Recently a man wrote to our behind-the-scenes mailbox asking a very profound, albeit a bit sarcastic, question (detailed below). Now the brief imaginary scenario below actually brings up to Christians a valid question: Why Should I Choose Christianity?
Submitted by Jerry K: “Please convince me!”
Jerry’s comment: Once there was a young man in search of God. In his pilgrimage he first met a Christian minister who told him that if he didn’t accept Jesus, he would suffer in hell throughout eternity. This didn’t sound like a message of love so he continued on and met a Sunni Muslim who told him that if he didn’t accept Sunni’s Allah he would die and suffer for eternity in hell. He continued on and met a Shia Muslim, a Mormon, and a Roman Catholic, all of whom told him the same thing. So the young man didn’t know who to believe so he lived out his life worshiping an unknown universal god and loving his fellow people. When he died god told him that since he guessed wrong he was going to hell. “How was I to know, they all told me the same thing” asked the young man. “Tough luck,” replied god.
Now, Jerry’s question cannot be answered quickly, lightly or superficially. Indeed, countless volumes have been written on the subject over the centuries. Nothing short of a doctoral dissertation will really serve to answer the vast implications of his question. About all that one can do in this very limited setting and format is to give a brief general outline of evidences for the validity of Christianity. Other commenters may certainly join in and fill in some of the gaps and/or provide other evidences. Of course, for the hardened atheist, or the obstinate skeptic, possibly no amount of proofs will pierce the crusty shell of unbelief.
Selected Evidences for the Validity of Christ and Christianity:
Recommended Reading: “A Case for Christ,” by Lee Strobel
1. Uniqueness of the Bible: written by forty authors from eight countries over fifteen hundred years in three languages and all with a consistent and unique message of a God of love who ransomed us from our sins.
2. Old Testament prophecies fulfilled hundreds of years after the time of their writing in and through the person of Jesus Christ (over 300 by many counts). Examples: precise details of Christ’s crucifixion were written in Isaiah 52-53 and Psalm 22 (crucifixion, used as a means of capital punishment would not even exist for several hundred years to come at the point that the prophecies were made).
3. The Book of Daniel correctly predicted in detail the rise and fall of several world empires, including Rome, Greece and Persia.
4. One of the greatest “name” prophecies of Scripture was that of King Cyrus of Persia. Think of it, God prophesied through Isaiah (Isaiah 44:26-45:3) that a great leader named Cyrus would be God’s instrument to bring the Jews back to their homeland in Jerusalem and Judea nearly two hundred years before the events occurred! To prophesy generalized events which will occur is one marvelous miracle, but for the prophet actually to name the individual through whom the prophecy will be accomplished is nothing short of breathtaking! This is a situation in which Scripture really comes alive as the reader digs beyond the casual glance and compares various texts. Not only does Isaiah’s prophecy from God name the leader who would carry out the fulfillment of the prophecy, but the text (especially Isaiah 45:1-3) specifies the means by which the fulfillment was to take place: “to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him so that the gates will not be shut: . . . I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” These statements are a distinctly perspicuous reference to Cyrus’ leadership of the Medes and Persians on that fateful night in which they diverted the Euphrates River, cut the bars of iron under the walls of Babylon, and stormed the city. Secular tradition also details that the inner bronze gates were mysteriously left unlocked that night which allowed the soldiers, once through the outer wall, easy access into the heart of the city. All of these descriptions dovetail perfectly with the events of the takeover of Babylon as described by Daniel in chapter five.
5. Modern archaelogical evidences verify the authenticity of the Bible. Examples: The Nabonidus Chronicles and early cylinders (British Museum) authenticate leaders and events mentioned in Daniel. (See for one ref., Edwin Yamachi, “The Stones and the Scriptures”): Excavations have proven the veracity of the events of Joshua 11, the taking of and destruction by fire of the city of Hazor.
6. Ancient secular historians, such as Tacitus and Josephus, verify the historicity of Jesus, the crucifixion and events surrounding and including the early Christian church.
7. Ancient very early manuscript evidences (Rylands Papyrus of part of John, dating to 135 A.D.; Dead Sea Scrolls predating the Christian era by a couple of hundred years or more contain almost the entire Old Testament intact).
