About this web page

What Christianity is All About

Basic information about the Christian faith provided by
Michael and Melody Covington, Athens, Georgia


FAQ for anyone thinking of visiting a church

Contents


BASIC CHRISTIAN BELIEFS


JESUS OF NAZARETH


CHRISTIAN MORALITY

Christian morality is quite similar to morality in other religions and cultures and to pre-existing Jewish morality.

"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them." — Jesus, Matthew 5:17

Christians emphasize two things that modern western culture tends to neglect:

Christian sexual morality is based on the idea that sexual pleasure is holy and good; that God created it; that its purpose is to unite husband and wife and, at appropriate times, to pro-create children; and that it has spiritual as well as physical significance. It is not a mere physical thrill, nor is it something to be ashamed of.

Jesus taught that a person's mental sex life is as important as what he or she carries out physically. This is the basis of the Christian objection to pornography and other exploitative uses of sexual desire.

Christians do not approve of sexual intercourse outside of marriage nor homosexual erotic behavior. However, homosexual orientation, when involuntary, is not a sin; it is a condition in which people find themselves, or a besetting temptation.

There is no reason to expect these teachings to "change with the times." There are people who want to alter Christianity to allow various sexual practices today, just as there are people who wanted to alter it to allow slavery in the early 1800s. But God's law is not ours to change. If it were, it wouldn't do us much good.


CHRISTIANS AND OTHER RELIGIONS

"It is the atheist, not the Christian, who has to believe that nearly all the people that ever lived have been mistaken about one of the things that mattered to them most." - C. S. Lewis, paraphrased.

Christians don't believe that other religions are totally false — only that they are less complete or less accurate than Christianity. Because only one God actually exists, all concepts of the divine throughout the world must come from Him.

It is nonsense to claim that "all religions are equally true" since some religions directly contradict others. In particular, most religions assume that people can overcome sin by working hard to better themselves. Christians insist that forgiveness of sin is a free gift from God.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


CHURCH HISTORY AND CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS

Most divisions within Christendom arise from the following events:

Orthodox and Catholic Christians claim to be (branches of) the one true church. They consider Protestants to be true Christians, albeit politically separated and mistaken about some doctrines.

Protestants do not claim to be the church, "but merely a part thereof." Many Protestants believe the church was never intended to be a single earthly organization with a single headquarters; rather, the emphasis is on self-governing congregations and local associations.

Despite disagreements, there is an enormous common ground shared by all who proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior. All Christians, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox, hold the essential beliefs listed at the beginning of this web page, and would agree with almost everything here.

Outside the borders: The Mormons (Latter-Day Saints), Unitarians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and Unification Church (of Rev. Moon) identify themselves as Christians but do not hold the core beliefs of Christianity. For example, the Mormons believe that God is a glorified human being and is not unique. (For a well-produced set of videos contrasting Mormonism with Christianity, click here.) The Unitarians, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Unification Church deny the deity of Christ. The Christian Scientists teach that sin and suffering are an illusion.

It is our experience that some members of each of these groups do stick close to the Bible and have beliefs more consistent with mainstream Christianity. When evaluating any of these groups, we urge you to get your information from multiple sources.


HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN

Being a Christian is more than just attending a church or trying to live a good life.

Christian life begins when you personally commit yourself to Christ by praying a prayer in which you confess your sins, accept His forgiveness, and give Him control of your life. Then follow Christ in baptism and church membership.

Christ's grace is given freely to anyone who will accept it. You will not necessarily feel any different; not everyone's conversion is a mind-blowing emotional revolution. (In fact, be suspicious of those that are; they tend not to be genuine.)

Nor will sin leave your life. You will still face the same temptations as before, and sometimes you will fall. The difference is that now you are a forgiven sinner. Not only that, but you are empowered to overcome sin, although the fruits of victory will not be immediate.

Share your faith with others. "Fly your flag." Make sure the world knows you're a Christian.


HOW TO CHOOSE A CHURCH TO ATTEND

Don't choose a church by its social prestige, architecture, or type of music. Instead:


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About this web page

Michael and Melody Covington are Christians who live in Athens, Georgia. Michael is a software developer and Senior Research Scientist Emeritus at the Artificial Intelligence Center at the University of Georgia; he has a Ph.D. from Yale University. Melody is a retired graphic artist and typesetter; she has a B.F.A. from the University of Georgia. They attend Beech Haven Baptist Church.

This web page is hosted on the Covingtons' private web site (www.covingtoninnovations.com), not by a church or evangelistic organization. If you would like more information about Christ, we urge you to contact a local church or an organization such as Christians.org, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship or Campus Crusade for Christ.

We can answer some inquiries and would welcome helpful comments about this web page, but we do not have the resources to handle large amounts of message traffic or engage in debates. For open discussion we suggest you look for appropriate online forums or contact Christians in your area.