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I’m Not a Christian For Any of These Good Reasons

I’m Not a Christian For Any of These Good ReasonsI just finished a great weekend teaching in the Montreal area (and eating more than my share of smoked meat poutine). Jeff Simunic, Xavier Avila and Joe Nemeth of Westview Bible Church hosted several events for students, church members and people in the Montreal community. These guys are doing a great job in an important mission field. After one of the student sessions, a young woman approached me and asked how (and why) I became a Christian. I gave her a brief description of my conversion story and then told her something I often say in this setting: I’m not a Christian because it works for me. I’m a Christian because it’s true. Afterwards, I started thinking about my response. When I first started to seriously consider the claims of the gospel authors, I was concerned about truth more than anything else, and that’s what I want students to consider when they examine their own reasons. None of the following motivations, for example, were part of my decision:

I Didn’t Become a Christian Because I Was Raised in the Church
I didn’t come from a Christian family. I wasn’t raised in the church or by people who attended church regularly. While students often tell me this is the reason they’re Christians, this wasn’t the case for me.

I Didn’t Become a Christian Because My Friends Were Christians
I also didn’t know any Christians. I was never invited to church by anyone as a child, and although I knew Christians in my college years, none of these folks ever invited me to church either. My friends were all happy atheists. I didn’t become a Christian to be part of a club.

I Didn’t Become a Christian Because I Wanted to Know God
I can honestly say I had no interest in God growing up, while in college, or while a young married man. I felt no “hole” in my life, had no yearning for the transcendent, no sense something was missing. I was happy and content. I didn’t become a Christian to fulfill some need.

I Didn’t Become a Christian Because I Wanted to Go to Heaven
I was also comfortable with my own mortality. Sure it would be nice if we could all live forever, but that’s just not the way it is. Live life to the fullest, enjoy your friends and family while you have them, and stop whining. I didn’t become a Christian because I was afraid of dying.

I Didn’t Become a Christian Because I Needed to Change My Life
My life prior to becoming a Christian was great. I had a meaningful and fulfilling career, a beautiful family, an incredible wife, and lots of friends. I wasn’t struggling and looking for a solution. I didn’t become a Christian to stop beating my wife or to sober up.

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I don’t think any of these reasons are bad, necessarily. I think it’s perfectly legitimate for students to become Christians because they were raised in the Church, have many Christian friends, desire a relationship with God, want to go to Heaven or are looking for transformation. But although these reasons might motivate students to start their journey, I hope these aren’t the only reasons they’re still here. I’m not sure any of these motivations will suffice when push comes to shove, times get tough or students face the challenges of university life. In the end, truth matters more than anything else. I’m not looking for a useful delusion, a convenient social network, or an empty promise. I just want to know what’s true. I think the students I met in Montreal resonated with this approach to Christianity. They are already members of the Church, have friends in the group, understand the importance of a relationship with God and the promise of Heaven. Now they want to know if any of this stuff is true. It’s our job, as Christian Case Makers, to provide them with the answer. I think it’s perfectly legitimate for students to become Christians because they were raised in the Church, but I hope this isn't the only reason they’re still here. Click To Tweet

For more information about strategies to help you teach Christian worldview to the next generation, please read So the Next Generation Will Know: Training Young Christians in a Challenging World. This book teaches parents, youth pastors and Christian educators practical, accessible strategies and principles they can employ to teach the youngest Christians the truth of Christianity. The book is accompanied by an eight-session So the Next Generation Will Know DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

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J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured cold-case homicide detective, popular national speaker and best-selling author. He continues to consult on cold-case investigations while serving as a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is also an Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and a faculty member at Summit Ministries. He holds a BA in Design (from CSULB), an MA in Architecture (from UCLA), and an MA in Theological Studies (from Gateway Seminary).

4 Comments

4 Comments

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  4. LK

    June 12, 2023 at 8:01 pm

    I just learned of you. I watched your video: Why I Rarely Share My Personal Testimony and Why You Shouldn’t Be Quick to Share Yours and now, I have read this blog post.

    I was curious to listen because of your background.

    I’ve been a Christian for over 40 years. I was raised Hindu and searched far and wide for Jesus until I found Him. Then, He showed me who He was, and I decided to follow Him. I’ve never looked back.

    One thing that came to mind when I was listening to your testimony and reading this is that Jesus did what He saw the Father do and said what He heard the Father say. I try to be sensitive to the Lord and what He would have me share, including my testimony. There really are no rules.

    The reason some of the younger people are not sold-out for Jesus is more of a complex issue. Part of it, I agree with you. We have to love the truth with all of our being. We have to be willing to put our fleshly thoughts aside, to humble ourselves before His word, even if we don’t like it. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12) His word is higher, His thoughts are higher and His ways are higher. Isaiah 55.

    This is not the case with many Christians. They have their lofty thoughts and their fleshly logic and reasoning. This is true for all ages. Some go just so far, some go all the way, some start to take God for granted or decide they have given enough, learned enough, etc. The robotic churches and worship, encouraging a solid, good, godly lifestyle is/was has always been genuine for a few and not for others. I don’t think it’s all that new that people are lukewarm or not willing to take up their cross and follow Him.

    My opinion is that many never really understand who Jesus is. Many are also filled with man’s doctrine which is not the same as solid doctrine.

    For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

    I also think of Matthew 16:15-17 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

    The other thing is that Jesus will say to many in the last day, I never knew you, Depart from Me!

    To wrap this up, I think many who will hear those words have never known Him. So, I believe in solid doctrine, but it cannot be without the spiritual understanding that He gives us by His Holy Spirit. That is vital.

    I appreciate you listening. It gave me much food for thought. God bless you and your ministry and those whom the Lord will touch through your talents and gifts.

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