Maybe you’ve encountered well-meaning Christians who look down on the practice of providing evidence for Christian truth claims. I used to get that a lot. How should you respond?
JUST POINT TO JESUS
What’s Jesus' 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.
This article first appeared here: Why Give Reasons to Believe? Copyright © 2010 by Mikel Del Rosario. All Rights Reserved.