8. The Books of Acts and 1 Corinthians chronicle that hundreds of eyewitnesses verified the reality of the resurrected Christ Jesus. Christianity is unique in being the only religion or belief system which has a living founder!
9. Twenty centuries of Christendom validate the magnificent impact of Christ Jesus on the world.
I’ll stop for now and give others a chance to add to the list.
They don’t tell about the whole litany of rules when they are making the case for their tradition. They try and make it sound like it’s a more liturgical form, same saving grace. They rationalize it like I’m supposed to be filled with joy by the experience. I’m not convinced.
I just read HH has been “booted” off the radio station in my area for his incorrect teachings (EO teachings I assume.) If that’s the case, they need to boot off almost all their other radio teachers. Hank says the the EO church takes you back to what the early church believed and did. WRONG, it takes you back to after paganism took over the church and ruined it with mystic rites, ritualism, and false doctrine. I don’t think Hank will stay long in the EO church with all their fast days, weighed down their never ending legalistic rules for works salvation, ( I guess they threw Galatians out the window), Being in their mass services and all the smoke and ceremonies, incantations, and veneration of their icons,….on and on…and maybe, maybe if he conforms to enough of their merits and keeps enough of their rules, dogmas, doctrines, and rituals, then maybe he will think he might make it to heaven?
I do hope HH sees the huge mistake he has made.
Eastern Unorthodox phraseology is already infiltrating HH’s speach: triadic, oral tradition, theosis. Hank has quoted Augustine as saying that as God became man, man becomes God. That’s mormonism. That’s Eastern Unorthodoxy, and that’s where the modern watchamacallit church is headed.
Jason, you mention Hank Henagraaf (Orthograaf). I just recently learned about his joining the Eastern Orthodox church. I always thought he was Calvlnist leaning and spoke favorably of them. I’m not sure if he was Covenent theology, but he did disagree with the dispensationalist view. If he was Calvinist/covenant then it’s not a far step to jump to Eastern Orthodox beliefs or even the RCC. You just have to reintroduce the ceremonial doctrines back into Calvinism, compromise, compromise the “5 solas” and your right back into Orthodoxism and Catholicism.
I may just listen to HH’s “Bible Answer Man” radio show and see if he is now introducing “Orthodox” doctrines. We will see if HH is still Sola Scriptura. In EasternOrthodox doctrine the Bible is supposedly used along with traditions of their church, and the final truths are from the teaching of their bishops and patriarchs, not the Bible.
There is a website that describes an Easter service in the Orthodox church. It can take hours and hours. It said some members of the congregation will just slip outside and take smoke breaks during this boring, repetitive ordeal of a service.
It seems to me that mainstream evangelical (2017) = emergent = latter rain = zombie friendly. I seem to have come from Billy Graham defender to narrow minded in less than a year. Pretty much every movement appalls me. A nearby Baptist church has gone megachurch. The megachurch experience does not satisfy me. While the crowd is waiting for ecstasy during the music, I’m bored and waiting for it to be over. Gone were the days when I thought the loud drums could be exciting. I cannot sing along. “Repent of sins” did not used to bother me, now it irritates me. Even small groups make me claustrophobic.
I don’t know on Lee Strobel, he used to be thought of as a mainstream evangelical (we know how that goes) and his book was said to be informative (regarding the authority of the Bible, proof of the resurrection etc) but have no idea his gospel. His son I know has gone kind of emergent.
As for Bill Johnson, Bethel and Jesus Culture, they are Pharisees of the worst kind. They preach another Jesus and another gospel. They lie about God’s Word. If anyone wants to know more, here is an article I did because my daughter went to a college get together sponsored by a Bible Church in Scottsdale, one of their offshoot campuses, and the pastor mentioned Bethel, Bill Johnson and a couple others that night. When I approached him about it, he tried to just gloss it over. This is why my article came about. When he found out what kind of person he was quoting (he called the quote good), he apologized to the whole group. I knew nothing of him before that time.
Smells and bells, just like eastern unorthodox
Jesus Culture is a music group spreading false doctrine through music. From Bethal ministry.. The worship service they stand around and wait for dust to fall into the lighting then brake out in praise over the manifestation of dust..
the lead singer is a profesing phrophetess.. it gets real un scriptually weird only listened to enough to shut it down..
they got couple hit songs
Surprise, surprise. Hank Orthograaff was extremely critical of the vineyard, and Lee was one of his frequent guests. Jesus Culture = Emergent?
