Assure victims of error, doubts and godless teaching
These reasons for faith are for seekers and believing students who have been bombarded with godless theories aimed to destroy faith. They are not to build faith, which comes from the Holy Spirit, the Word and sacraments, but rather to expose the deceptive teaching of materialistic rationalists.
Be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, 1 Peter 3:5.
Satan’s boast (that human ears don’t hear):
You fools, I trip you up with ease!
Temptation is my expertise.
A million demons help me, too.
Such fun we find deceiving you!
Young scholar seeking wisdom, fame…
I’ll give you both and just the same
As I have given in the past.
Your fame will grow with fortune vast!
By Adam’s fall, I plunged your race
Into my grip, you hopeless case!
Your knowledge gives no hope; death reigns!
You now deserve God’s judgment pains!
Martin Luther, whom tradition says hurled a bottle of ink at the devil, introduced one of his writings about Christmas with this note:
No matter where you read in the Bible, faith is the first mystery to recognize. Faith is not believing that the story you’re reading is true as written. That does nothing for anyone. Even unbelievers can believe this Bible story about Jesus’ birth is true. Faith is not a natural work apart from God’s grace, as the Scripture clearly teaches. Rather, the right kind of faith, the kind that flows from grace and that God’s Word demands, firmly believes that Christ was born for you. His birth is yours and occurred for your benefit.
Five Kinds of Skeptics
These distinctions will help you discern which skeptics to deal with, and with which to avoid wasting time:
1. Followers of a pagan religion. Most have never heard of our Lord Jesus Christ and His work in a non-argumentative, culturally sensitive way. Relating key Bible stories, emphasizing the death and resurrection of Jesus, effectively communicates the gospel in any culture.
2. The uninformed. Many have Christian friends and even attend church but have never received Christian instruction in a way that penetrated their hearts. Their skepticism is due to ignorance. Invite them to meet with a small group that shows them love and acceptance. Let the group meet in their home, and include other seekers and new believers. Let a new believer whom you coach lead the group if possible, one with whom the others readily identify.
3. Victims of faulty teaching. Many have learned, through no fault of their own, atheistic evolution or other pseudo-sciences.
4. Hardened rebels. These turn against a moral God because of personal pride or willful refusal to repent of sins. Some embrace eastern religions with no personal God who wants to transform their hearts. God lets Satan, the ‘god of this world,’ blind their spiritual eyes. Do not waste time on close-minded people; they cannot think clearly about spiritual things. Pray for them and ask God to help them respond. If they do not, Jesus says to shake the dust from our feet (leave) and seek others who are open.
5. Attention seekers. Some people listen to the gospel but do nothing about it, because they only want attention from you. They keep bringing up the same problems or doubts, so you will spend time with them. Don’t! Feeding their warped appetite reinforces a sick side of their personality. Help them serve others or disciple other newer believers if they know Christ. Do not let them become parasites on the body of Christ, draining coaches and caregivers of valuable time. If they will not serve others, do not continue to serve them; they need counseling on a different level. Refer them to a Christian counselor.
Why are these reasons for faith so vital? In universities among the educated elite, many blindly hold to a sophisticated, arrogant form of atheism without examining Scripture and historical facts. Such willful, prejudiced ignorance is not only intellectually false but also spiritual suicide. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men.” Colossians 2:8.
Reason for Faith # 1
Experience and Answered Prayer
Experience. Believers all over the world and throughout history have experienced the transforming power and Presence of Christ in their lives, when they repent of their sins and trust Jesus for forgiveness and new life. Also, millions of believers testify to answered prayers. In many pioneer fields, conditions parallel those of the Book of Acts, where people’s worldview has no place for the Christian faith, and people cannot be argued into the kingdom of God through a rational approach. In these places, miraculous signs of God’s power and healing are the most common reason for coming to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Healing. Discover what millions of people have found – physical and spiritual wholeness through Jesus’ power. His healing gives a preview of the Kingdom of Heaven in the resurrection where there is no sin, no curse, no death and no disease. Heal with boldness in Jesus’ name, but do not demand signs, as Jesus forbade that. He does not heal and raise from the dead every person that someone prays for, or heaven would be empty!
