|About Being Christian
Episode 1: Is There a God? 3
Episode 2: Where Did We Come From? 5
Episode 3: Why Are We Here? 9
Episode 4: What Am I Supposed To Do? 13
Episode 5: Is There Something Wrong with Me? 57
Episode 6: What's So Special About Jesus? 63
Episode 7: Why Do Bad Things Happen? 71
Episode 8: Is There Really Life After Death? 73
Episode 9: How Does the Story End? 75
Episode 10: How Do We Get There from Here? 77
Episode 11: What Does Lutheran Mean?
Episode 12: Why Should I Go To Church? 89
Episode 13: Is God Listening To Me? 91
Episode 14: How Young Is Too Young? 105
Episode 15: What's the Truth About Boys and Girls? 115
Episode 16: Am I My Brother's Keeper? 119
Is there a God?
A Christian concludes that there is a God who causes all things to exist.
What about the universe is evidence that God exists?
The universe had a beginning, and everything that has a beginning has a cause greater than itself.
Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 3:4
What about life is evidence that God exists?
Our biological and ecological systems are complex, efficient, and cooperative; and the more complex a system is, the more likely it needs intelligent influence to function and cooperate efficiently.
Proverbs 3:19; Isaiah 55:8-9
What about consicence is evidence that God exists?
All human beings are born with a certain sense of should and should not, and though science describes how the universe works it cannot define how things should work.
Romans 2:15; Job 38:36
What about probability is evidence that God exists?
The simpler of two possible explanations is usually the right one, and an unlimited being (God) is simpler than any limited being whose existence is certain.
Revelation 1:8; Exodus 3:14
What about human desire is evidence that God exists?
Every inborn need has some real thing that satisfies it, and human beings are born with a certain desire that nothing of the universe alone can satisfy.
Ecclesiastes 3:11; Psalm 100:3
What is the Second Commandment?
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
What is the Third Commandment?
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching or His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.
Where did we come from?
A Christian recognizes that God created the universe from His Word and His Spirit.
What existed before God created?
Only God Himself and nothing else; God created our world out of nothing with His Word and His power – "God said…and it was so."
Psalm 90:2; Hebrews 11:3
What does this mean?
Nothing can exist against God's will or apart from God's Word, and God wants to communicate with His creatures.
Psalm 19:1; Matthew 10:29; John 1:1, 3; Isaiah 55:10-11
How long did the process of creation take?
God created matter and life in seven twenty-four hour days, according to the words, "There was evening and there was morning, one day," and, "Let the sun and the moon serve to mark seasons and days and years."
Genesis 1:5; Genesis 1:14; Exodus 31:17
What does it mean that there are so many different forms of life?
God created every different species of plant and animal in the beginning – "each according to their kinds" - and He allows for adaptation within species but not evolution across species.
Genesis 1:12; 1 Corinthians 15:38-39; Psalm 139:13
What does the natural creation show about God?
God operates in variety and abundance, everything He does is for our good, and physical bodies and material things are to be respected and not rejected – "God saw that it was good."
Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20; 1 Timothy 4:4; 2 Corinthians 9:10
Why did God create the heavens and the earth?
God created everything as gifts for humankind.
Genesis 2:15, 19; Psalm 115:16; James 1:17; Luke 12:32; Romans 1:25; Psalm 8:6
What does it mean that God is Creator?
God is close and connected to His creation, and He is always about to do something creative, because His work as Creator is still going on even now.
Colossians 1:17; Psalm 36:6; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Psalm 118:24; Hebrews 1:3
What does the theory of evolution claim?
The theory of evolution attempts to explain life without God using abiogenesis, mythical lengths of time, natural selection, chance, and radio-isotope dating of the fossil record.
2 Peter 3:5; 1 Corinthians 1:21, 25; 1 Timothy 6:20-21
What evidence does the theory of evolution not account for?
The theory of evolution can't account for the origin of life, inconsistencies in the fossil record, inaccuracies in radio-isotope dating, irreducible biological complexities, and the meaning of life.
