Stop chasing the American dream and start chasing the search for Christianity

Luke Christie-Perkins

Luke Christie-PerkinsGUEST COLUMNIST

In my experience, religious talk often seems too sentimental. It often seems to be separated from serious intellectual engagement. Intellectual engagement should seek to understand, “What is True?”, and this question has changed my life. Were Jesus’ claims about himself, God and reality simply helpful moral teachings or was he absolutely accurate when he made these claims? Whether or not these claims are true makes all the difference in the world for how you think about your life and how you prepare for eternity.

The apostle Paul, the greatest Christain missionary and author of nearly half the New Testament, made clear how he thought about Jesus’ teachings as being much more than mere moral exhortation. In his letter to the church in the city of Corinth, Paul gives a short list of things the designation, “the matters of first importance.” What is this list? At least four things: 1-Christ died for our sins, 2- Christ was buried, 3- Christ was raised from the dead, and 4- Christ appeared as alive again to many, many people (1 Cor. 15: 3-9). These things are of “first importance”.

Interestingly, the problem is that the majority of people in the Midwest have already heard this or something similar to it. Many of you reading this will intellectually acknowledge this to be true, but it has little to no effect upon the way you live your life. As a Christian, I simply want to say that unless these claims are indeed actually true, they are meaningless, and more than that are probably more harmful than helpful. Why? Because the apostle Paul says so. In the same chapter to the church in Corinth Paul says, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins…If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:12-19).

Christianity is not a nice religious and moral teaching. Christ did not come to be merely emulated as a super great guy or a great moral teacher. Christ should be believed and followed because he is in fact “the “way, the truth and the life”. Paul did not mess around with being a Christ follower for any other reason than because he believed that Christ’s claims were true. Consider 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 again. Paul says that Christians should be pitied more than all other people if in fact Christ was not raised from the dead, validating all of his life’s teachings about heaven, hell and all of reality. Paul says that Christian faith is vain, futile, and misrepresenting God if in fact Christ was not raised from the dead. In effect, Paul says that if the claims about Jesus Christ are not true, Christianity is pointless and useless.

f you are like me, this was not the sort of thing I heard very often in my good, moral, traditional Christian church. So, as you start a new school year, some of you for the first time, I challenge you to think deeply about the Bible’s claims about Jesus, God and the nature of reality. Don’t waste your life. Don’t waste your life chasing the American dream – a good spouse, a good family, a good paying job and a secure retirement – only to die and turn to dust, never having seriously searched out the nature of reality. I invite you to honestly pursue the claims of Jesus Christ and to pray that God would open your eyes to the truth.