A key tenant of the 1stFaith concept is that those who followed Jesus first knew best what was most important regarding God and Jesus Christ. If we can get back to what they—men like Peter, Paul, James, John and so many others—believed, we can find a more powerful faith.
Illustrating this, on a recent Sunday my pastor introduced an Andy Stanley (pastor of North Point Community Church near Atlanta) message addressing “The Bible Tells Me So” idea which so often falls apart when under intense questioning. I don’t watch many videos, but I was riveted to this one.
Hear me out because you’re reading the thoughts of a guy who most certainly believes the Bible is the true, inspired word of God.
Stanley’s message was quickly vilified by many when the evangelical community first heard about it. Problem was, few listened to what he had to say. Once the naysayers listened, they began to understand.
If you have 37 minutes of time, watch. It’s worth it.
My pastor, who I plan on introducing on this site soon, played a key role in introducing me to what I’m calling a 1stFaith; he’s taught me . . . a lot. And when he asked me and the rest of our church to listen to Andy’s message, I knew it was going to be important.
Stanley may or may not agree with everything I’ll put forth on this site. But he understands well that Christianity, at its core, is the story of a man—Jesus—whom God raised from the dead.
The resurrection is everything. Those early believers told this story in the face of persecution and even death. Their message didn’t become “The Bible” for more than 300 years after Jesus was raised. But they told the story to anyone who would listen, they wrote historical narratives (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and letters (Paul, Peter, James . . . ) so that others would know, too.
I’m sure Andy Stanley would agree with me that the Bible as we know it is true. But the early Christians didn’t have a Bible and didn’t need one. They simply told a true story of a man being raised from the dead.
Thankfully, because of those narratives and letters we can tell the same story. This is one of the many benefits of the Bible.
But we often get caught up in other stories. Was the Red Sea parted? Was there a flood? For the record, I’ll say yes to both. I’ve been to the Creation Museum in Kentucky (loved it) and look forward to visiting “Noah’s Ark.”
But if someone wants to argue faith by trying to poke holes in these narratives, I need to watch that I don’t get caught up in that debate and miss the story the apostles told.
The core story in Christianity is Jesus, the man “attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know,” as Peter proclaimed in Acts 2:22.
The historical fact that Jesus existed is indisputable, if one knows anything about history. It’s also indisputable that a lot of people wrote about him and that many watched him die. And there is no historical debate about whether a large number of men and women claimed he was raised from the dead.
The only question today is, “Is the story of the apostles true?”
Andy Stanley makes a compelling case; and it’s one that anyone—Christian or not—needs to consider.
In this message, he makes some Christians uncomfortable for a few minutes, and that’s okay. Just hear him out. But he also opens the door for those who have left their faith to reconsider what they believe, and why they left.
Take some time. Watch it. If you are like me and seeking a true 1stFaith, this is a step in the right direction.
As I mention above, Andy Stanley and I might not agree on everything (who knows, maybe we do?), but we have a large swath of common ground right here.