Christian Basics
Ottawa Church


Stained glass in Prescott

Before Starting

What do you think?
Before starting, answer the following questions. Don't worry if you aren't sure about your answers. You will be asked the same questions at the end and hopefully, your answers then will show what you have learned! And if you can't answer all the questions even then - don't worry. Christianity is a life-long adventure in learning!

  1. What do Christians believe?
  2. Who is God? Jesus? the Holy Spirit? the Trinity?
  3. What is the Bible?
  4. What do Christians do?
  5. What does it mean to be a Christian?


Christian Basics

About These Pages

This site owes its beginnings to a confirmation class, and to different people asking for a quick and easy guide to Christianity.

Years ago, I led a confirmation class which ended up with youth and parents discussing what they were learning over Sunday dinners. That led to me writing up the course in two parts: Part 1: Joining the Church - Christian Basics and Part 2: Joining the Church - Who Are We?. While Part 1 tried to present Christian beliefs that all denominations could accept, Part 2 presented a Presbyterian perspective.

I've led other confirmation classes and used other books to introduce Christianity to people, but keep coming back to the material I had originally written (updated of course).

I was generally unhappy with other material. In some cases, material was too fundamentalist. It stressed looking up Biblical passages and assumed that whatever was found in the Bible answered people's questions. I found that the material often presented a monochromatic Christianity - i.e., all Christians believed such-and-such and there was never any question or doubt about whatever.

I found just as many problems with more liberal introductions to Christianity. In some cases, so much time was spent supporting liberal interpretations that, once again, a monochromatic Christianity was being presented to people. In other cases, the topics covered were discussed at such an in-depth level that one would need a theological degree just to follow what was being said.

Popular works were definitely more interesting and more interactive, but I found they were geared for people who were already Christian. Much as I love C.S. Lewis' books and have no trouble using them in church settings, I found myself reluctant to refer them to non-Christians!

Surely, there must be a good introduction to the basics of Christianity that most denominations agree on and that can be presented fairly simply and straightforwardly! There probably are, but since I'm not familiar with them, I felt there was still a need for a general introduction to Christianity.

Which brings me back to the book I started years ago. Joining the Church: Christian Basics. While I have tried to present teachings that most denominations can agree on, I am a Presbyterian minister (i.e., Protestant/ Presbyterian)and likely present material emphasizing points and approaches that are very Protestant and Presbyterian.

Even so, I hope you find the information on these pages useful but please realize it just skims the surface of a faith that has had a profound impact on the world.

In time, I might even get Joining the Church: Who Are We? onto the web ...

In the meantime - enjoy!

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