Reason for Faith # 2
The Holy Spirit’s Witness and Renewal
Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive” John 14:16-18.
Paul also wrote, “We do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” 2 Corinthians 4:16.
Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 lists virtues that the Holy Spirit produces in believers.
Guidance by the Holy Spirit. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” Romans 8:14. Christ’s will for us is not some subjective thing to guess or vote on, but simply to do what He already plainly told us. In daily matters, if we truly love God and other people, we can do whatever we desire, because our desires will be pure. We will want to do only good, wise and just things because our love is born of the Holy Spirit.
Unwise decisions come by working alone rather than as a cohesive task force as Christ and His apostles did. Bad decisions also come from following faddish ideologies, heavy-handed organization policies and spiritually sounding traditions rather than New Testament commands.
To confirm God’s will for any serious decision, such as career planning…
Study related Bible passages.
Ask God for wisdom.
Consult godly advisors (including writings of those who lived long ago).
Look at the fields to discern if they are ripe for harvest.
Use common sense.
Question: How do I get the Holy Spirit to help me?
Answer: Do what Jesus’ disciples did to get Jesus to help them. When they had a question, they asked Him for the answer. The Holy Spirit is a Person like Jesus; you can pray to Him and ask for His help. You will sense His leading, and forbidding. In John 16:12-13, Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “He will guide you into all truth.” The Holy Spirit will never lead you to error. The Holy Spirit walks alongside us, making sure we get to the right place in our thinking and living.
Question: How can I know a spirit that is leading me is the Holy Spirit?
Answer: The Holy Spirit will never say anything bad about Jesus. He will never tell you to do something that Jesus told you not to do. There is no promise in God’s Word that the Holy Spirit would make jump up and down, shout and feel excitement; He is your teacher and guide. False spirits lead us astray. They deny that Jesus is God or that God came to earth in human flesh. “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. And those spirits who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the Spirit are not of God” (1 John 4:1-3)
The still, small voice heard around the world. The Holy Spirit awakens faith in our hearts–if we let him. Does something inside you seek a purpose to life that transcends the material world? It is the quiet voice of God! Do you long for justice? It is probably the work of the Spirit of God. Does your conscience leave you without peace in your soul? The solution, which millions have discovered, is Jesus Christ. He lives! Why do millions face death and loss of jobs to follow Jesus Christ? He lives in their hearts!
If you’ve read this far, your interest shows that the Holy Spirit of God has awakened your faith. Yield to God and enter His spiritual Kingdom as a little child; Jesus said there is no other way.
Why do people who doubted the truth of Scripture – the Holy Bible – suddenly find that its truths resonate with their deepest heart convictions? They have discovered that the ‘Spirit of Prophecy’ of Scripture is the ‘testimony’ of Jesus (Rev. 19:10). He is seen throughout the Bible (Luke 24:18-32). God’s Holy Spirit assures our hearts as He promised. The One who died as a sacrifice for our sins, rose from the dead, promised pardon and eternal life to all who trust Him, also transforms our lives to prepare us for eternity. If you are unsure of God’s forgiveness and eternal life, simply trust in Christ’s salvation. Our Lord Jesus Christ promised to ask the Father in heaven to send God’s Holy Spirit – the “Counselor” – to live in the hearts of those who trust in Him.
