When it comes to apologetics, it’s a very helpful tactic to show unbelievers the truths of the Bible. But when evangelizing, is apologetics helpful or necessary? Read what Steve Ham has to say on this subject.
July 6, 2022
If you are a Christian, someone who trusts in God’s Word, you believe things the world considers obscure and offensive.
- You believe that God created humanity male and female, rejecting modern views on sexual expression and gender theories.
- You believe that over two thousand years ago, the God-man Jesus Christ was executed as a criminal and resurrected from the dead.
- You believe that there is one God who exists eternally as Father, Son, and Spirit. And only this God brings salvation. All other paths lead to eternal punishment.
- You believe that God destroyed humanity with a flood, except for Noah, his family, and two of every animal. And you believe that judgment upon humanity will happen once more with fire.
These (and a whole lot more!) are doctrines that Christians believe and confess over and against the wisdom of man and the attacks of the world. But why?
“If you are a Christian, someone who trusts in God’s Word, you believe things the world considers obscure and offensive.”
As Christians go about making disciples in a world filled with endless teachings, values, and ideologies, it is important that we are able to answer this fundamental question: Why do you believe Christianity is true?
In this article, I want to give you my answer—an overview of four reasons to believe Christianity is true. Although there are innumerable reasons, I want to focus my answer on the four that have made the greatest impact on my life.
1. Christianity Is “True to Life”
Christianity does not describe “a galaxy far, far away…” Rather, it describes the world we live in. The Bible’s depiction of our world is not a sugarcoated fantasy or a utopia. On the contrary, God declares our world to be fallen: under the curse of death because of human sin (Genesis 3).
Biblical characteristics of this fallen world include:
- Natural disasters. The world is presented as groaning (Romans 8:19-23). Without any notice, a tornado, earthquake, storm, or illness can bring great loss and devastation (Job 1:19). Natural disasters are impartial, afflicting both the rich and the poor, the high and the low.
- Human evil. Human beings are presented as sinful (Romans 3:23). With varying expressions, humanity wrestles with arrogance, selfishness, anger, greed, envy, slander, deceit, theft, sexual immorality, and foolishness. Nations suffer from crime, war, and injustice. Individually, no one is perfect. We are all confronted regularly with our own wrongdoings and the wrongdoings of others. The Bible’s assessment of humanity is simple: Because of our sinfulness, we cannot bring peace on earth.
- Conflict between God’s people and the world. The world is presented as hating Christ and those who pledge exclusive loyalty to Him (John 15:18-27). Because of this hostility, Scripture warns Christians against false teachers, false converts, and ungodly influences (1 Timothy 6:3-10).
Faced with Scripture’s depiction of the world, we must confess its truthfulness. The world we live in is a Genesis 3 world, a world filled with natural disasters, human evil, and conflict between God’s people and the world.
2. The Christian God Is Unlike Us
One characteristic of a false god is that it reeks of sinful humanity.
For starters, a false god often looks like something in creation. Whether a man, animal, or a combination of the two, false gods are “divine beings” who are composed of earthly characteristics. They are recreations of existing qualities within our world, qualities that are mismatched in new ways. False gods exist to fit the appetites of their creators (Romans 1:22-23).
Additionally, false gods are marred by the fallenness of their creators. Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love and sexual behavior was worshipped through prostitution. The Ammonite god Molech required child sacrifice. The Greek god Zeus raped the human Leda. The Norse god Odin gained knowledge by self-mutilation.
False gods are like us on a cosmic level. They are not worth worshipping. They are in need of redemption themselves.
Contrast this with the God of Scripture. He is the Triune God who exists as Father, Son, and Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2). The Trinity is something that we cannot wrap our minds around. There is nothing on earth to liken Him to (and if we try, we end up erring with a Trinitarian heresy!). This leads me to confess that Scripture is not the invention of men, but the self-revelation of God (2 Peter 1:20-21).
“False gods are like us on a cosmic level. They are not worth worshipping. They are in need of redemption themselves.”
