The following is a capsule summary of Christianity from a talk I was invited to give to a group of psychiatric residents (doctors-in-training) here in the Twin Cities a few years ago.
The talk was on “the evangelical tradition,” and was intended to give these medical practitioners a sense of the beliefs of evangelicals, possible impediments to serving this constituency, and ideas of how to serve them better.These medical residents came from all kinds of religious backgrounds and several ethnic backgrounds and countries-of-origin. So I couldn’t assume they had any knowledge of the basics of Christianity.
I’ll post at least one more bit of this talk soon (see “Evangelicalism–a basic summary,” part I, part II, and part III, and “Evangelicals and psychiatric services“), but here’s the “Christianity-in-a-nutshell” intro, which came first in the talk, before any details about evangelicalism itself. I’m curious: What do you think? What did I miss? What did I get wrong? What would you have said differently?
First, the basics. What is the Christian faith that these evangelicals profess?
Christianity is rooted in Judaism, which teaches that the human race was created by a personal God. The Hebrew Scriptures, also accepted by Christians as authoritative, teach that from the beginning, despite the love of this God for humanity, humans have failed to return this love, preferring instead to “do their own thing.” This is symbolized in Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Bible, by two stories. Continue reading