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Life and Religion

Alexander explores the "musts" of Christianity
Charlotte pastor pens book on the necessities of a true Christian lifestyle
Published Monday, June 17, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

Bishop Claude Alexander Jr.

A life in Christ is one of many possibilities. However, it's not about what you can do. It's about what you must do.

That is the concept behind “Necessary Christianity,” a new book by Bishop Claude Richard Alexander Jr., senior pastor of The Park Church in Charlotte.

So what does the book say a true Christian must do? According to Alexander, it means yielding to the will of God to live by divine assignment, not personal preference.

“There are many things that I may like to do, want to do and may even be good at doing, but none of those mean that those are things that I should be pursuing,” he said.

“It is only the assignment that God makes on my life that I should pursue. That means that I have to be willing to believe that God knows what’s best for me, wants what’s best for me... and knows how that is best achieved in my life.”

Alexander said “Necessary Christianity” challenges the post-modern sense that a life in Christ is all about choice, personal preference and entitlement.

“Our world is so option oriented that it is hard to see the path we must take if we are to be the true children of God,” wrote Bishop Walter S. Thomas Sr. in the foreword.

Thomas also warns that “Necessary Christianity” is not the book for those experiencing problems and looking to Jesus for a quick fix.

“Anyone who says the Christian life is easy is absolutely wrong,” he wrote. “It is hard work and hard work that begins with a decision. The “I Must” of Jesus let us know let us know the cost of fighting our way through this maze of life and being faithful to God.”

Alexander said a life in Christ is shaped and influenced by the teachings and example of Jesus, whom he said lived with a sense of urgency, diligence and purpose.

“What this book does is examines some statements that Christ makes about his own life and his understanding of life,” said Alexander. “In the gospels, I noticed that Jesus made certain statements throughout about himself and about the Christian life [where] he used the word ‘must.’ He speaks of things of necessity, of obligation and of accountability.”

Alexander said the “must” statements provide a blueprint for Christian living.

For example, in Luke 2:49 when a 12-year-old Jesus said “I must be about my Father’s business,” Alexander said the statement demonstrates that Jesus understood there was not only purpose to his birth but his life and living.

“That’s important for people to know,” he said. “It is important for you to live and be about something that is positive. This space that you occupy on the earth is not just for you to occupy but for you to fill it with something meaningful and something lasting.”

“Necessary Christianity” is Alexander’s first book. He dedicated it to his late brother, Robert A. Smith Jr., who died from cancer last year at age 39.

“One of the things that he always wanted me to do was write a book,” said Alexander. “So one of the ways that I have sought to honor him is writing.”

Alexander said he hopes the book helps readers gain clarity on God’s will and purpose for their lives. He also hopes readers will feel a sense of urgency not to regard God's will as a mere suggestion but a necessary truth to follow.

“In doing that they will experience a more fulfilled life in God,” he said. “It won’t take away from them, it will add to them.”

For more information, visit www.upbc.org or call (704) 392-1681.


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