Filling of the Holy Spirit. What is the filling of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit fills believers to do practical, edifying and loving ministry. This list shows persons who were filled with the Holy Spirit (or received power from the Holy Spirit) and the result:
Elizabeth was filled and prophesied about Mary, Luke 1:41-42
Zechariah was filled and prophesied about Jesus’ salvation, Luke 1:67-79
Mary received power and conceived, Luke 2:35
Jesus’ disciples received power to witness for Him: Luke 24:46-49 and Acts 1:8
Disciples at Pentecost were filled and spoke other tongues about Jesus, Acts 2:4
Peter was filled and proclaimed the gospel, Acts 4: 8
The disciples were filled and spoke the word of God boldly, Acts 4: 31
The apostles received power and testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, Acts 4:33
Saul was filled and preached in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God, Acts 9: 17-20
Paul was filled and rebuked Elymas who became blind, and others believed, Acts 13: 9-12
The disciples were filled and spoke so powerfully that a many believed, Acts 13: 51 – 14:1
Paul’s readers were to be filled, overflow with hope and instruct one another, Rom. 15:13-14
Paul was filled and proclaimed the gospel of Christ where He was not known, Rom. 15:18-20
Paul spoke with the Spirit’s power and the Corinthians’ faith was strengthened, 1 Cor. 2:2-6
Ephesians, fortified by the Holy Spirit’s power, were established in love, Eph. 3:16-19
Ephesians were filled and edified one another with psalms and sacred songs, Eph. 5:18-19
Colossians were strengthened by the Holy Spirit’s to live a worthy life, Col. 1:10-11
Thessalonians, teaching in the Holy Spirit’s power, spread the gospel widely, 1 Thess. 1:4-8
Timothy received the Spirit’s power to love, be disciplined and testify boldly, 2 Tim. 1-6-8
The two witnesses in the end times will receive power to prophesy in sackcloth, Rev. 11: 3
Reason for Faith # 3.
God’s Voice in the Bible
Biblical Truth–Fulfilled prophecy and inspired instruction
Jesus said, “O foolish and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the scriptures” Luke 24:19-27.
God’s clear voice in the Bible resonates with our deepest concerns. The writings of other religions display obvious error in morals, science and social ethics, but the Bible remains unique. Consider…
- No major theological doctrine in Scripture has been proven false over the centuries, although many have tried to find serious errors. The power of the Word of God remains evident in transformed lives, families and societies. On the other hand, dozens of social and so-called scientific theories that contradict the Word of God have come and gone, leaving suffering, death and disillusionment in their wake.
- Even though written over many centuries long ago, the Bible remains the most reliable book on earth for solving the problems of sin, injustice, family tensions, business abuses, bad government, church life and ethical concerns. There is no way this could be possible without the writers being inspired by God.
- Hundreds of prophecies and prophetic types in Scripture authenticate its divine origin. A ‘type’ is a person or thing in the Old Testament that reflects a New Testament truth in a way that the old writers could never have imagined. They had to have been guided by God. It is as though little children cut small pieces of colored paper at random but they fall on the floor forming a clear portrait of Jesus carrying a lame lamb in His arms. Psalm 22:14-22, for example, foretold Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection:
I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.
Reason for Faith # 4
Biological Facts Reveal a
The amazing complexity of life forms and their dependency on one another requires a purposeful, powerful and intelligent Designer. Our ability to reason, make moral choices, create and appreciate beauty requires Mind, something that transcends by far the blind, purposeless, random, mutation-driven forces of nature.
The Origin of Life. Life and the many things that sustain it point to a powerful, purposeful and intelligent creator. Fossil records and honest biological research point not to evolution but the sudden emergence of fully developed species. To make it appear that evolution accounts for all life and civilization, many proponents have falsified facts and taught as ‘science’ theories that overlook proven truths. Also, as they describe “progression” in species’ development, they gradually attribute purpose to the process, making evolution itself a kind of god.
Consider: No fossil record has been found for the evolution of even one species. Complex molecules and symbiotic cell life defy purely natural explanation. Random mutations are almost infinitely more destructive than constructive. Mathematical odds against purely natural evolution are staggering. To prolong for eons the process of mutation to allow for the ‘survival of the fittest’ only multiplies the deteriorating forces exponentially. The more time we add, the more the forces of destruction do their work. Destructive forces are almost infinitely greater than random, accidental changes that make for orderly progress and development. Atheistic evolutionists assume that blind nature works countless billions of miracles. This is gross superstition at its pagan worst. The history of human thought warns us of its treachery. The theory of evolution does not rest on scientific foundations but on the same old type of philosophical speculation that produced all false religions and all destructive economic systems.
The human mind is a miracle. You reason logically, discern moral truth and appreciate beauty. However, mindless, natural, random forces cannot account for reason, morality or beauty! Never! A gale blowing leaves on a lawn could never arrange them to spell a beautiful poem like Psalm 139, which says . . .
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body…
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they’d outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.
