Why are you a Christian? There are probably many answers that people could give in answer to that question. Some may hold to their faith because it’s the tradition of their family. Others may have had an experience which has led them to believe in God. I’ll never forget when I heard, what I consider, the best answer to that question: I am a Christian simply because Christianity is true. Now, it’s not that experience or tradition are wrong, but both of those reasons can be found in any belief system. The only good reason for believing anything is if that held belief is true.
God’s Word has a lot to say about truth and how believers are supposed to love and seek it. Unfortunately, society is mixed up about truth these days. Many are left wondering if absolute truth even exists? This conundrum is not really new though. Jesus, who identified himself as the standard of rightness, once sat before Pilate presenting him with the opportunity to pursue truth. Pilate’s response was quite revealing, “What is truth?” he asked. Doesn’t that reaction sound familiar? Isn’t that the response of our modern day culture? It requires less effort to renegotiate a definition of truth, than it does to change in response to a difficult or unlikable reality.
If God exists and the Bible is true, then Christians should seek to understand the nature of truth. Scripture teaches that there are objective and non-negotiable truths, and if there are absolute rights, then there are also absolute wrongs. In the vending machine of relativity, with its individually packaged truths, Christianity’s truth-claim is a unique ingredient often unpalatable in current culture. It’s much easier to order from a menu of morality where the daily special is whatever makes you happy. In fact, culture has so gorged itself on the lie of relativism that now anyone can believe anything, and all are mandated to accept it as true. Furthermore, anyone who objects to this bloated version of tolerance is then labeled as hateful or ignorant.
Not only is society losing is grip on truth, but with it, all grounds of reality. What’s sad is that this ethical chaos doesn’t even withstand the simplest test of logic. Post-modern culture cries that there is no absolute truth! But is that absolutely true? If so, then there is an absolute truth, and the motto contradicts itself. In logic this is called a self-defeating statement, which means there’s no way it can actually be true. So, if it’s false, then there are universally right and wrong beliefs.
And really, we know this deep down. Setting morality aside for a moment and discussing something less controversial, it becomes clear that this idea of my truth versus your truth is nonsensical. No one actually lives that way. When you pick up a prescription you expect that the label truly matches the material inside. No math professor would give credit to a variant solution because a student said, well the answer you gave is simply your truth, but to me two plus two can equal six. Truth has historically been expected to correspond to reality. Something is true or it is false, but it can’t be both at the same time.
But these are not personal issues. Everyone is fine with truth until it challenges us to live differently; until it tells us that something we want is wrong. That’s when truth must be manipulated. That’s when we embrace the mentality of live and let live. But we can’t YOLO our away around the reality that some bumper stickers are wrong. While all worldviews can coexist, because people are free to believe what they choose, not all worldviews can be equally true.
Jesus cannot be just a good person to you, and the Son of God to me. If he wasn’t who he claimed to be, then he wasn’t a good person at all! He cannot be merely a prophet as Islam teaches and God incarnate as Scripture teaches. Jesus can’t be both eternally God as the Bible claims, and a first creation as Jehovah’s Witnesses claim. The decision of what to believe about Jesus is facing each individual today the same way it did that day before Pilate. While it may be easier to redefine what we think about truth, only examining the validity of the claims, and the evidence for them, will lead us to truth.
This is where I think as Christians we may have forfeited some ground. In many ways we have reduced the Gospel to an emotional appeal based on someone’s need. I’m not saying that God’s Word doesn’t find us in times of need, but it’s not only for that purpose. Someone may have a comfortable life, another may be at the top of his game, but recognized need or not, the Gospel stands secure in its truth and the fact that there is only one way to God.
Christians are called to defend the truth of Christianity, and to do this, we have to know why Christianity is true, and then how to engage with a confused and hostile culture. We see examples of this calling repeatedly in Scripture and from very different personalities. First you have Peter, a simple fisherman who’d spent time learning from Jesus. He didn’t have the higher education of the day, but he understood the importance of knowing how to explain the hope we have in Christ. Then, on the other side of the spectrum you have Paul, a Pharisee of Pharisees. He was educated under Gamaliel, and he continually reasoned with Jews and Gentiles according to their worldviews. While Paul was probably more of a natural academic, both men knew why they believed what they did and exhorted other Christians to do the same. Regardless of the personality you identify the most with, all believers should, to the best of their ability, be able to defend their faith.
So, let’s imagine you’re sitting in the break room and someone asks you why you are a Christian. What will you say? Hopefully your response might include some form of, “Because it is true,” but let me warn you. If you are to say this, if you are to claim that your belief is founded on truth, then you must be prepared for the inevitable next question: How do you know it’s true? If you make this claim without knowing why it’s true, your assertion is really nothing more than an empty belief. Saying that Christianity is true is easy. Offering a defense for why it’s true, is not. Understanding the why requires looking at the evidence and wading through topics like reliability of Scripture, the origins of the universe, the history of the resurrection and problem of evil in the world. This takes time and effort, but the good news is that there are many sources available to aid you in this task. Start simple. Set aside 15 minutes in your day to look at one of the resources listed below. Watch an apologetics clip with your family and talk about it for a few minutes before bed. Give up a tv show in favor of reading a couple chapters from a book or a blog. Do whatever it is that will work for you, but do something, and start now.
I guarantee it’s worth the effort! In fact, and it may not just benefit your life. It may change someone else’s. After all, today’s culture desperately needs to hear the truth about truth.
Resources for Youth & Adults
Websites, Apps and Podcasts:
One Minute Apologist: oneminuteapologist.com
Cross Examined: crossexamined.org
Cold Case Christianity: coldcasechristianity.com
Got Questions?: gotquestions.org
Misc. Articles on the Problem of Evil http://www.clayjones.net
Stand to Reason: www.str.org
Dr. William Lane Craig: reasonablefaith.org
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Turek & Geisler)
Systematic Theology (Wayne Grudem)
Tactics (Gregory Koukl)
Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)
Origin of the Bible (Philip W. Comfort)
The Case for a Creator (Lee Strobel)
Cold Case Christianity (J. Warner Wallace)
The Problem of Pain (C.S. Lewis)
Resources for Kids
What is God Like? – Children’s Books by Dr. William Lane Craig
The titles include:
God is All-Good, Good is All-Knowing, God is All-Loving, God is All-Powerful, God is Everywhere, God is Forever, God is Self-Sufficient, God is Spirit, God is Three Persons, The Greatness of God
What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver? Dvd series
The Case for (Christ, Creator, Faith) for kids. Lee Strobel
The Awesome Book of Bible Answers for Kids by Josh McDowell
Cold Case Christianity for Kids by J. Warner Wallace (Releasing in October 2016)
 Frank Turek, Crossexamined.org
 John 18:36-38
 John 8:32, 14:6, 17:17
 Frank Turek, Crossexamined.org
 Frank Turek, Crossexamined.org
 I don’t remember where I heard these examples, but they are not my original thoughts.
 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
 First read this idea in David Platt’s book Radical
 1 Peter 3:15, 2 Peter 3:18, Philippians 1:16, Acts 17:2-3, 16-17, 18:4, 19:8