Psalm 14:1; Proverbs 9:10; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Acts 4:12
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
1 So far we have heard the first part of Christian doctrine. We have seen all that God wants us to do or not to do. Now there properly follows the Creed, which sets forth to us everything that we must expect and receive from God. To state it quite briefly, the Creed teaches us to know Him fully [Ephesians 3:19]. 2 This is intended to help us do what we ought to do according to the Ten Commandments. For (as said above) the Ten Commandments are set so high that all human ability is far too feeble and weak to keep them. Therefore, it is just as necessary to learn this part of Christian doctrine as to learn the former. Then we may know how to attain what they command, both where and how to receive such power. 3 For if we could by our own powers keep the Ten Commandments as they should be kept, we would need nothing further, neither the Creed nor the Lord’s Prayer. 4 But before we explain this advantage and necessity of the Creed, it is enough at first for the simpleminded to learn to comprehend and understand the Creed itself.
Note: Through His Word, God calls forth the words we speak back to Him. In this way, Luther says, the entire Creed is a response to the First Commandment. Since God is the maker of heaven and earth, we realize that all we are, all we will ever become, and all we possess depends entirely on our Creator. All He does for us, all He daily provides—indeed His warding off of dangers of every description—are merely part of His many blessings. For this reason, we are duty bound to love, praise, thank, and devote to Him all the works set forth in the Ten Commandments. Luther laments how few people actually believe what the Creed teaches about our utter dependence on God. However, daily study of this article leads us to recognize God’s fatherly and loving heart. We confess His greatest treasure for us in the Second and Third Articles of the Creed.
9 I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
10 This shows and sets forth most briefly what is God the Father’s essence, will, activity, and work. The Ten Commandments have taught that we are to have not more than one God [Deuteronomy 6:4]. So it might be asked, “What kind of a person is God? What does He do? How can we praise, or show and describe Him, that He may be known?” Now, that is taught in this and in the following article. So the Creed is nothing other than the answer and confession of Christians arranged with respect to the First Commandment. 11 It is as if you were to ask a little child, “My dear, what sort of a God do you have? What do you know about Him?” The child could say, “This is my God: first, the Father, who has created heaven and earth. Besides this One only, I regard nothing else as God. For there is no one else who could create heaven and earth.”
12 But for the learned and those who are somewhat advanced, these three articles may all be expanded and divided into as many parts as there are words. But now for young scholars let it suffice to make the most necessary points, as we have said, that this article refers to the Creation. We emphasize the words “Creator of heaven and earth.” 13 But what is the force of this, or what do you mean by these words, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth?” Answer: “This is what I mean and believe, that I am God’s creature [2 Corinthians 5:17]. I mean that He has given and constantly preserves [Psalm 36:6] for me my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, reason, and understanding, and so on. He gives me food and drink, clothing and support, wife and children, domestic servants, house and home, and more. 14 Besides, He causes all created things to serve for the uses and necessities of life. These include the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens, day and night, air, fire, water, earth, and whatever it bears and produces. They include birds and fish, beasts, grain, and all kinds of produce [Psalm 104]. 15 They also include whatever else there is for bodily and temporal goods, like good government, peace, and security.” 16 So we learn from this article that none of us owns for himself, nor can preserve, his life nor anything that is here listed or can be listed. This is true no matter how small and unimportant a thing it might be. For all is included in the word Creator.
17 Further, we also confess that God the Father has not only given us all that we have and see before our eyes, but He daily preserves and defends us against all evil and misfortune [Psalm 5:11]. He directs all sorts of danger and disaster away from us. We confess that He does all this out of pure love and goodness, without our merit, as a kind Father. He cares for us so that no evil falls upon us. 18 But to speak more about this belongs in the other two parts of this article, where we say, “Father Almighty.”
19 Now, all that we have, and whatever else is in heaven and upon the earth, is daily given, preserved, and kept for us by God. Therefore, it is clearly suggested and concluded that it is our duty to love, praise, and thank Him for these things without ceasing [1 Thessalonians 5:17–18]. In short, we should serve Him with all these things, as He demands and has taught in the Ten Commandments.
20 We could say much here, if we were to wander, about how few people believe this article. For we all pass over it, hear it, and say it. Yet we do not see or consider what the words teach us. 21 For if we believed this teaching with the heart, we would also act according to it [James 2:14]. We would not strut about proudly, act defiantly, and boast as though we had life, riches, power, honor, and such, of ourselves [James 4:13–16]. We would not act as though others must fear and serve us, as is the practice of the wretched, perverse world. The world is drowned in blindness and abuses all the good things and God’s gifts only for its own pride, greed, lust, and luxury. It never once thinks about God, so as to thank Him or acknowledge Him as Lord and Creator.
