Ask Father Paul ...052108

Father Paul Massey's picture

Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their churches. Here are a few questions that I’ve gotten over my years of ministry and via email since this column started.

Dear Father Paul: What’s so special about Christianity? I believe that all religions are essentially the same. — Brian

Dear Brian: All religions are certainly not the same! Almost every religion that I know of claims to be exclusively unique ... and they all are, indeed, different to be sure. The really important questions are not whether they are all alike, but how are they different ... and is any one religion the single “right” religion?

I am not an expert on other religions to be sure. But you have asked, “What’s so special about Christianity?” and I do know one or two things about that particular faith. Obviously, I have chosen to be a Christian, and I think Christianity is indeed, the “right” religion, but my comments should not in any way be interpreted as a “put down” of any other religion.

Several things, however, do set Christianity apart from all other faiths. First, no other spiritual or religious leader that I know of ever claimed to bring God to mankind the way Jesus did. As a matter of fact, Jesus claimed to be God, and he proved his claim by hundreds of miracles including rising from the dead.

Secondly, Christianity deals radically with the question of sin in that forgiveness of sin and eternal life in the Christian faith is a “free gift” that does not require the believer to climb some difficult ladder of works or deeds, but is bestowed upon any person who will receive the gift by faith.

The great fallacy of all “works based” religions is that they teach that if you “do” certain things or works that God then “owes” you something in return, like going to heaven for example. This puts God “in debt” to such a person. What is wrong with this concept is that the “true God” cannot owe anybody anything or be beholding to anybody for anything, at any time. Because he is God ... creator and master of the universe, it is impossible for him to be in debt to his creation. If he is in debt to us or “owes” us, then he cannot be God.

Lastly, (there are lots more, but I have limited space here) Christianity is the only faith in which God actually comes to dwell inside or “live inside” his followers through the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. His living inside of us not only gives us the benefit of his counsel and encouragement 24/7, but his own power inside of us helps us to overcome sin and evil.

These are just three. Like I said there are lots more.

Dear Father Paul: Aren’t science and the Christian faith incompatible? — Wally

Dear Wally: Absolutely not.

First, it was the Christian world view that provided the environment for modern science to emerge and flourish. Yes, I know about the persecution of Galileo by the Roman Catholic Church, But the fact that Christianity in monotheistic (belief in one God) led people to expect uniformity in both heaven and earth with the underlying laws of nature and science remaining the same in time and space throughout the universe. A universe that was capricious and irregular could not be systematically studied.

Secondly, the belief in one transcendent God, separate from nature, meant that experimentation was justified. This would not have been possible under religious systems that believe that nature itself is God ... i.e. rocks and trees as gods, the sun etc.

Thirdly, for most of history, scientific study and Christianity have been allies, not opponents. People like Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, and yes, even the persecuted Galileo were devout Christians.

Science and scripture do not contradict each other Wally. As a matter of fact, there are many more disagreements within the scientific community than between scientists and Christians.

Special to Steve: You say you are a believer. Then trust God and listen for his voice. He will make his direction in this big decision clear to you.

Got a question for the column? Email me at or call me at (678) 457-3050.

Do you need someone to pray for a need? Email or call me and I will pray for your need. I do not need your name and I will not high pressure you to join my church.

Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville, Georgia. Information on the church, directions, worship times, etc. is available at

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