I have long ascribed, and this ministry has certainly ascribed for many years, that no Christian should ever 'check' his brain at the door when he enters his local church. In fact, Christians should use their critical thinking skills, otherwise known as discernment, in everything they do. Isaiah Chapter 1, verse 18, begins with God saying, "Come let us reason together. . .". Since we see so many signs of reason placed into ALL of God's creation, then we who love God's Word from Genesis 1:1 have no problem seeing rationality, wisdom, and reason in all that God does. Also, the physical world that we see, including the microscopic world that we do not see, confirms this truth. However, you may be reading this and saying to yourself, 'so why then does it seem that so few Christians know how to defend and/or explain with reason anything they believe'? That is a fair question and it deserves an answer. But first, let's look at some scriptural commands and reminders so we can be discerning at all times.
One example was when the Apostle Paul and Silas were ushered out of Thessalonica during the night by the believers of Thessalonica. This was to prevent them from being torn to pieces by a rebellious mob. But we then see them entering the city of Berea in Acts 17:10. In verse 11, we are given some insight into God's thinking about discernment and reason. Concerning the Bereans, we read, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." emphasis mine (KJV) Here, discernment and reason are praised as something that should be practiced "daily". Here is the interesting point, -- at this time, Paul and Silas are not speaking to believers. They are speaking to potential believers, who first need to see a good reason to believe all that they are being told. Even though it is only the Holy Spirit who draws the lost sinner to Christ, it is also safe to say that God does not object to seeing obstacles removed from a reason standpoint, thereby allowing the individual to be drawn. It was the Bereans searching and discerning in verse 11 that allows us to read in verse 12a "Therefore many of them believed; . . ." (KJV) The Bible is replete with many examples that confirm this same truth.
Without exploring all of these examples in detail, I will name one for the careful Bible student's future study. We are given the example of Paul disputing in the synagogue with the Jews of Athens in verse 17. Paul is reasoning with them. He is explaining the futility of their rampant idolatry, and later, on Mars Hill, Paul preaches a message speaking directly about their idol to 'the unknown God'. The Spirit through Paul reasons with the people of Athens. We should then, have no problems reasoning with those we wish to see come to Christ and His word.
It would be wise now, to insert a warning about some of the possible pitfalls of too much dependence on earthly wisdom and reason. Solomon was the son of King David and, next to Jesus, was the wisest man to walk this earth. In his 3rd and final book of the Bible, Ecclesiastes, which was written during his later years, he made many observations about the wisdom that he had gained. First, his wisdom came from God directly, then from the continued study of many, many books. In Ecclesiastes 1:18 we read: "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." (KJV) He would later write directly about the effect of much study with books. In Ecclesiastes 12:12, we further read: "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh." These are not admonitions to avoid or skip study as we are clearly told the opposite in II Tim. 2:15. However, they are reminders that study alone, apart from God's word, can potentially leave the student feeling empty and unsatisfied. Learning itself can become an idol, and we're reminded of the following in I Corinthians 1:26,27:
26- "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27- But, God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty:" (KJV)
In an apologetics ministry like this that focuses on Biblical truth, we do not flee or hide in the face of scientific knowledge. In fact, quite the opposite is true. We find as we study the scripture more and more, that we see many of its truths being validated by true repeatable, observable, falsifiable science. The current evolutionary model, however, is a house of cards built on a false worldview that clearly falls under the purview of religion or philosophy-- but NOT science. We can and do have confidence that the God of creation is also a God of great wisdom and reason. The amazing thing though is this: He has chosen to share that wisdom with us through His word! This leads us full circle back to our opening question.
'So why then does it seem that so few Christians know how to defend and/or explain anything they believe'? Truly much could be written in an attempt to answer this question. But instead, I will simply say that God's church, called to be salt and light in this world, has largely failed in its mission and quite frankly became lazy. This does not mean that we are not working hard, running to a fro, caring for many things. But it does mean that maybe it's time to question many of those things that keep us running AND keep us from God's Word--the one thing we are COMMANDED to study. So, let us be diligent students of His word. Then, as we also study the science, that only makes sense through the filter of His Word, let us follow The God of Reason, so that, we will learn more about The Reason of God.