22 This article ought to humble and terrify us all, if we believed it. For we sin daily [Hebrews 3:12–13] with eyes, ears, hands, body and soul, money and possessions, and with everything we have. This is especially true of those who fight against God’s Word. Yet Christians have this advantage: they acknowledge that they are duty bound to serve God for all these things and to be obedient to Him.
23 We ought, therefore, daily to recite this article. We ought to impress it upon our mind and remember it by all that meets our eyes and by all good that falls to us. Wherever we escape from disaster or danger, we ought to remember that it is God who gives and does all these things. In these escapes we sense and see His fatherly heart and His surpassing love toward us [Exodus 34:6]. In this way the heart would be warmed and kindled to be thankful, and to use all such good things to honor and praise God.
24 We have most briefly presented the meaning of this article. This is how much is necessary at first for the most simple to learn about what we have, what we receive from God, and what we owe in return. This is a most excellent knowledge but a far greater treasure. For here we see how the Father has given Himself to us, together with all creatures, and has most richly provided for us in this life. We see that He has overwhelmed us with unspeakable, eternal treasures by His Son and the Holy Spirit, as we shall hear [Colossians 2:2].
Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 398-401 (Large Catechism II.I)
Why are we here?
A Christian understands that God made us for relationships like His.
Who is God?
God is the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – one undivided being in three distinct persons.
James 2:19; Matthew 28:19; Isaiah 6:8
How is God one and also more than one?
God is love; as any relationship of love includes more than one person and unites them by giving and receiving, so God is the one giving-and-receiving relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:16; John 10:29-30; John 5:26; John 6:38; John 15:26; Romans 5:5
How is humankind like God?
Humankind is male and female just as God also is more than one; and as God is the Trinity of love, so the meaning and purpose of life is to live for relationships and in relationships – and this is the image of God in which He Himself has created us.
Ephesians 5:31-32; 1 John 4:7; Genesis 1:26-27
Why has God made us male and female?
Since love is not merely feeling but fully giving and receiving, God designed males to embody giving and females to embody receiving; and in marriage the two become one flesh, one love, and one life.
Genesis 2:22; Ephesians 5:23-25; John 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:5
What does this mean for our relationships?
In our relationship with God, He is the giver and we are receivers; in our relationship with creatures and nature, we are to be the givers; and in our relationships with each other, we are equal partners in giving and receiving.
1 John 4:10; Genesis 1:28; Matthew 22:39; Ecclesiastes 4:12
What is the Fourth Commandment?
Honor your father and your mother.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.
What is the Fifth Commandment?
You shall not murder.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.
What is the Sixth Commandment?
You shall not commit adultery.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do and husband and wife love and honor each other.
The Three Universal or Ecumenical Creeds
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church, I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Creed of Athanasius (Athanasian Creed)
Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith.
Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally.
And the catholic faith is this,
that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.
For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Holy Spirit is another.
But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit:
the Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Spirit uncreated;
the Father infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite;
the Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal.
And yet there are not three Eternals, but one Eternal,
just as there are not three Uncreated or three Infinites, but one Uncreated and one Infinite.
In the same way, the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, the Holy Spirit almighty;
and yet there are not three Almighties but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God;
and yet there are not three Gods, but one God.
So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord;
and yet there are not three Lords, but one Lord.
Just as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord,
so also are we prohibited by the catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.
The Father is not made nor created nor begotten by anyone. The Son is neither made nor created, but begotten of the Father alone.
The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten but proceeding.
Thus, there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another;
but the whole three persons are coeternal with each other and coequal so that in all things, as has been stated above, the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity is to be worshiped.
Therefore, whoever desires to be saved must think thus about the Trinity.
But it is also necessary for everlasting salvation that one faithfully believe the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, it is the right faith that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is at the same time both God and man.
He is God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages; and He is man, born from the substance of His mother in this age:
perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh;
equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to His humanity.
Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ:
one, however, not by the conversion of the divinity into flesh but by the assumption of the humanity into God;
one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ,
who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again on the third day from the dead,
ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, from whence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
At His coming all people will rise again with their bodies and give an account concerning their own deeds.
