I Could Never Be a Christian

by | Jun 3, 1999 | Church, Example, God's Hands, Reflection, Witnessing

A prominent minister in Los Angeles was holding special revival meetings in his church a few years ago. Among those attending night after night was a gentleman obviously unacquainted with the general program. After a few meetings the preacher made a special point of speaking to him, and discovered that he was not a Christian.

“What do you think of the Christian religion?” The preacher asked.

“Oh,” said the visitor, “Christianity is very interesting as far as it goes, but I could never be a Christian.”

“Why?” Asked the minister.

“Because I could never believe that I could get salvation from a dead Jew,” was his reply.

“Neither do I,” said the preacher.

“Oh, yes, you do,” he said. “Don’t you Christians claim that salvation comes through the death of Christ?”

“Not through His death alone,” said the preacher, “but rather because Christ rose from the dead.”

“Ah,” said the visitor, “you can never prove that to me.”

Then began a long and interesting discussion. The preacher was well informed and brought up argument after argument. But all to no avail. The gentleman held to his position. Realizing that his arguments had failed to convince him, the preacher said:

“My friend, I have not given you my most important reason. I know that Christ is living because He lives His life in me.”

“What do you mean by that?” Asked the man.

For the next hour the preacher told what Christ meant to him, showing from both the Old and the New Testament how the Holy Spirit operates in the life of one who yields himself to God.

“I’m beginning to understand,” remarked the stranger, “and I must know more about this. I feel a need in my own life.”

Before parting they lifted their hearts to God in prayer. Reaching his home that night, the minister, Pastor A. H. Ackley, slipped into his study and penned these well-known lines. The next morning he set them to music, and thus was born one of our best-known gospel songs. Here are the first stanza and chorus of those words that so well emphasize the fact that Christ lives.

I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him He’s always near.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how
I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

The greatest argument in favor of Christianity is not the organization of the church; not her literature nor her buildings; not her institutions nor her schools of learning; not even her hospitals nor her far-flung mission fields. Rather it is the power of God seen in the lives of those who make up the church.

By Roy Allan Anderson, Signs of the Times, April 1964. Thanks to Dale E. Galusha Pacific Press Ministries dalgal@pacificpress.com


I Could Never Be a Christian