That’s about right Jason. further research the vinyard movement /Willow Creek / Saddelback / Woodlands church. they all apear to have ties to the vinyard movement..
Today we have Jesus Culture movement picking up and duplicating the vinyard movement but only worse..
I guess the book should have been called The Case for the Purpose Driven Life.
Jason, no idea. I haven’t read it, and don’t intend to.
Do you think the book Case for Christ has literary value, or is it a waste of time?
Lee, I am not familiar with Strobel, so I neither approve, nor disapprove of how he presents the gospel. I simply don’t know.
The original post gives me the impression that Expreacherman approves Lee Strobel. Is it possible that Lee gave all this evidence and did not repent of dead works? I hope not. Having been lead by the best evidence from history, archeology, and predictive prophecy that Jesus is who he said he is, it is necessary to believe what he said. He is necessary and sufficient for us.
the doctrine of Balaam attempts to mix the distinction between believers and unbelievers were God draws a sharp divide do not be unequally yoked .
Balaam was the first evangelical using the authority given by God before man and using it to achieve wealth and posture. there are different categories of apostasy
can believers get involved in and fall for apostasy?
I will promote thee unto very great honour,
Num 22 :17 For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.
Balak king of the Moabites recognized Balaam as a believer? As someone the God of Israel recognized as a prophet.
Could a false prophet be a believer?
Great Big Huge Mega church with several locations. Lee Strobel at Texas Location . With very nice professional website . Yet this is the best they could come up with what we believe ?
This is why Woodlands church would be large and popular they treat the saved and lost alike .
Question is that what Jesus is an Experience ?
warning false doctrine below that is so weak it is barley even doctrine but a trap for a feel good philosophy:
Our mission is to help people experience Christ rather than man’s creation of religion, so they can grow strong in Christ and take the Christ experience to the world. We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, that He loves you unconditionally and has a plan and a purpose for your life.
Where does Lee Strobell stand on the gospel, as the Movie, A Case for Christ is out at the movies, would be appreciated.
“let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12 Paul touches on those who would worship an unknown god. “Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:
TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood[c] every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:22-31 – Jesus is clear, Call on His name and you will be saved. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. When you take that step toward Him, He’ll begin a good work in you. You must just believe that He is who He says He is. Then read your Bible. As you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. Ask Him for truth and He is faithful and just to give you that truth. He loves you, Jerry. You have to make the step though. Whosoever will come, will come. Whosoever won’t, won’t. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18
To begin to start answering Jerry K, I would start with God’s revelation. The short of it is that the created world shows God’s handiwork and it is clear that someone made it. (Romans 1:19-20) Beyond that, there is the special (specific) revelation of God in His Word the Bible. The Bible contains everything needed for a person to believe it. God does make the best case for Himself but it requires a study of many Bible passages to get the overall picture. Basically each man is responsible to God for his response to the truth revealed in God’s Word, specifically the gospel. Each man must decide what they believe about Jesus Christ. False religions will claim that He is not God. (Gen 1, Rom 1, I John 2:22-25, I John 5:7 – the “Word” in this verse is Christ)
The next thing to understand, assuming that you understand that God is creator and author of the Bible, is to understand that man is sinful and in need of a Savior. (Rom 3:23, 5:8) The gospel or “good news” is that though man is condemned already in His sin, he has been provided a way of salvation through the Son of God Jesus Christ based on His sinless life, sacrificial death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead. He took the punishment for our sins and all who repent (change their mind about Him and his way of salvation) and put their faith in Him alone for salvation will be saved for all of eternity. (Eph 2:8-9, I Cor 15:1-11) Just like false religions deny Christ or add false gods, false gospels add to or take away from the gospel. 2 Peter 2 talks about how God views and deals with false teachers. God is however a loving God (John 3:16) and is not willing that any should perish (2 Pet 3:9). God’s love is also shown in Titus 3:4-7 among many other passages. (Rom 4:5, 5:8, 6:23)
Jerry K, I don’t know your motives but I pray that you consider what the Bible has to say about what you seek.
So good to have you drop by and comment. I have really enjoyed getting to know you these last couple of weeks. Your zeal for the Lord shows in your writings.
