Some things you may not know
Christianity in Australia
From the early 20th century, the number of people who call themselves Christian has steadily declined. For example, in 1911, 96% of Australians identified as Christian. Then by the second World War, 45% of Australians said they attended church regularly. Today, the number is about 15%. And since 1971, the people who identify as “not religious” tripled to 25% according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
What people tell us
When we talk to Brisbane people, some people say they don’t know what a Christian is. Some say they have not heard of sin. One said they had never heard of a pastor.
The Church has a language and terminology that is foreign to most people. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise, that people who do not attend church, will not hear these words used very often.
List of words
So let’s list a few words that are given to us by God, out of the Bible, with a short explanation.
- God. God is a spirit who is infinite, eternal and unchangeable. He (revealed to us in the male gender) is infinite (without limits) in His being, in His knowledge and in His power. (We capitalise the name “Him, He, His” to distinguish Him from all other creatures). God is holy, which means He is absolutely perfect and pure in His being and actions.
- Jesus Christ. You may have heard this name when someone is swearing or cursing. Yet, it is the name of a real, historical person who lived more than two thousand years ago in Israel. To the Christian, the name of Jesus Christ is most important and holds great meaning. God sent Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of man.
- Man. God created everything, the earth, the sun, the moon, then all the plants and animals and man. And He made man as a special creation. The Bible says that man has a body and a spirit. God created man with knowledge. He created him as perfect, without fault. God created man as separated from other living things to have a special relationship to Himself.
- Creation. It means that God is the source of all life. Everything in the universe is created. You were probably taught that everything started with a big bang and we all evolved from the elements that formed from the big bang. The Bible teaches that God is a mighty creator, who made everything. It only took six days because His power is infinite and awesome.
- Bible. Or the Holy Bible, is God’s way of speaking to us. God’s revelation to man, so that everything we need to believe about God and understand what He requires of us, is found in the Bible. The Bible has other names such as Scripture, the Word, revelation. It is called “holy”, because it is God’s Word. Because God is true, His Word is truth.
- Law. God has a law that describes man’s relationship with God and to each other. A pleasing relationship with God, depends on man’s obedience to His law. In the beginning, man could obey the law perfectly. The Bible says that God’s law is holy.
- Faith. Faith is a belief or trust in someone. You cannot trust in God if you do not know or believe that He exists. Faith is essential. A Christian understands, that without faith, it is impossible to believe in God. Faith is a gift from God.
- Revelation. There is a common idea that if we search long and hard enough, we will come to a place of truth. The only way to know truth, is if God reveals it to us. Revelation is what God shows us in His creation and most especially, the Bible.
- Sin. Sin is doing or thinking in a way that is against God’s holy law. We all sin. We are therefore sinners. You are a sinner because every day, you think and act in ways that displeases a holy God.
- Prayer. Prayer is a unique way of communicating with God. If you believe in Him, you can pray to Him at anytime, like a child communicates with its father. The Bible teaches that our prayer can start with the words “Our Father, who is in heaven”. Pray is a way to praise God, to seek His forgiveness, to thank Him for his kindness and ask Him for the things necessary for our life.