Thanks to the wonders of autoplay, I found myself listening to a podcast with which I was unfamiliar. The algorithm at least understood I like to listen to things with the words “church” and “Christ” in the title. When the host announced the title of the show as, “Why You Can Trust Your Bible?” I was ready to listen. The podcast is called Think Deeper and yes, it is produced by two preachers from the institutional branch of churches of Christ, Jack Wilke and Brad Harrub. Good job algorithm! It at least got me in the ballpark1.
What really got my attention was their conversation around the question, “Should we use Christian evidences as a sword or a shield?” “Christian evidences” or “Apologetics” is defined by Apologetics Press as, “the study of evidences for Christianity—namely the evidences that substantiate the three “pillars” of Christian faith: the existence of God; the inspiration of the Bible; and the deity of Christ2.” I am a big proponent of a measure of this teaching. It can shore up the faith of Christians who seem deluged by fiery opponents of Christ who make wild claims about God, his Son, and his book. A baseline of knowledge about the scientific evidence for: the existence of Jesus as a real person, the record of intelligence within Creation, and the unequalled validity of the Bible will keep people from being set on their heels. It works as a shield for the heart against accusations like, “Did you know the Bible has over 4,000 errors?” or “Did you know the Bible was written after the fact to produce a myth about Jesus?”
With just an introduction into the history of the Bible, you will quickly realize there are over 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament in the original language (Greek). So, 4,000 errors made copying the text (spelling errors, repeats, omissions) would be less than one mistake per manuscript. Combine all those written copies of the word of God and you can rest assured, we have as close to the original, inspired word of God as possible.
What really got my juices flowing was this idea of “using apologetics as an offensive weapon for convicting an unbeliever.” The point was made that, if someone is converted because of scientific evidence, there is always the danger, a different set of arguments will cause them to lose their faith. This is where we get down to the brass tacks.
At some point, you have to make the leap of faith to become a Christian. In fact, faith in God is what pleases our Maker (Hebrews 11:6). No amount of carefully documented facts will persuade the hard heart set on unbelief. His path is scattered with uncovered seed which Satan gladly devours like a hungry bird (Luke 8:5, 12).
God intentionally uses the story of love contained in the life, humiliating death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus to separate the believing wheat from the hard-hearted chaff (Romans 1:1-4, 16-17; I Peter 1:17-21; 2:21-25). God purposely used, “what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;”-I Corinthians 1:27, “so that, “your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”-I Corinthians 2:5.
A working knowledge of apologetics will provide a hedge of protection to our hearts and our faith. It is meat for the mature, “for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”-Hebrews 5:14. “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”-Ephesians 4:14.
Lord, I believe you are the crucified Christ and resurrected Son of God!