Is Christianity reasonable? As absurd as this question might seem, there are major religions founded on the premise that faith does not have to be reasonable. Fortunately, Christianity is not one of them.
How would you go about convincing someone that the Christian faith is reasonable? (Okay, this is a trick question—it’s not really our job to convince anyone, but it is our job to think.)
There are massive apologetic resources dedicated to defending the faith and making sound arguments in support of Christianity. Check out Matt Slick’s CARM site, William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith site, Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacharias, Hugh Ross’ Reasons To Believe, the Poached Egg, or the One Minute Apologist.
But it is incumbent upon all Christians—not just big-name apologists, theologians, and pastors—to think. As Tim Keller says in the following message, “You cannot be a Christian without using your brain to its uttermost.”
Jesus says (in Matthew 6) if you want to have faith, “Think, consider, deduce.” Why does thinking lead to faith? The Bible tells us that if you don’t let your thinking take you all the way to Jesus Christ it will end in despair. Martin Luther’s thinking led him to see there is a God. Then his thinking led him further to see that God must be a personal God. Then he thought, “If there is a personal God, I want to please him.” But Luther couldn’t obey even the Golden Rule, and wondered how he could please God. The Bible tells us there is only one way: Jesus Christ.
Tim Keller, paraphrased from Faith is Reason clip on YouTube
Oftentimes apologetics can be an uppercut. And it can be an intellectual salve. Great apologists are convincing debaters, loaded with sound arguments to defend their position, and truth be told most of us wish we could dial up their arguments in our normal conversations. But there is an inherent danger in all the eloquence and logic of good apologetics—we can lose sight of the object of apologetics.
So here’s the right cross. Is Christianity reasonable? We can make all kinds of great arguments, but ultimately the best answer takes time. Dick Woodward defines “devotional Bible study” in his introduction to the Mini Bible College:
“To me, devotional Bible study is the key that makes it possible for the Word to get into us and for us to get into the Word. Jesus said, ‘Your Word is truth.’ He claimed that His own teaching would convince us that it is the Word of God if we would do what it tells us to do. In other words, the doing will lead to the knowing (John 17:17; 7:17). When you put these two statements together they form my approach to the Bible. Look for truth, the devotional and practical truth and when you find it, do it. In 1961 I discovered that approach and it has convinced me and many of those I have taught that the Bible is the Word of God.”
Dick Woodward, Founder and Teacher, Mini Bible College
“Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.’“
So what is the value of apologetics? It fully supports devotional Bible study. And there is great joy in discovering—devotionally—just how reasonable Christianity is. Take Dick up on his invitation, “Look for truth, the devotional and practical truth, and when you find it, do it.”
Here’s an answer to the question: “The doing will lead to the knowing.”