Should Christians Defend their Faith? Pt. 1

Consider this conversation:

“Don’t defend the Bible. Just let it loose.”

“But sir, the Word doesn’t profit if it isn’t mixed with faith in them that hear it?”

“Son, the Word is a two-edged sword and you just have to keep jabbing people with it.”

“But Paul affirmed God’s existence by natural revelation, moral reasoning, and even quoted philosophers. He supported supernatural revelation with reason and proof. Even the disciples had to SEE Jesus before they believed!”

“You just don’t have enough faith.”

“I do have faith. I just know some people need a reason to believe something that contradicts what they’ve always been told or what people they respect have taught them.”

“Without faith, you can’t please God! And faith doesn’t need evidence!”

Fideism. This is the teaching that belief (faith) does not need reason or proof. Fideism could be summarized by the statements, “believing without evidence” or “believing without seeing” or “believing without reasons.” Here are some examples of fideistic thinking:

  1. “I believe the Bible because it claims to be the Word of God. I don’t need evidence.”
  2. “I believe the Book of Mormon for it claims to be the Word of God. I feel it’s true.”
  3. “I believe the Koran because it claims to be the Word of God. I don’t need proof.”
  4. “I believe what the pope says because he is God’s pope. I don’t need a reason.”

Which of these statements is true? Well if you’re Christian-1, a Mormon-2, a Muslim-3, and a Catholic-4.

How can one know which belief is valid since they all claim divine authority? Should one offer reasons, ration, or evidence? Some Christians castigate questioners for “doubting” the Word of God because they desire a reason to believe it is God’s Word. Is this the way God demands all follow Him, with no proof, evidence, or reason? How can people of other faiths believe in truth if they can’t be shown why their religion is false and verify the Bible’s truthfulness?

If one were to tell a Muslim he should reject Islam because “The Bible is the Word of God, and it is because it says so inside and the Koran is false because it is not the Bible,” he would reply “well you should reject the Bible because the Holy Koran says IT is the Word of God!” Who is right? Both books claim to be the Word of God!

What is seen in this example is two people pitting their beliefs against one another. This is one of the reasons America is moving toward a post-Christian society. The world recognizes that beliefs can be separate from facts. On most college campuses youth are accepting the views of relativism because of fideistic teaching concerning religion and morality. They already feel judged and underprivileged so why should they choose to follow the white, anglo-Saxon, privileged, bigoted, misogynistic belief of Christianity over that of peaceful Hindus or Buddhists or Muslims? (I speak facetiously) Why should they believe anything at all?

Although it may take a while to work through the stereotypes of modern liberal propaganda, the reason each should believe is because Christianity is TRUE. In spite of what someone believes, the truth remains valid, and a belief not grounded in truth (no matter how deeply held) is invalid. The truth is supported by facts and verified through reason or evidence. If there is none of these, a person will have little reason to believe something is true.

For example, it seems true that “mother birds leave their eggs if they are touched by humans.” This is something widely believed, and it makes sense because the bird smells the human and is scared or put-off by the eggs. However, this is not true. How would one belief show another to be wrong? Truth trumps belief. It would seem the wrong belief has good logic concerning the scent of humans, maybe a bird didn’t come back to its eggs one time after someone touched them, so there is evidence. It could be shown though that there is evidence of eggs being tampered with and not left by mothers, the fact is that birds likely can’t even smell the humans because they don’t have a good sense of smell, and birds are often loyal to their chicks to the point of death. Also, one could support each statement by bringing in professional opinions who study and verify that “in abandonment, a destroyed nest is more likely the cause than disturbing the eggs.”

In spite of what is believed about human scent driving away birds, it is wrong. In spite of what is believed about reincarnation, the Book of Mormon, and Muhammad being a kind man, they can be shown as false or unbelievable. Christianity must also be subject to a form of verification, or it can’t be shown as more valid than the alternatives. There are expectations for evidence concerning almost everything, why would one treat the most important belief of all, that which relates to the eternal soul, any differently?

God often gave visible evidence to His servants in the Bible. He appeared to Abraham in dreams and through angels before destroying Sodom. God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave him three signs for his doubts. The angel of the Lord appeared to Joshua before the walls fell. Gideon was allowed to lay out a fleece, twice. God gave a sign to Hezekiah that he would live through his illness. Jesus performed miracles that people might believe through the miracles even if they struggled to believe His words. If real faith is believing without seeing then the disciples were never saved. They had to see the resurrected Christ before they believed. This is also true for Paul the Apostle. Even John the Baptist doubted the very Christ he proclaimed would come and sent his followers to question Christ. Jesus told his followers to share with him the miracles they saw. Jesus showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs. John wrote that they were testifying of things “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled.” Thomas had to see and feel to believe and Jesus gave him that privilege. 

Often when Christians are questioned about the Bible’s divine authorship they point to prophecy as evidence. This is a proof of their faith. It is a validation. But if asked about canonicity they reply that a person just needs to have faith the Bible is accurate. When a person desires to defend their Bible translation they will point to the historical proof that the translators used the right method or correct manuscripts or were more intelligent and educated than other translators. Yet, when someone desires historical evidence for the resurrection or gospels this is wrong and an unbelieving heart. Why is this inconsistency so prevalent?

As has been shown, the God of the Bible does not expect man to believe Him with no evidence. He has given creation, a conscience, and a resurrection verified by written records in the gospels, eye witnesses, and alluded to by historians. To not believe what there is good reason or proof to believe is an evil heart of unbelief. Israel was shown plagues, the red sea crossing, and water from a stone to believe that God would carry them into the promised land! Yet, they didn’t trust what they knew about God. They rejected what they knew, this is evil.