Reason for Faith # 5
History Authenticates the Faith
Jesus said to them, “Therefore every teacher who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom things new and old” Matthew 13:52.
Throughout history, governments that attacked Christians have brought untold misery, despair and death on their people. Examples: the Roman Empire in the first three centuries A.D., Muslim invaders of the Dark Ages, several inquisition, Nazi Germany, the USSR, North Korea, Albania and Indonesia. In modern times, governments that officially embraced atheism have brought misery and have quickly self-destructed. The existence of Israel and the Church bear witness to the historical events that led to their origin. Unlike all other religions, whose dogmas originated with visions growing out of extensive meditation and dreams, all major doctrines of our Bible grow out of historical facts. These include…
- the disobedience of the first man,
- a great flood,
- Abraham’s pilgrimage and faith,
- the slavery of his descendents in Egypt,
- their miraculous rescue, the giving [and breaking] of the law,
- the kingdom and its fall,
- the birth, miracles, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus,
- the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to give birth to the church.
The first real civilizations in all parts of the world rose within about 1500 years or so, which would have been impossible had they all evolved separately over countless millennia as some skeptics presume. Mankind–what we would call real human beings, intelligent and social, with a soul capable of relating to God and embracing divine truth–is of historically recent origin.
The lore of many primitive societies retains accounts of creation — an Adam type who defies deity to doom the race, a flood and a family protected from it in a boat. Archeological discoveries continue to affirm the authenticity of Scripture.
Reason for Faith # 6
The Universe and Cosmology
Show a Grand Design
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands, Psalm 19:1
The Grand Design. The number of conditions that have to be just right to sustain life in our cosmos is staggering – just the right amount of water, air, and mixture of elements, the right amount of heat, the right amount of change in weather to allow for circulation of air and water. The list is almost endless. The only answer to this marvel of and almost infinite number of just right conditions is that we have an all-powerful, all-intelligent, purposeful Creator. Observations of radiation and many other factors in outer space confirm the fact of a moment of creation (call it the ‘big bang’ if you want), that confirms the account of creation in Genesis. How old is the universe? The Genesis account states that time as we know it on earth did not start until the 4th ‘day’ of creation (Gen. 1:14-19); therefore, honest interpretation of Scripture requires an unstipulated time period during the first three ‘days’ of creation.
Reason for Faith # 7
Social Benefits from Strong, Prolonged Christian Influence
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men… You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven, Matt. 5:13-16.
Christianity works! History proves repeatedly that Christians are the ‘salt of the earth’… Where Christ has influenced families and societies, people consistently enjoy far better quality of life. It reaches even those ‘neighbors’ and descendants who do not believe but share in the blessings.
Education is better. Where Christians set the pace first for valuing truth, education has come to the fore. Christians first brought education to the people in most well developed societies.
Business is better. Christians have been “light for the world” [Matthew 5:13-14]. Through their influence, men fulfill contracts honestly; the economy is stronger.
Health is better. Like the Good Samaritan, Christians have introduced into nearly all societies standards for better health care. For example, they have built the first hospitals and universities in most developing countries.
Science advances. Where men believe in one God, society embraces universal, absolute truths. This makes objective science possible. Few advances in science have come from pagan cultures. In Hindu societies, one may believe just about, whatever he wants; one’s empty meditation and purposeless devotion make it real in his mind. The resulting lack of absolute truths has weakened their sciences and economy.
Government is more just (never perfect). Christians seeking justice become ‘salt of the earth’ [Matthew 5:13-14]. Through their influence, government is fairer and shows more concern for the weak and oppressed. Christians have taken the lead to fight injustices. They set the moral standards needed for a happier, freer life. They led the struggle to end mot social abuses such as slavery, ruthless totalitarian domination, racial discrimination and many other evils. We know the misery that Communism brought to mankind, with its purely rational approach to social development. Christian leaders in Eastern Europe led the bloodless revolution. They inspired those who tore down the shameful iron curtain.
Women are respected. Millions of Muslim and Hindu women suffer abuse. Many are given a shamefully low place in society. This misery is due mainly to the teaching of the Koran and Hindu writings. In societies where Christians have exerted influence, women are respected. In Christ there is neither male nor female [Galatians 3:28].