We appreciate your impassioned plea for Jerry to Believe God’s Word and trust in the Only Savior, Jesus Christ.
You mentioned your changed life… I had trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior for a couple of years before I realized and decided to understand there are things we, as believers in Christ, should and should not do. We are saved by Grace (undeserved mercy) but we are told we SHOULD walk in or do good works for Him. (Ephesians 2:10) It took me two years to understand that and begin to enjoy fellowship with my Savior and the eternal life I had been freely given.
So now, Jerry, a changed life is not an automatic thing — but it depends upon one’s decision to be obedient to God’s indwelling Holy Spirit through His Word. As someone once said about some lazy Christians (probably me), “There are many Heaven bound believers who live a wasted life on earth.” Thankfully I eventually realized the Joy of my salvation and the benefits of my Savior’s reasonable request for service to Him. Likewise I was thankful that before I decided I should do my best to be obedient, He promised never to lose me nor cast me out to hell.
Jerry, our prayer is this:
That you will, first and foremost, believe God’s Word and then trust Jesus to be your Savior. Then, like Holly and most of our commenters here, relish that Joy of serving Him and being in His Family by faith. That obedience and a changed life is a benefit of Salvation, not a requirement to gain or keep it. This is what separates True Christianity from the false. Heaven and eternal life are God’s FREE gift, whereas “religions” require you to earn and keep it by their terms of your behavior.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Jerry, I agree with hollysgarcia’s admonition that you should trust Christ now. Tomorrow may be too late. John 3:18 (NKJV) says:
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
God has the power to change lives. But, that is not the issue in salvation. The issue is believing who Christ is, and what He accomplished through His sacrificial death and His resurrection.
What does believing in Christ for eternal life mean? Following is the general plan of salvation from Northland Bible Baptist Church:
“(18) The general plan of salvation in God’s Word in a brief outline that is believed and practiced by the Northland Bible Baptist Church is as follows:
(a) Establish the fact that all men are sinners. Isaiah 64:6, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, James 2:10.
(b) Establish the fact that the penalty of sin is death. Ezekiel 18:20, Romans 6:23.
(c) Establish the fact that you must be perfect to enter heaven. Habakkuk 1:13, Revelation 21:27.
(d) Establish the fact that man can do nothing to obtain this perfection. Romans 4:5, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-9.
(e) Show how God provided a sin-bearer in the person of Jesus Christ and imputes to man His righteousness. Isaiah 53:6, II Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:9, I Peter 3:18.
(f) Establish the fact that man needs only to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour for salvation. John 1:12, John 3:16-18, Acts 16:31, John 6:47.
(g) Establish the fact that man can be certain of his salvation now and that his salvation cannot be lost because eternal life is eternal. John 6:37 & 39, John 10:28, Hebrews 10:10-14, I Peter 1:5.”
Thanks John and Jack for mentioning that there is really no difference between head faith and heart faith but there is a difference between knowing some facts and putting trust in them.
Was Jesus a good man? A good teacher?
We have a lot of resurrection evidence, even though they sought to hide it with conspiring together to say His disciples hid his body.
So these disciples, who stole his body to perpetuate a lie, willingly were jailed, persecuted, crucified upside down, thrown in a pot of boiling oil, thrust through with a lance, stoned and clubbed for this same lie?
So Jesus was a good man who lied to them and allowed them to believe it and suffer and die in these ways? Did He not warn them that they would suffer, be persecuted, hated, and killed for His name’s sake? So why would they stay knowing this, if they were the ones that were conspiring to lie?
No… He is either who He said He was, or a very unloving and evil person.
I believe He is the Messiah as He said. And He gave His life knowing back then Jerry’s sins. He knew every lie, every person Jerry would wrong, any bad thought Jerry has ever had. Jesus knew. And even more than Jerry himself knows at this moment, Jesus knew what Jerry is going to do later on today, tomorrow and whatever amount of time he has left.
Jerry, if you are there, Seek God while He may found. Life is short, you do not know if you even have tomorrow, your life might be required of you tonight. Where will you go if you die tonight? If you are wrong and it is hell, there is no turning back, no second chances. Pray and ask the Lord to direct you into truth.
