Christianity Is A Taught Religion

by Douglas Hoff


How does a person become a Christian?  It’s a simple enough question but a lot of people do not know the Biblically correct answer.  Some think one is a Christian if his parents are church members in good standing.  This would mean one entered a covenant relationship with God much like the Jews did — by physical birth.

Interestingly, the word Christian is found only three times in the whole Bible (Acts 11:26; 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16).  The first occurrence reveals the disciples were first called Christians in the city of Antioch.  When reading about the religion of Christ one would expect to learn what the followers were called shortly after it was established.  By way of contrast Peter letter was written about 30 years after the church began.  By this time the word “Christian” was fairly well known in the Roman Empire.  The second use of this word reveals an important detail.  King Agrippa understood a person must be persuaded to become a follower of Christ (Acts 26:28).  Thus, the individual must be taught certain truths and embrace them.  This is exactly what Luke did for Theophilus (Luke 1:3, 4; Acts 1:1).

To become a Christian the lost soul must be born again (John 3:3-5; 1 Peter 1:22, 23).  Peter recorded that the soul is purified from sins by obeying the truth.  Again, this indicates that Christianity is a taught religion.  Salvation is obtained through a spiritual, not physical birth.  Hebrews 8:10, 11 shows that one cannot be saved unless he first knows the law of God.  This is in contrast with the Jews who were born into God’s covenant and later had to be taught the Law of Moses.  Today, every creature must first be taught the gospel before salvation is possible (Mark 16:15, 16).  The Lord said, “It is written in the prophets, and they shall all be taught by God.  Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (John 6:45; NKJV).  What must be taught?  Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31, 32; NKJV).

Christianity is also a teaching religion.  Someone must do the instruction. Who has this responsibility?  Jesus commanded the apostles (Mark 16:15,16). Indirectly, he commands us as well (Matthew 28:18-20).  Properly teaching the gospel includes impressing upon each Christian his obligation to do “all things I have commanded you (the apostles).”  Since the apostles were commanded to go and teach all nations, then each succeeding disciple shares in this mission (cf. 2 Timothy 2:2).  Somehow you learned the saving truth. Will you not pass along this good news to some poor lost soul?

Since every child of God has the responsibility of teaching the gospel, we must study and learn to be properly equipped for the task.  Clearly, it is not possible to teach what we do not know.  However, remember that for a person to first become a Christian he must know at least the plan of salvation.  If a soul recognizes his need to be saved and obeys the gospel, then he knows enough to teach that much to others.  Sadly, some members of the church do not teach anyone.  The problem may be either they cannot or will not engage in this work. Because humans are forgetful it is possible to lose what once had been gained. The writer of Hebrews rebuked his readers this way, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14; NKJV).

Some members of the Lord’s church say they are not able to teach others. This admission may be true.  If so, they need to repent and start studying.  It may just be an admission that the person is either afraid to try or lacks confidence in his ability.  The best way to overcome such obstacles is by trying.  As the writer of Hebrews stated, it takes use to have one’s senses exercised.  The only way to grow in knowledge is by spending the necessary time to study (2 Peter 3:18).