God is distinct from His creation. He is the God of history who claims ownership over real kings, nations, and places—every single one (Psalm 24:1). God rules over all of creation in righteousness, justice, and holiness (Psalm 89:5-18). He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). His power exposes the fraud and worthlessness of false gods (Joshua 2:10-11). His knowledge is too wonderful for us (Psalm 139:1-6). His plan cannot be overthrown (Isaiah 46:9-11). His holy presence spurs us to confess our sinfulness (Isaiah 6:5; Luke 5:8).
Moreover, when the Son adds to Himself human nature, no fault can be found in Him (Luke 23:14-15, 40-41). Even though Jesus became like us in our humanity, He is so unlike us in His sinlessness (Hebrews 4:15).
There are no stains of sinful humanity on the God of Scripture.
3. The Fame of Christ Is Unmatched
From the first century onward, there is no more revered name in all of human history than the name of Jesus Christ.
An online search of “most significant historical figures” yields unsurprising results. Time Magazine, the Guardian, and even Business Insider all conclude that Jesus is the most significant name in all of history.
“There are many programs that change habits, but only Jesus changes hearts.”
For over two thousand years, Jesus is the name that Christians have gathered to praise, proclaim, and pray in. The heart of Christian activity is missions: making disciples of Jesus among the nations. To say that Christians have carried His name millions of miles is an understatement. With great cost, the name of Jesus has been proclaimed from Jerusalem to Athens, Istanbul, Beijing, and all over the world.
The story of Christianity did not end at the cross. It continues with resurrection and proclamation! Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection made Him the centerpiece of history. It blows my mind that the teachings of a Jewish rabbi named Jesus were declared to me at Kindred Community Church in Anaheim Hills, California. Now I worship and proclaim that rabbi as the Savior of the world.
Jesus’ teachings direct more lives than any other teachings. The Bible is the most translated and distributed book in all of history. Ancient as these writings may be, they still command the attention of humanity on a spectacular level. This Sunday alone, millions of Christians around the world will gather to magnify Christ and to listen to His Word.
There are many programs that change habits, but only Jesus changes hearts. His Word turns pagans into pastors, criminals into Christians, and slaves of sin into slaves of righteousness. The name of Jesus exalts servants, and it humbles kings. There is no one who is more praised for bringing transformation, redemption, and life change than Jesus Christ.
This leads me to confess that Jesus’ Words are just as living and alive today as they were thousands of years ago (Hebrews 4:12).
Even the ridicule of Jesus demonstrates His significance. Many continue to be offended by His teachings. Many continue to mock His name (just watch anything from Hollywood and observe how many times His name is still used as a curse word!). However, even this scoffing is short lived. Because one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9).
4. The Internal Testimony of the Spirit
No doubt, this final reason to believe that Christianity is true will be unsatisfactory to many skeptics. Nevertheless, the teachings of Scripture are clear: in the end, our certainty that Jesus is the Messiah comes from the Spirit of God.
Before His death and resurrection, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” It is apparent that many see Him as merely a prophet. Then Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” The Apostle Peter confesses, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus responds, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-20).
This passage is a humbling reminder that faith in Jesus is a God-given gift (cf. Ephesians 2:1-10; Philippians 1:29). Jesus says in John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
We cannot forget the God-centered nature of our salvation. It is the Spirit who convicts us of sin (John 16:8), regenerates our hearts (Titus 3:5), indwells us (1 Corinthians 3:16), and assures us that we belong to the true and living God (Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:24).
So, if you do not believe in Jesus, you do not have the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9). On the other hand, if you read Scripture as true and trustworthy, if you love Jesus and live out His Word, if you overflow with hope in Christ and His return, rejoice! For it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that you believe (Romans 15:13).
May you see the truthfulness of God’s Word. May you confess that you live in a fallen world, that God is so unlike you in holiness and majesty, that Jesus is the adored Savior of the world, and that you desperately need His Spirit to bring you from death to life. May His Word ring true and pure over and against all other words (Psalm 12:6; Romans 3:4).