Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blind Faith, Beleaguered Life

Many Christians are missing-in-action. They flee any argumentation – any controversy, conflict - because they are not prepared for it. They don’t know how to defend the faith (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3).

Why not? For one thing these fideistic Christians do not believe that there is a rational and evidential basis for the faith. They will claim that Christianity is a matter of faith and not fact – a leap into the darkness.

Interestingly, in this they are unwitting bed-fellows with the secularists and atheists who argue that the Christian faith must remain in the churches, because public discourse should be a matter of facts, evidences, and rationality instead of the myths of faith.

The fideistic Christian will cite Hebrews to support their position:

  • Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1; NKJV)
From this, they will argue that the “evidence for Christianity is merely a matter of blind faith, unsupported by facts. Indeed, there are times that we must walk through the “valley of the shadow of death” where we can’t see where we’re going, where our only hope is in our Savior.

Abraham had found himself in this situation on many occasions. Paul wrote:

  • [Abraham] who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be." And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. (Romans 4:18-19)
Faith in the promise of God was his only “evidence” that Sarah would bear him a child. The evidence of nature would not support Abraham’s confidence in this matter. Physically speaking, Sarah no longer had the ability to bear children.

However, Abraham was not bereft of solid evidence supporting his faith in God. By this point in his life, he had seen, on many occasions, God work miraculously on his behalf. He had even met and dinned with Him (Gen. 18, 19). He knew God, and this belief was supported by the events of his life. Therefore, although faith didn’t come easily to him, Abraham had a sound basis for his faith in God. Therefore Hebrews reads:

  • By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (Hebrews 11:17-19)
Abraham didn’t know how God would make good on His promise to bless the world through Isaac, but he “reasoned” that He most definitely would! Based on what did Abraham so reason? On the evidence! What evidence? The evidence of his experiences and encounters with God! Abraham had an evidential foundation for his faith, even as he was walking through the darkness illuminated by faith alone. But his faith wasn’t alone! Reason was holding its hand. Indeed, we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7), but this can be a faith rich in evidential support! It has reasons to believe.

What are the consequences of a blind faith that lacks evidences and proofs? Many:

  1. No confidence or assurance! They have no more reason to place their faith in the Koran than in the Bible.
  1. Marginalization. They will not be able to answer anyone who questions them about their faith (1 Peter 3:15).
  1. Evangelism. They will not be able to explain to anyone why they should trust in Christ. The Muslim or Buddhist will understandably ask, “Why should I give up my faith for yours?”
Instead, the Bible says much about the evidences and proofs that support the faith. Here are just a few verses:

  1. Testimonial Evidence. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)
  1. Fulfilled Prophecies. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. (John 14:29)
  1. Miracles. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
For many years, I was tortured by my skepticism – my weakness of faith. However, through studying the supporting evidences, the Lord has given me a confidence and a joy in believing that I had never had. To Him be the glory!

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