Sunday, January 5, 2020

Why Believe the Bible?

Why should any rational person believe the Bible? A common portrayal of a Bible-believer is someone who chooses faith over reason. Sometimes this person is depicted as irrational, blind to all the obvious facts, yet other times the person is super-spiritual, someone who calmly believes in a truth that others are incapable of seeing. While one of these caricatures is more offensive than the other, both illustrations are damaging.

It’s easy to see where the blindly irrational depiction maligns the character of believers, but the super-spiritual portrayal is just as destructive. It promotes spiritual pride in the believer and creates an obstacle for others, implying they just don’t have enough faith. Now it’s true that man is saved by faith, a gift from God, and faith is a confidence in something we don’t yet see. And while we are warned not to lean on our own understanding, I would still insist that faith is neither irrational nor limited to a select few. In fact, the Bible is a big reason why we can have confidence in our belief. Imagine the following scenario:

If I occasionally received a copy of tomorrow’s newspaper, telling me what was going to happen today, and the events in that newspaper happened just as they were described, I’d be a fool to not pay attention, right? I might wonder how tomorrow’s news could be delivered to me a day early, and I certainly couldn’t understand how it came my way or why I should be the one receiving that paper. Regardless, having regularly received tomorrow’s news and seen the results unfold as described, I would act upon the information. I might look through the stocks and invest in sure thing. I could choose to use it for my personal benefit, daily entertainment or to perhaps to help someone in need. For example, if I received the paper for September 12th, 2001 on the morning of September 11th, would it be irrational to try and save the victims of that fateful day? Of course not! People might question where I received my information, but it would immoral to not risk everything to help those who don’t have a copy of tomorrow’s news. 

The Bible is a lot like tomorrow’s newspaper. There are some smart, detail-oriented people who can give all sorts of reasons for why we should believe in the Bible, but I only need this one simple explanation: it describes the end of things from the very beginning. I’m not referring to all the unfulfilled prophecies of scripture and an irrational faith in future events that can’t be proven. Rather, I would direct your attention to what the Bible predicted: 
  • the rise and fall of Alexander the Great (Daniel 8)
  • calling out Cyrus by name as the one who would return the Jewish people to their homeland over 100 years in advance, before their exile (Isaiah 45)
  • Moses predicting how Israel would be made desolate and the people scattered among the nations for their unfaithfulness (Leviticus 26) yet promising that He would never destroy Israel completely (Deuteronomy 4), promising to restore Israel to the land God gave to them (Isaiah 14)

Yet there are still so many other realized promises, not least of which is the gift of a Savior, fulfilled in Jesus. A hundred years ago, who could have imagined that Israel would be restored as a nation? What people is dispersed from their land and 2000 years later returns to it, just as foretold? What other nations have been destroyed for countless generations and then restored? 

So let me ask: Would someone who regularly receives tomorrow’s newspaper have greater faith than someone who never received it? Only if they read the paper and see how accurate it is! It’s easy to think how we’d make use of tomorrow’s newspaper, right? And while our actions would be based on faith that the newspaper was foretelling today’s events, we’d be irrational to disregard the headlines. 

The pulpit has done a disservice to its congregants when not teaching about Bible prophecy. Sure, there have been some who overstepped the realm of teaching and crossed over to speculation, but rather than timidly avoiding the fullness of Scriptural instruction, leadership should have established guidelines for how to teach Bible prophecy as it continues to unfold. We have a copy of our future newspaper, but the date has been removed because no man knows the day nor the hour. We simply know it will happen, just as all the other promises were fulfilled. Pick up your copy today.

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