Recently I was asked, “In explaining Christianity to a nonbeliever, what would you say is the ‘main point’ of the Christian faith?”
Good question. I imagine there could be several right answers. But what would I say?
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I’ve been thinking about the movie “The Notebook.”
Maybe you saw it, too.
In a nursing home, an elderly man is reading a love story from his notebook to a female patient who has dementia. His story begins in the 1940s in a beach town, where a poor local boy and a rich tourist girl have a summer fling. Her parents are dead-set against them, and they are forced apart.
The boy goes off to the war, the girl becomes a nurse, but years later they find each other, overcome many obstacles and are finally married.
In the movie it becomes apparent that the man reading the story was that boy, and the woman in the bed, listening unresponsively, is his wife.
It’s a well-written drama, maybe a little syrupy in places and certainly too steamy for PG-13, and the fairy tale ending is totally unrealistic but there is a beautiful message about love.
Near the end of the movie the elderly woman suddenly remembers who she is and recognizes her husband and they begin to dance together.
But after some minutes, she relapses and loses her memories again.
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Last Sunday a preacher* used that story to describe us Christians.
Sometimes we lapse into a foggy dementia; we forget who we are and who God is and how he loves us, faithfully and always.
We neglect to dance with Jesus.
So why is that? Why do I repeatedly forget that God through Jesus loves me?
A.W. Tozer explains it like this:
“Satan’s first attack upon the human race was his sly effort to destroy Eve’s confidence in the kindness of God. From that day, men have had a false conception of God.
From a failure to properly understand God comes a world of unhappiness among good Christians. The Christian life is thought to be glum, under the eye of a stern Father who expects much and excuses nothing.
The truth is that God is the most attractive of all beings and His service is one of unspeakable pleasure. He loves us for ourselves and values our love more than galaxies of new created worlds.
Unfortunately many Christians cannot get free from their perverted notions of God, and these notions poison their hearts and destroy their inner freedom.
How good it would be if we could learn that God is easy to live with.”
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So back to my first question, what is the main point of the Christian faith? I could be wrong but here’s my answer.
The main point of Christianity is love.
I need to have a true conception of who God is—‘the most attractive of all beings’ and ‘easy to live with.’ And I must believe in his love and follow his plan—‘His service is one of unspeakable pleasure.’
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NLT)
Love is God’s main point.
I will fight my tendency to dementia by repenting and remembering that.
He loves us one and all.
*Dr. Jerry Root