And those who have done good will enter into eternal life, and those who have done evil into eternal fire.
This is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved.
Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 15-18 (Ecumenical Creeds)
Note: Martin Luther never intended to start a new church, but rather to purify the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. The Augsburg Confession strongly affirms the doctrine of the Trinity confessed at the Council of Nicaea (325), and later affirmed by the Council of Constantinople (381). God is one divine essence in three distinct persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Scriptures reveal this great mystery, confessed by all Christians.
During the Reformation, radical groups espoused various forms of earlier heresies. The Augsburg Confession condemns the ancient heresies concerning God. Article I proves that Lutheranism is deeply anchored in the historic doctrine of biblical Christianity. It embraces the faith of the Church through the ages and rejects all the errors the Church has rejected.
1 Our churches teach with common consent that the decree of the Council of Nicaea about the unity of the divine essence and the three persons is true. 2 It is to be believed without any doubt. God is one divine essence who is eternal, without a body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness. He is the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible [Nehemiah 9:6]. 3 Yet there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [Matthew 28:19]. These three persons are of the same essence and power. 4 Our churches use the term person as the Fathers have used it. We use it to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.
5 Our churches condemn all heresies [Titus 3:10–11] that arose against this article, such as the Manichaeans, who assumed that there are two “principles,” one Good and the other Evil. They also condemn the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Muslims, and all heresies such as these. 6 Our churches also condemn the Samosatenes, old and new, who contend that God is but one person. Through sophistry they impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Spirit are not distinct persons. They say that Word signifies a spoken word, and Spirit signifies motion created in things.
Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 31 (Augsburg Confession I)
THE FIRST PART
Note: Luther repeats the historic creedal formulas that confess God the Holy Trinity and the two natures in Christ. He concludes by indicating how these articles are the historic Confession of the Christian Church. When Luther uses the word catechism he is not referring to his Small Catechism but to the historic teaching of the faith in the Western Church: the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostles’ Creed. The Romanists and Lutherans agreed on these points of biblical, orthodox Christianity, so there was no need for Luther to elaborate on them.
1. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one divine essence and nature [Matthew 28:19], are one God, who has created heaven and earth [1 Corinthians 8:6].
2. The Father is begotten of no one; the Son is begotten of the Father [John 1:14]; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son [John 15:26].
3. Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit, but the Son became man [John 1:14].
4. The Son became man in this manner: He was conceived, without the cooperation of man, by the Holy Spirit [Luke 1:34–35], and was born of the pure, holy Virgin Mary. Afterward, He suffered, died, was buried, descended to hell, rose from the dead [1 Corinthians 15:3–4], ascended to heaven [Acts 1:9–11], sits at the right hand of God [Acts 2:33], will come to judge the quick and the dead, and so on, as the Apostles’ and Athanasian Creeds and our children’s catechism teach.
Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 262 (Smalcald Articles I)
What am I supposed to do?
A Christian accepts that what we must do and not do to God and neighbors is set by law.
How may we know what the Law of God is?
The Law is God's will and word about actions and attitudes to keep individuals safe and make relationships healthy, and the Law is revealed in the Ten Commandments and written on our conscience.
Galatians 3:24; Romans 2:15
How are the Ten Commandments arranged?
The first table is three commandments about how we deal with God, and the second table is seven commandments about how we treat our neighbor – "love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself."
Romans 13:10; Luke 10:27; Matthew 7:12
How are these two tables connected?
Anyone who does not love her neighbor cannot truly love God, and anyone who does not love God will not really love her neighbors.
1 John 4:20; James 2:10
What do the Ten Commandments prescribe and prohibit?
The Ten Commandments contain prescriptions and prohitions about idolatry, blasphemy, apathy, authority, hostility, adultery, robbery, dignity, and jealousy.
Matthew 5:27-28; Mark 7:21-22; Galatians 5:19-21
What effect does the Law have?
The Law shows our sin because it sets conditions and threatens consequences, and we either rebel against it or despair because of it.
Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:10; Romans 7:7-8; Deuteronomy 30:16-18
What is the Seventh Commandment?
You shall not steal.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor's money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.
What is the Eighth Commandment?
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kingdst way.
What is the Ninth Commandment?
You shall not covet your neighbor's house.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor's inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.