Thursday Jul 02 2009
How much evidence will help you believe?
By: Tim Pickard, Auburn Sovereign Grace Fellowship
The gospel, the message of Christianity, is packed full of unverifiable historical claims and supernatural assertions. Consider the following: • The Bible claims that God created the world for his own purposes and praise • That man’s first parents rejected God’s rule, sending all of mankind into sin and a position of guilt before God • That God promised and then sent a Messiah, the God-man Jesus Christ who died as a substitute for sinners • That those who place their faith in and rely fully on Jesus and his work are forgiven by God and reconciled to him as his children • That God will one day judge all men, gathering his children to live joyfully with him forever and sending unrepentant sinners to endure eternal conscious punishment and separation from him. This is the essence of Christianity and yet I would submit that, while there is evidence to support these claims, airtight proof does not exist (not in this life at least). While I believe the Christian worldview is supremely reasonable, I do not believe that the evidence for it is undeniable. In fact there are thousands of people here in Auburn who serve as living proof that the arguments and evidence for the message of the Bible are in fact deniable. Perhaps you are one of those people. Maybe you see yourself as someone who needs absolute proof to believe something. As a product of this scientific age your motto is, “I have to see it to believe it.” Here is my first question for you: How much evidence would you need to believe? What kind of evidence would be convincing to you? I would propose that a lack of evidence isn’t the ultimate barrier to belief. The ultimate barrier is a refusal to accept the evidence God has clearly given, his words as found in the Bible. Jesus affirmed this idea in Luke 16:31 where, while telling a parable, he states, “if they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” The people in Jesus’ parable did not need more evidence. They needed to give attention to the word of God. The Bible is God’s chosen evidence. It is his primary method of testifying to the truthfulness of the Christian message. This brings me to my second question: Have you ever carefully read the Bible for yourself? My challenge to you is to do just that. Start in the gospel of Mark or the Epistle to the Romans and observe what it reveals about who God is, what mankind is like, the person of Jesus and what it means to follow him (if you don’t have a Bible contact our church and we will gladly provide you with one). You might find that the Bible presents a compelling explanation for life, meaning, and history. You might find yourself convinced that there is nothing better than knowing your Creator through the free gift of grace in Jesus Christ. You might just find yourself believing. Tim Pickard is pastor/elder at Auburn Sovereign Grace Fellowship.