Questioning Christianity • Dan Paterson & Rian Roux

Is There More to the Story?

June 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2154-8

Have you ever seriously questioned Christianity?

If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people have wondered if this faith is outdated . . . irrelevant . . . maybe even harmful. But what if everything is not as it seems? What if there’s more to the story?

Questioning Christianity explores the nature and relevance of the Christian story in an accessible and compelling way. No slogans. No politics. No simple solutions to complex problems. After many years of exploring issues of faith with skeptics, seekers, and new believers, Dan Paterson and Rian Roux serve as guides to help you navigate what can be a disorienting and confusing journey.

Perhaps you’re feeling lost, unable to find your bearings, and you need some help to map out the terrain around you. Or maybe you’ve encountered obstacles and have hard questions that need to be addressed before you can move ahead. Whatever it is that has made you curious about this faith, there are good answers waiting to be discovered. So go ahead. Question Christianity. Just give Christianity the chance to answer back.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Dan Paterson is a Christian thinker and the founder of Questioning Christianity, a ministry connecting the Christian story to life’s deepest questions. With a personal background of wrestling through the problem of evil, he has earned several university qualifications in Theology and Apologetics in Australia and Oxford, fueled by a passion to help others process their doubts and discover the relevance and reasonableness of faith in Jesus. Speaking regularly to audiences around Australia and beyond, Dan is based in Brisbane, where together with his wife, Erin, their favorite job is raising three boys.

Originally from South Africa, Rian Roux spent his adolescence in a small fishing and farming community in the far north of Australia. Intrigued by the stories that shape our lives, he travelled widely and pursued studies in Applied Science, Education, and Theology. After a year at Oxford University, he commenced a PhD in Australia with a focus on transformative learning and student leadership development in higher education. Rian has experience in pastoral ministry, teaching, and business and currently lives and works in Toowoomba with his wife, Sally, and their three children.

CONTENT PREVIEW

Jesus extends to you a personal invitation. That is the source of why, for two millennia now, the Jesus movement has never stopped expanding across borders and into new tribes and tongues. Jesus comes to each of us, and the invitation has always been personal.

Just like He did with His first disciples, Jesus invites you by name to believe in and follow Him. You are now part of the long line of history, as people of every generation have had to decide for themselves whether to answer or ignore Jesus’ call.

But what exactly is the nature of that invitation?

What does it mean to become a Christian?

Across the ages, this moniker Christian has collected all sorts of cultural baggage so that Christianity can seem nebulous, confusing people of all persuasions (not least of all Christians). Some people think being a Christian is primarily about subscribing to the right set of beliefs, collecting a certain set of spiritual experiences, or devotion to a particular catalog of religious rituals and ethics. Right thinking, right feeling, or right doing. While being a Christian cannot be divorced from our beliefs and behaviors, any mechanistic description like this is an inadequate frame.

As we look back through time, we discover that the label Christian was likely a derogatory tag for the emerging Jesus movement. Whereas this community tended to self-identify as followers of the Way, it was their detractors who called them Christians (meaning little Christs). But rather than being embarrassed by the slander, the first Christians adopted that label as a badge of honor as they aspired to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

Perhaps the best way, though, to come at defining Christianity is to let the Bible shape our answer. As best we can distill, becoming a Christian is fundamentally about stepping into the Christian story in response to Jesus’ invitation to believe in Him and follow Him. And first and foremost that means beginning a new relationship with God.

This is the beating heart of the Jesus movement.

From here, a new life story begins to emerge as we embrace a new community gathered around the gospel, receive from God a new identity as our foundation for self-understanding and expression, follow Jesus’ roadmap into a new way to live, and launch into a new purpose for our lives. No doubt this is all a lot to take in, as is always true of any worthy adventure. After all, stepping into the Christian story brings you into a whole new reality, as every priority in life is reframed by God’s Spirit and script.

ENDORSEMENTS

What does life mean? Where am I going? Is there a better story than the one I’m being told? If these are the questions that you’re asking, then please read Questioning Christianity by Dan Paterson and Rian Roux. This is a comprehensive, nuanced, and yet easy-to-read overview of the better story that Jesus offers all of us. This story offers us freedom, hope, and forgiveness.
— Sam Chan
Public speaker for City Bible Forum, Australia; author of Evangelism in a Skeptical World and How to Talk About Jesus (Without Being That Guy)

With warmth and wit, Dan and Rian have written Questioning Christianity to help us navigate life’s deepest questions and reflect on the possibility that Jesus offers the world real and tangible hope. Read it and share it with others—I think this book could become a classic of our time.
— Amy Or-Ewing
Bestselling author and speaker; President of the OCCA (The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics)

Dan and Rian have written a thoughtful and helpful book. As apologetic questions continue to shift with emerging generations, they give both fresh and potent answers to the longings of our world today. I am sure this will help many.
— Jon Tyson
Author of Beautiful Resistance; pastor of Church of the City, NYC