This was the question I received today from someone hostile, as far as I can tell, to all forms of faith in God. Here is what I answered:

Fair question. I don’t know if you’re asking what’s different about it from other Christian faiths, or from religion in general, or from non-faith, but here goes. In a nutshell, it is:

  • a faith of unity. God is one, and there is one path to him, Jesus the Christ, Acts 4.12.
  • a faith of simplicity. Jesus is Lord, and he determines what is best, so we don’t go inventing stuff, Philippians 2.10-11.
  • a faith of freedom. God’s Spirit frees us from ourselves and empowers us for service, Romans 8.2.
  • a faith of joy. God’s gifts are beyond anything we can produce so that we live in gratitude, Romans 5.11.
  • a faith of love. God’s people are true family, not an institution, denomination, or hierarchy, Ephesians 5.1-2.
  • a faith of purpose. God gives us reason for living that surpasses time and space, 2 Timothy 1.9-10.
  • a faith of hope. Despair is put to flight because God holds the future and promises better things at Christ’s return, 1 Peter 1.13.

I pray this may always and everywhere be true of us as God’s people.

How would you answer this person?


6 thoughts on “‘What is different about your faith?’

  1. J. Randal Matheny

    3:08 pm on April 29, 2015

    Tags: Corollaries ( 52 ), evangelism ( 173 ), mission ( 79 )

    On the front line of faithIt can be harrowing, out on the front line of faith, taking licks from hostiles. But it is here where God calls us to be, in order for him to find the few who will respond to the message of Good News in Christ.
    Somebody asked me today what is different about my faith. Here’s how I answered him. The whole discussion was interesting, and he was civil until the very last, when he let loose profanity. But perhaps someone is reading whose heart will be touched.
    Such conversations remind us to hear ourselves speak from the perspective of our hearers. I often try to write with specific people in mind. How will they take this? Where are they coming from? What hot buttons or flag words automatically get their ire up? How can I phrase ideas? Where should I start with this person? These kinds of questions bid us to be careful and speak with wisdom and grace.
    ¶ It’s not too late for you to make an appearance at the Maywood Missionary Retreat in Hamilton AL. Only $10 a day, for all you can eat and place to sleep. Vicki and I are looking forward to that moment. Mike Brooks will be there, and I’m sure he’ll share more about the efforts in Nepal. Other workers in points abroad will also share great stories of God’s hand.
    We’ll make our way across the big Missip tomorrow as we head that way. Time to pack, again, for our fourth stop in just over a week. And they call this “furlough.”
    ¶ I’ve been blessed by the prayers on by Mike and Steve, especially, as well as the lessons and devotionals. They’ve got a good format going in the mornings, between 8 and 9 am Central time. Join in.
    ¶ Just in the mail: The 51st Pan-American Lectureship goes for a Caribbean cruise. They used to choose a country, in order to highlight the work in that place. Locations alternated between Central and South America. I guess they’re now having to soup up the offering, perhaps because of the low interest among the churches in real missions. Or maybe they’ve run out of hosting countries.
    The website says its the 52nd, I see. I was reading the brochure that came just now in my parents’ mailbox. Numbers are hard to keep straight, for sure.
    ¶ What do I mean by real missions? I wish you hadn’t asked me that. Maybe another time.
    ¶ It disturbs me a bit — no, more than a bit — to see the kind of stories that get lots of attention, and those that don’t, on Brotherhood News. If there’s a better way to interpret the stats, I’m not finding it. But God knows. And the church belongs to him. I’m happy to be a drudge in the kingdom and keep on doing my little tasks.
    Sometimes, though, Goliath, on the front line, looks and sounds less intimidating than the army behind you.
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