19 Ways to Stay Christian in College

by Matt Smethurst

Michael J. Kruger’s book, Surviving Religion 101: Letters to a Christian Student on Keeping the Faith in College (Crossway, 2021) is a wonderful resource for high school or college students preparing to live for Christ in a potentially hostile environment.

Don’t confuse not having an answer with there not being an answer.

The two are not the same. Even if you don’t have answers to difficult questions, that does not mean there are none. . . . Here’s the big point: you’re not going to be able to answer every objection to Christianity that you hear. And that’s okay. It’s not a reason to doubt your faith. (31, 32)

Apart from the Spirit’s help, people are hardwired to reject Christianity. . . .

Thus, the widespread rejection of Christianity by intellectual elites has nothing to do with whether Christianity is true. . . . Truth is not determined by majority vote. (45, 46, 49)

Is Jesus arrogant to claim that he is the only way to God?

Well, that depends on [his] identity. He didn’t claim to be a mere human or simply a prophet, but rather the divine Son of God. And as such, he would certainly have the authority to tell us about how one goes to heaven. (55)

Relativism only works if the statement “There is no objective truth” is objectively true.

Thus, relativism only works if it exempts itself from its own rules. . . . In order for relativists to condemn others for making absolute truth claims, they must make their own absolute truth claims (namely, that there are no absolute truths). Thus, what seemed to be a humble position ends up being as dogmatic and absolutist as the positions it condemns. (59)

Stand your ground. And always do so with kindness. It’s the combination of these two things that is so powerful.

Some Christians stand their ground but are unkind to those who disagree. Other Christians are kind to those who disagree but abandon their belief that Christ is the only way. You are called to do both—stand your ground on the uniqueness of Christ and show kindness. The two are not mutually exclusive but belong together. (62)

Most of your friends are both moral relativists and moral absolutists at the same time.

For some behaviors, they are one; for other behaviors, they are the other. They pick and choose. So when it comes to environmentalism and the treatment of refugees, they abandon moral relativism and act as if there are moral absolutes after all. But when it comes to their sexual behavior, they suddenly become moral relativists again, insistent that morality is determined by each person and culture. They want to have it both ways. (70)

Your moral views (particularly about sex) are not really your views at all; they are God’s.

That means that if people think your views are hateful, then they would have to think that God himself is hateful. If people get upset with you, just remember that they are really upset with the God you serve. The goal of your conversations, therefore, will be not so much about helping your friends understand your views as about helping them understand your God. (74)

If Christians change their view of homosexuality simply because they discover that homosexuals are nice people, then that actually reveals a very embarrassing reality, namely, that they had assumed homosexuals must be awful people.

Sexual purity is not based on personality, but on the truth of the Word of God. In other words, it reveals that they had a form of prejudice—they had assumed that people who are different from them must be mean, cruel, and unpleasant. But that is a decidedly anti-Christian way of thinking. (79)

Most people find hell unimaginable because they measure themselves by a standard that they can already meet.

But what if the standard was not easy to meet? What if the standard was God’s perfect holiness, and what if we were corrupt, fallen sinners who violate God’s law even more than we know? (95–96)

What should surprise us is not that God would judge sinners (that actually makes sense) but that he would save any of them.

Heaven, not hell, is the real mystery of Scripture. (102)

Either God exists and there’s good and evil in the world, or God doesn’t exist and there’s no good and evil in the world. . . .

The problem of evil is very real. But it is more of a problem for the atheist than it is for the Christian. (117)

Far from being a hindrance to science, belief in God is the very thing that makes science possible in the first place.

Christianity doesn’t need science; science needs Christianity. (125)

One of the best pieces of evidence of the resurrection of Jesus is the existence of the church itself.

If Jesus had remained in the tomb, there would be no such thing as Christianity. (142)

If [the Gospels] were written between twenty and sixty years after the life of Jesus, that means they were written when people who had witnessed these things were still alive.

In other words, they were written when someone could step forward and say, “That’s not how it happened. I was there.” We might say, then, that there was at least some level of accountability surrounding the publication of these four Gospels. If the authors were fabricating their stories, it is difficult to imagine how they would have been so enthusiastically received. (164)

[The New Testament] might just be the most well-established text in all the ancient world.

If it cannot be trusted, then no ancient text anywhere can be trusted. (176)

The teachings of Christianity, rightly understood, were the foundation for the defeat of the African slave trade. (206)

Despite the modern impression that Christianity is a hostile place for women, Roman women didn’t agree.

On the contrary, they flocked to the new faith in droves. Our best estimates indicate that women made up nearly two-thirds of early Christian communities—basically the opposite of that found in the broader Greco-Roman world. Apparently, women found the church to be a place where they could find honor, dignity, fair treatment, and healthy marriages. Indeed, so popular was early Christianity among women that it was often ridiculed by Roman critics as a religion for women. (208–9)

Skeptics are appealing to a moral standard in order to object to the God of the Bible.

But they need the God of the Bible in order to have a coherent moral standard in the first place. In effect, they are sawing off the branch they are sitting on. (214)

It’s not just belief that affects behavior, but it’s also behavior that affects belief.

When we don’t obey God, we can begin to doubt God. Indeed, if we don’t obey God, we can begin to fight against God. He can feel like the enemy, rather than a friend. (224)

Reprinted from www.thegospelcoalition.org.

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