In helping someone to faith (strong confidence in something or someone) in Christ it is not unbiblical to give them reasons and proof. Some need more evidence than others (Thomas, Moses, Gideon). Christians can not see all that they believe (Hebrews 11:1), but that does not mean there is no evidence to support their beliefs! The wind can’t be seen, but there is evidence to believe in it, so it is with God.

May believers in Christ not shortchange God’s preserved Word, shun honest questions and keep people from coming to Christ by stubbornly expecting people to have a faith to know God that He does not require. 1Peter 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

Here is a link to answer one main objection concerning a more sure Word: http://www.tobiengland.com/2016/02/a-more-sure-word.html

 

God and the Gospel

What would evidence of God do to change your life?

What would change if your eternal destiny depended on what you do with this information?

 

For centuries intelligent men believed the universe was eternal.  Now we know an eternal universe is impossible and unscientific. An eternal universe means everything that could have happened would already have been done before the present moment since the past is infinite (confusing, right?). So, we are either living in the past, or time is infinitely cyclical and everything we’re doing has already happened. Recent discoveries in science declare that the universe had an absolute beginning. What could have caused the beginning and existence of our universe?

The cause was likely volitional (willed/logical) because the foundations of mathematics and morality are definite/absolute; It is always wrong to torture children; Two plus two always equals four. Mathematics seems to be implanted on nature and morality in our minds. The only thing that can comprehend mathematics and philosophy is a conscious entity, a mind. Therefore, it would seem that only a conscious entity could have created math and morality.

The cause must have been incredibly powerful. For example, “If all the sunlight energy striking the Earth’s surface in Texas alone could be converted to electricity, it would be up to 300 times the total power output of all the power plants in the world!” There are billions of trillions of stars in the universe! The sun isn’t even the biggest star! That is an unfathomable amount of energy to exist spontaneously and then organize into planets, stars, and galaxies.

The cause of the universe must be outside of time and space. “Nothing” cannot bring something into existence, because “nothing” is, well, nothing! The progenitor of creation must exist outside of the creation itself. Logically, the universe was caused by a creative free will who is powerful,  supernatural, outside of time, and infinite.

If you’re thinking that this cause sounds a lot like God, you are thinking like millions of other people on the earth. Ancient philosophers (Aristotle), without the use of sacred texts, have come to the conclusion that God exists necessarily. The apostle Paul wrote, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse…” (Romans 1:20).  The Wall Street Journal shared an article that Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.

It is not just under-educated men and women who believe in God. Doctors, physicists, cosmologists, rocket scientists, and people of any other respectable position believe in a Creator. Even atheists must remind themselves that “Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”

In order to deny the existence of God, one must have all knowledge in the universe. Men must suppress what seems to be an obvious and inherited belief, that God created the world, in order to be dogmatic about atheism. So, what does this have to do with you?

The moral compass we are born with and which governs most societies ties us directly back to God. Each society has a list of things which are “wrong” and punishments for the crimes. We do not trust or respect those who lie, cheat, steal and abuse their power. These wrong doings are called sins. Although all sin, we tend to be harder on others than ourselves.

The greatest cause of suffering on earth is the pain we cause each other through selfishness and hate. Galatians 5:14-15 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. Every selfish deed is a breaking of God’s law of love.

Similar to man’s judicial system, every selfish action, thought, or word caught by God will be punished. Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. This a fearful thought. God, who created mankind, will also judge those who inflict pain on His creation. When you wrong another person, you are wronging God.

He is angered by how we treat each other with such disregard and impatience and hate. Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. A God who is not angry at evil would not be loving on the victim. When we die, we will give account to God.

Yet, God is merciful. He came to earth robed with the flesh of man to teach us how to live and love. He came to save us from hell. Jesus, God in the flesh, said,

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45)

This is an impossible standard to live up to. We are all guilty before God, but He made a way for us to be forgiven. In His love, God delivered Jesus as the scapegoat for our sins.

Here is a prophecy about Jesus written years before His birth:

Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity (sin) of us all.

God placed all of your sins on Jesus as He was being crucified. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:24) Jesus wants to take your sin, and make you a new person.

He died on the cross, but rose three days later to prove He was God and to show that He had the power to forgive our sin and give us the gift of heaven. Jesus appeared to hundreds of people after His resurrection and they preached this gospel truth to the rest of the world: Romans 3:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus offers you a gift of forgiveness, and life after death with God who loves you.

This gift must be received. Like all gifts, it is not earned or deserved. It is given freely out of love. No one will be in heaven because of their own goodness. We are all selfish, but we can all be saved through Jesus. He has done everything necessary through His sinless life to satisfy God’s righteousness, and by taking your sins in His body on the cross He has paid for your badness. If you are willing to admit you are a sinner, simply believe that Jesus has saved you by dying with your sins in Himself and rose from the dead to prove His deity, then He promises you can be forgiven.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.fullsizeoutput_1c

Believe on Jesus. Just trust that He has saved you and rely on His promise of everlasting life. He is the only one who can save you. He will not lie. When you believe on Him you are given the gift of spiritual life. Once you have trusted in your heart that Jesus has saved you, God sends the Holy Spirit to empower you to do what is righteous.

Pray and ask God to help you live a good life which is pleasing to the One who died to set you free from your selfishness. Welcome to the family of God!