our Lord and the Christian Faith out there, only one is correct. I know that may sound a bit narrow minded in this age of tolerance, but it is true! That singular definition of the Christian Faith is given by the Apostle Paul in our passage above from I Corinthians. The Christian is faith is simply Christ and Him crucified. Haven't we left something out? Not really.

The problem the Church has today is when we try to add something to that some blunt and abbreviated statement from the Apostle. All of those well intentioned "additions" have made the Christian Faith a very complex thing that leads it to be missed or misunderstood by most of the world today. If you doubt that fact, just fill a room with people from various walks of like and ask them to define the Christian Faith. I think you would be surprised with all the different answers you would receive.

The Apostle Paul was a very well educated and clever man. Some scholars speculate that his educational background may have been the equivalent of two PhD's. And yet, Paul didn't try to WOW people with his abilities, his intellect, or his eloquence. Paul knew that human nature is always looking for something special. People instinctively look for human cleverness, skill, or fleshly appeal before they are attracted to anything. Paul never gave people what they wanted with regards to the Christian Faith. The Apostle Paul simply preached Christ and Him crucified. This was Paul's Gospel, this was the basic message that shaped and defined his entire ministry and laid the foundation of the New Testament Church.

The Apostle Paul's words have never been more important than today. We live in a culture where churches are spending millions of dollars trying to attract people to the Christian Faith. Churches now have drama, puppet shows, amazing music programs, Christian aerobics and dance, exciting visual sermons, entertaining programs and activities for all ages, laser light shows, and a host of other things to get people in the door. However, the one thing you don't hear much of anymore is the simple message of Christ and Him crucified. I think some well intentioned Christian leaders believe that message just "won't sell" in our modern, sophisticated culture. You actually hear people saying things like, "That kind of Gospel doesn't really work anymore." Really? Wouldn't it be fun to try it again and see what happens... just one more time?

If our faith is going to thrive in this confusing hour, we need to go back to basics. We need to realize that the message of "Christ and Him crucified" will always work and will always be enough to satisfy our souls. That message may not always draw a crowd, but it will take people to heaven. If we don't know the basics of the Gospel, chances are we will never learn them some other way. Hence, the message of the hour is the one it has always been, namely Christ and Him crucified. Celebrate the glory of the Cross every day, the Cross on which the Prince of glory died for you and for me.