Listening to Cold Case Christianity (6/27/2014) podcast J. Warner Wallace truly made me think on the subject, that is what I like about his style…he questions your belief and challenges you to reason why you believe what you believe. All too often we, as Christians, do not truly understand why we believe what we believe. More often than not, we cannot truly express, verbally, what it is that we believe, nor are we able to defend the belief we have.
I have read two of J. Warner Wallace’s books Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace, and God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe by J. Warner Wallace. Both of which opened me and my mind to things which I would not have seen or thought of before. After reading his books I began listening to his podcast show. While at work I will listen to it for roughly 6 hours, 5 days a week. And I have only made it to January of 2015, thus far.
As mentioned so often in his books and podcast shows, Peter told us to “…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV) I was turned on to, inspired toward, really, by Ravi Zacharias, William Lane Craig, Scott M. Sullivan, Michael Behe, Michael Liacona, and so many others. While building up to a voracious reading habit.
As Christians, we should all eventually come to the point where we will seek more information, more knowledge to aid us in our explanation of what we believe, a passion to speak on the subject as to why we believe what we believe, and finally to not argue but rather defend our position as to how we came to such a belief. Oddly enough, all too many will just brush off someone as being a heathen or pagan who challenges their beliefs without ever attempting to justify or explain their beliefs. We are mandated to:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you… ~Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. ~Mark 16:15-16 NKJV
And we are reminded, with equal importance, why we must warn those around us:
When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. ~Ezekiel 3:18 NKJV
I like the phase which J. Warner Wallace uses that we should not strive to be million dollar apologists, but rather we need to have a million 1 dollar apologists. In that, he means that we need to be just regular people speaking to others about Christ and salvation! Speaking anywhere and everywhere without fear. Why no fear? Because we will be chastised and ridiculed by everyone for the expression of our faith. Holding to the faith of Jesus Christ.
I heard from my mother-in-law, who had gone into a popular sporting goods store where a Muslim sales clerk had refused to deal with a customer because he bore a cross around his neck. The manager who handled the transaction stated to the man that he could have tucked “that thing” under his collar. And that is just one example of how Christians are being ridiculed. Sadly it is to happen, and it will get worse. Although, I pray ardently that it will not be as it once was under Nero, who used the Christians as human torches to light the roads in Rome.
I firmly believe, based upon scriptural truths, that Jesus was an evidentialist…He did not promote Blind Faith, as so many seem to think Christianity is based upon. Consider the following:
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”~John 10:37-38 NKJV
Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20:24-29 NKJV
…And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”… ~Matthew 11:1-19 NKJV
There will always be those people who are skeptical and questioning everything, because they want to learn and because some do not believe and will never believe. However, there are those who will ask in order to poke holes into one’s argument(s). That is why I am a firm believer in apologetics and it’s studies, to prepare our ranks with the ability to defend your position as to why you believe what it is that you believe. There are those who believe upon seeing, but there are those who believe without seeing simply because they trust God and His Word and promises! It does not mean they are stupid or foolish, in fact, they have an extraordinary amount of faith. People such as myself who were indoctrinated into their original faith…simply because they were told to believe just does not hold water with me…especially when questions are asked without any truthful answers. A sad way to start a relationship, don’t you think? I would urge all my friends to follow my lead and seek out the answers to the questions you hold dearly and be able to defend your faith, not argue. Present your case, your studies, lay your knowledge bare before your detractors and show them you are a man, or woman, of real faith. No matter how you got to this point…you can answer all your detractors’ questions. The real problem is whether or not they will accept those answers you give them.
We each have a gift given to us by God, we also through that gift glorify our Creator. But regardless of your gift, we must all be prepared to answer the questions presented to us. I mentioned it in a previous blog post and I also know that J. Warner Wallace had mentioned it in several of his own podcasts, that our kids are sent off to colleges and universities to the wolf den. Roughly 16% of those who go in Christian graduate as Atheists, Agnostic at best. These are sad statistics which are based upon the fact that many of us as parents do not do a good enough job upholding our Christian beliefs and studies, as well as, talking to our kids on a regular basis.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents even though I had my differences with them. They would take me and my siblings to our religious studies on Wednesday nights, we went to church on Sunday, etc. But we never truly talked until long into my adulthood life. My mother wouldn’t carry on a conversation much past 5 minutes, once I was able to speak with her up to 20 minutes…for her that was Guinness Book material! My father was a bit different, when I was a baby Christian I held a very mild conversation with him when he was going through radiation treatments for his cancer in 1989. Which he succumbed to the battle about 3-4 months later. We never had a real conversation over beliefs and religion, as well as, salvation and Christ. After all, religion and politics were those two subjects you just didn’t have discussions over. I had some light conversations with my mother probably a few times over the last 10 years of my mother’s life. She also succumbed to her battle with cancer in 2012.
So long as you have breath in you, a heartbeat, and are able to speak…you can make your point. What is the absolute worse thing that can happen? Death? Feel strangely odd and out of place? What fear truly holds you back? Because it is nothing in comparison to God’s promise to sentence you to the “…lake of fire…” Now could it?? Think on that for a moment or two!
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!