I did, and He has changed my life, maybe not overnight, but there was an awful lot to fix, and He has been good to me, and gracious and loving and kind. He has been patient with my weaknesses and provided strength for me in them.
Oh Jerry… please, don’t waste any more time. Today is the day because I have found too often in the past few years how short life is, as I have lost many. Please don’t stay lost. Jesus does love you, He gave His life for you. There is no greater love.
Jack, I agree that there is no difference between head faith and heart faith. Someone either believes with his head and heart, or with neither. They cannot be separated.
I think it is possible for someone to believe that Christ died to save people from their sins (history) but who have not appropriated that reality for themselves (salvation). This was my case before I realized that salvation was a gift from God, and not a trade for my resolve to turn from sin and follow Christ.
Thanks for your comment.
I would suggest that the difference between “heart” and “head” belief is nonexistent. The idea of a difference is apparently a combination of phrases invented by religionists who would insist that a person’s “heart belief” (visible action) does not match a “head belief” or merely verbal or intellectual assent.
“Heart belief” and “head belief” are one and the same and any attempt by religionists to imply a difference is confusingly inaccurate. Believing in Jesus is, after all,belief, a mental decision to trust Jesus alone as Savior, no more complicated than that.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks for your interesting note. As a former atheist, I can empathize with you. I studied and investigated many religions, Zen Buddhism, the philosophy of Khalil Gibran, Dianetics and many other exotic religions but found no Truth. Finally I heard the Truth of The Christ of the Bible and trusted Him alone as my Savior.
We pray you will consider the evidences presented above by Bruce (CalifGracer). In all of this we assume you are serious since you at least acknowledged the existence of God; or am I mistaken and you may be a Universalist?
The God of the Bible IS The God of Love and has shown it over and over to you and me. None of us deserve His love.
You may reject him or decide to believe Him — and thankfully He leaves that decision up to your choice.
Please read our treatise on Eternal Life — and we urge you to trust the Only Savior, Jesus Christ as YOUR Savior.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
TOTALLY AGREE! Reason is good, but it is with the HEART that man
God bless, John Gregory
John G, I never meant to imply that it was wrong to tell unbelievers that they are under God’s wrath. They are, and need to know that. I agree that imparting the Gospel is of the utmost importance and that it is up to the hearer whether or not to believe it.
However, one of the impediments to belief in Grace can be a misunderstanding of the disposition of God. For example, someone who has believed the false LS gospel often does so out of a faulty understanding of Grace. I offered the Bible verses above as clear evidence of God’s desire for all men to be saved.
Regarding the disposition of God, I offer the following quote from Clear Gospel Campaign:
“Grace may be thought of as love in action. It is more than the disposition of a person. It is the disposition of that person to bestow some particular benefit (the gift) upon another. The cornerstone of grace, however, is not the gift itself, but the disposition (the love) of the giver. Grace is, first and foremost, the disposition of God, the loving kindness of God by which he stands ready to bestow upon his subjects every good gift. Grace is not an impersonal force or substance. It is, at its very core, personal. It is the loyal love, the inner goodness and gracious character of our God.”
Answering with the scant info given is difficult. Telling the non-believer
about the reality of the wrath of God against sin is NOT wrong. As ambassadors of Christ, we are to give the truth in the love of Christ.
The Gospel of the Grace of God is Nothing with out the ressurrection of
Christ. If the sceptic will not accept the truth of the ressurection of Jesus
Christ, & after laying the truth before the individual he or she still refuses
to believe, leave them with prayer & go on to the next person.
Give the Simple Gospel, witness, and leave the drawing, calling, &
wooing to the Holy Spirit. We, as ambassadors, give the true gospel message,
we pray, and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.
God bless, John G.
Thanks John; Excellent insightful observations!
Bruce, I have a couple of thoughts:
1. What Gospel has the hypothetical gentleman heard from the Christian minister? Was it the Gospel of God’s Grace through the atonement provided completely by Jesus Christ? Or, did it include some of the typical man-made religious add-ons (turn from sins for salvation, commitment to Christ for salvation, etc.)? If it included any of the LS/calvinist add-ons, it would not sound any different from any of the rest – that is, salvation by works.
2. Jesus came to save – not condemn. It sounds like the hypothetical seeker has a faulty impression of God – that He wants to condemn people. But, we know that is not the case (1Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, John 3:16).