The Good Book. That’s what it used to be called. You will still hear the Bible called that here and there but the phrase is not as common anymore. Just one generation ago, the Bible had an authority that even many non-Christians generally respected. After all, it was the Good Book.
But times have changed.
I remember a nice lady that used to cut my hair for six dollars. Not a solon, not a chain. The kind of place few people know about where you never have to wait in line and life slows way down as soon as you walk in. That’s why I enjoyed going there. This woman was a Christian but she didn’t really know why. She couldn’t tell you why Christianity was true or why another religion was false. She didn’t care either. She was brought up Christian and that’s that.
Her teenage son was different however. He did not claim to be a Christian despite his upbringing and his mother’s constant encouragement. "Just because it says so in the Good Book", was not good enough for him. He needed a little more to go on than than "just because".
She told me that he would ask hard questions like, “Mom, who wrote the Bible? How do you know that it’s true? How do you know that some other religion isn’t better? How do you know that there is even a God in the first place?”
Her confident reply as she cut my hair, “I tell him the Bible is true because it just is and you should believe it too.”
Her answer made me cringe inside. I don’t blame her son for not believing.
As Christians, we must be prepared to show and defend the validity of what we believe. If we want others to think what we have to say about God is both true and vital for them, we must provide solid answers. They deserve it.
God changes hearts, and conversion can never be reduced to academics alone, but God uses people’s minds to do His work. Remember Paul in Athens and how he used his knowledge of the Athenian culture? (Acts 17:16-34). He didn’t just start quoting the Scriptures and telling the people they needed to have blind faith. He was prepared and reasoned with them.
Here are three commonly asked questions we ought to be prepared to give an answer:
How do you know that God exists?
How do you know the Bible is true?
Why can’t all religions be true?
If you’re not sure what you would say, know then that you’re not alone and being prepared to give an answer isn’t rocket science. Even having one or two sentences to say about each of these questions is a solid start and often all you will need in conversations:
How do you know that God exists? When I look around at creation, it’s hard to believe that all of it just arose randomly out of nothing. But if you’re an atheist, you are led to believe just that.
How do you know the Bible is true? Unlike any other book, the Bible makes numerous prophecies that were later fulfilled. It has also proved to be historically accurate in its details.
Why can’t all religions be true? When you have two or more statements that contradict each other, they cannot all be right (i. e. 2+1=4, 2+2=4, 2+3=4). At times, the various world religions contradict each other in what they claim. (i.e. “Jesus was God”, “Jesus was just a man”, “Jesus never really existed”). Basic reasoning suggests that they just can’t all be right.
Simple statements like these help show that being a Christian is not a matter of blind or misplaced faith. Our faith is rooted in history—actual events that took place and impacted humanity. Reason, history, philosophy and science can and should be used to help defend what we believe.
When it comes to belief in God and the Bible, “Just Because”, is an answer no Christian should give.
“You just have to have blind faith”, will not help people with their questions about Jesus.
“I was just brought up that way” should not be the sole basis for any faith.
We believe because it is true. And we are called to defend those beliefs with intelligence, grace and humility.
Pastor Adam Barton