The truth of Christianity is worth defending. Francis Schaeffer, Nancy Pearcey, and others have sounded a warning call, alerting us to the reality that Christians often don’t see their faith as logical, defensible, or even true. Our modern society has told us that if it can’t be proven scientifically, then it’s not true. Christians have a poor track record in responding to this type of bullying. We have effectively said, “Okay fine. Christianity is not literally true. But it’s true in my life, and it gives me hope and meaning.”
This is a ridiculous statement, but it needs to be made: If Christianity is true, then it’s true. Schaeffer even felt the need to coin the term “true truth” because Christians had grown so accustomed to seeing the truth of their faith as secondary, as illogical, as basically made up.
But if God really made this world, everything in it, and everything about it, then doesn’t it make sense that he could accurately describe the world he made? So when the Bible says something as though it’s true, we should expect that thing to be true in the real world. When God says that people are sinful, for example, we should be able to look at the people around us and see that what God says is true. When God says that he created a world that is beautiful and expertly crafted, we should be able to look at the world and see that truth confirmed. When God says that sin is destructive, well, you get the picture.
So because God’s truth is true, I believe the Christian has a responsibility to defend that truth to those who call it a lie. This doesn’t mean that the Christian life is about winning arguments, but we shouldn’t just roll over every time someone says that the Bible is obviously untrue.
Tim Keller talks about “defeater beliefs.” Every non-Christian holds defeater beliefs, which are basically little things that people believe that allow them to see Christianity as “clearly untrue.” For example, start talking about the Bible to a non-Christian, and you’ll probably hear something to the effect of, “Everyone knows the Bible has been changed over the years” or “The Bible contains a lot of errors, so it’s not reliable.” These are defeater beliefs, and they allow a person to excuse himself from seriously considering the claims of Christianity.
Keller says that we should deconstruct these defeater beliefs as a means of removing obstacles to the gospel. So we argue back, explaining that the Bible is, in fact, reliable; and if we are able to deconstruct this belief, the person has to choose to wrestle with the claims of Christianity or pull out another defeater belief to cling to.
By the way, defending the faith in this manner will require studying—work—on your part. But God’s truth is worth it. Christianity is true in every sense of the term, and there are answers out there for every question that you might encounter. We should never be afraid of honest questions, and we can have the confidence that God’s truth holds up under intense scrutiny, though we will all encounter situations where we have to say, “I don’t know, I’ll have to look into that.”
Paul calls us to destroy those lofty opinions that get raised against God and his truth:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”(2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
For tomorrow: why we can’t argue people to Christ.