FAITH IS NOT BLIND!

BY: FRANK TUNSTALL

Some critics’ claim Christians believe on blind faith, defined as belief that is not based in historical facts. For example, The God Delusion is a book by Richard Dawkins in which Dawkins says faith opposes reason. He also asserts faith is actually a “delusion.” [A delusion, to Dawkins, is “persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence” (p. 28)].

Dawkins says in The Selfish Gene in the Bible story of Thomas, after the Lord’s resurrection, “Thomas demanded evidence.” And goes on to say “The other apostles, whose faith was so strong they did not need evidence, are held up to us as worthy of imitation.” (p. 198).

Wow!

The assertion that Christianity is anchored on blind faith must be rejected. The gospel asks no one to check his mind at the coat closet when he walks into the church.

Thomas was not present resurrection night when Jesus appeared to His disciples, but he was given eyewitness testimony [the best kind of evidence] by the other disciples who were present and they shared the evidence. The issue with Thomas was not lack of credible evidence; instead, Thomas made the decision not to believe the evidence his brethren shared with him.

When Jesus met the disciples a week later with Thomas present, Jesus gave Thomas more irrefutable evidence by showing His nail scars and His wounded side. Then Jesus commanded Thomas, “Stop doubting and believe.” Clearly Jesus was saying, “Make the decision to believe, Thomas, because the evidence cannot be rejected by a personal of reasonable mind.” Thomas had chosen not to believe, but when the overwhelming evidence stared him in the face, Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God.”

The problem with critics of the resurrection today remains the same – the problem is not lack of credible evidence, but willingness to accept the evidence. Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, and then conquered death on the third day, with each of these as documented events of history.

The primary source for Jesus’ resurrection is the Bible itself, which is also a book of history. The Bible has undergone the most intense scrutiny by scholars over the centuries, but its history continues to be authoritative. It provides the best and strongest evidence possible – primary, eyewitness evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

The Apostle John wrote about his own personal experience with Jesus – what he had “seen and heard.”

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete” (1 John 1:1-4).

Believers’ confessions made in their worship, that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, are indeed based on eyewitness historical evidence and the substantiation for the miracle is genuine. The Apostle John, for example, wrote his entire book to give the evidence that makes the case Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:31).

Luke the physician wrote in his introduction to the book of Acts:

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1-3 KJV).

 John the Baptist and the Apostle Peter each gave witness to hearing the audible voice of God out of heaven. At Jesus’ baptism in Jordan River, John the Baptist “saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on [Jesus].” John also heard “a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16-17 KJV).

The Apostle Peter as well as John and James witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. Concerning their experience, Peter wrote some years later:

“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain” (2 Peter 1:16-18; Matthew 17:5).

The Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus’ resurrection is the final and ultimate proof that Jesus is the Son of God. He told the Corinthians “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.” Then Paul concluded, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; John 20:31 ESV). Yes, the resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact to Paul.  

The sun comes up.
It’s a new day dawning.
It’s time to sing your song again…
Bless the Lord oh my soul;
Oh my soul.
Worship His Holy name.
Sing like never before Oh my soul.
I’ll worship Your Holy name.

By: Matt Redman
Jesus’ command to Thomas applies to Jesus’ resurrection as an event in history, and to the faith statements that blossom because He came out of the grave: “Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27). While many today reject the evidence, multitudes of others accept the Lord’s directive to Thomas and embrace the primary evidence for the historical reality of Jesus’ death on the cross and His bodily resurrection. These people also take the next step and cherish the faith statements of the gospel. They recognize them as reasonable and credible outgrowths of the Lord’s triumph over the grave (Revelation 1:4-7; 5:5-10).

One example of a faith statement is Jesus’ promise He is coming back to this earth (John 14:3).

Another is the prophecy of the great day of the resurrection when each believer will have a glorified and immortal body like Jesus’ body (Acts 2:31; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; Revelation 20:5-6, 13-15).

Still another is the blessed hope of eternal life in heaven with Jesus, “world without end” (Ephesians 3:21).

Because the death and resurrection of Jesus happened as events of history, Paul wrote this breathtaking faith statement: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).

We conclude, therefore, the confession in worship that Jesus is God’s Son has its strongest supporting evidence in the Lord’s death and resurrection, and is not at all based on blind faith that lacks support in historical facts. These same facts also undergird the integrity of the faith statements of the Bible.

No, followers of Jesus do not blindly confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. And no, it is not necessary for a Christian to check his mind at the door when he walks into the church. One of the teachers of the law asked Jesus:

“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31 NIV).

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