Why Share Reasons to Believe?

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Why Share Reasons?

Maybe you’ve encountered well-meaning Christians who look down on the practice of providing evidence for the truth of Christianity. I used to get that a lot. How should you respond?

Just Point to Jesus

What’s his example look like? Turns out, Jesus provided evidence—reasons to believe—in many different ways. For example, Luke said Jesus “gave many convincing proofs” of his resurrection from the dead (Acts 1:3).

In To Everyone an Answer, Craig Hazen noted:

Jesus demonstrated the truth of His message and his identity over and over again, using nearly every method at his disposal, including miracle, prophecy, godly style of life, authoritative teaching and reasoned argumentation.

Remember the healing of the paralytic in Mark 2? First, Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.” But then, he actually performed a miracle and healed the man. Why? Because you can’t tell if his forgiving the guy really meant he was forgiven by God. Without the miracle, observers would be left there going, “Well? Did it work? Can anyone else besides God really forgive sins?”

Jesus gave them good reasons to believe he had divine authority to forgive sins–and, by implication, that he was the Messiah. His audience knew the signs of the Messianic era: the blind would see, the deaf would hear, the lame would walk, and the mute would shout (Isaiah 35:5-6). And one of these things just happened right there in front of them.

This approach seems consistent with how God presented evidence in the Old Testament. Remember Elijah’s Mount Carmel showdown against Baal’s prophets in 1 Kings 18? This miraculously proved Yahweh was the true diety. I also love how God issued a bold challenge to his enemies: “Present your case. Set forth your arguments” (Isaiah 41:21-22).

Christian Objections to Apologetics

I’ve been surprised to hear believers say things like, “Apologetics doesn’t work. People won’t repent no matter how much evidence you give them.”  Really? Then why did Jesus say this?

Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes (Matt. 11:20-21).

In light of these things, why shouldn’t we provide evidence for the truth of Christianity? What are we supposed to do instead? Let’s follow Jesus’ example. Let’s give people reasons to believe.

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Defending a Defense of the Faith

Learn to answer “Christian” objections to apologetics by exploring Craig Hazen’s chapter, “Defending a Defense of the Faith” in this book. To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview

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7 Responses to “Why Share Reasons to Believe?”

  1. Aaron June 30, 2010 7:22 PM
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    Maybe not all, but some who say evidence does not convert are probably saying that it is not the evidence but the Gospel that changes the heart. People are not changed by evidence they are changed by the message of the Gospel. Evidence should lead to the Gospel. Evidence and miracles are only general revelation. Special revelation is needed to give meaning to the evidence and miracles. For example, if we give evidence for the resurrection and someone is convinced, the next question is “if Jesus is who He says He is, what must I do to be saved?” Then we share the Gospel. I think the above verse you mention from Matt 11 speaks very clearly about God sovereignty in salvation. God knew what Tyre and Sidon needed to lead them to repentance but He chose not to give it to them. Evidence is important. When people are asking questions or for evidence we should give it to them. But it should all lead to and be sprinkled with the message of the Gospel.

  2. Mikel June 30, 2010 11:03 PM
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    Great thoughts, Aaron.

    If the objection’s that mere evidence–in isolation–can’t turn a rebellious heart towards God, then I’d agree. As I often say, “When people come to faith, it’s always a God thing.” Without God, absolutely no one comes to faith.

    But it’s the same with the gospel. Couldn’t an atheist be a New Testament scholar and articulate the saving good news without a commitment to Jesus as Lord? Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, the mere informational content of the gospel is powerless to save anyone, too.

    Still, I understand where you’re coming from. And I usually don’t spend a lot of time arguing non-essentials. I concentrate on the content of the gospel. Ultimately, you can’t just believe. You’ve got to believe in something. And the object of this belief should be Jesus—the center of the saving good news. Thanks for the comment, Aaron!

  3. Aaron July 1, 2010 1:35 PM
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    Amen! I totally agree. I originally included a statement in my first post that said “If God chooses to save the person when they hear the message of the Gospel the they will believe.” But I didn’t want to get into that topic on your blog. Holy Spirit must be working for someone to believe. The soil of the heart must be prepared by Holy Spirit otherwise the message of the Gospel falls on a dead man. Great clarification Mikel.

  4. Daniel July 1, 2010 8:32 PM
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    I would think it be almost evident that reason is integral to Christianity; Christ is called the Logos afterall.

  5. Mikel July 1, 2010 9:57 PM
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    Interesting point, Daniel. Even before the incarnation, Heraclitus (a Greek philosopher) already used the term logos to refer to divine reason—a perfect “word” for the introduction of John’s gospel (no pun intended).

  6. John Hosten April 16, 2012 10:08 PM
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    Excellent Mikel (and Aaron, good follow-up points). I appreciate the read. This is what always gets me – those who don’t think Apologetics help – don’t they see the works of Paul, Peter, etc. in spreading the gospel early on – they gave reasons saying that they were eye-witnesses to the events! This is evidence right off the bat. Now, of course, their message led up to the truth of Christ and such, but the fact that how they went about the delivery of their messages…

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