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Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 7, Chapter 1

How We Determine
What is True

Chapter Illustration

Back to Section 6

Often times Christians are accused of believing the truth of Christianity blindly, a sort of existential leap, not on verifiable systems of investigation. But the fact is that Christianity is based on five of the six systems of investigation of fact we use in Science and Education.

The first of these systems of investigation are called Empiricism or what we call Perceptual Truth. To an Empiricist, truth is established through the five senses according to Walsh in his book, Reason and Experience.

The Empiricist has a weakness. In order for him to know for certain what is truth through his senses, he first needs to know what reality is. For example: today it is popular in the secular world to believe we live in a closed system, meaning no possible supernatural intervention. What you see is what you get. As Christians though we know that gaining knowledge is possible from the spiritual realm as well as the physical sensual realm. What this means is that our senses are a good starting place for finding the truth, put if we start and stop here, complete understanding of the truth of life, existence and reality will not be realized.

Does the Bible talk about this kind of basis for knowing the truth? Yes it does. The Apostle John argues from Perceptual Truth for man's faith in his and his disciples presentation of the Gospel. He writes in 1 John 1:1-3,

"What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."

John states that he is sharing what he has come to know through Perceptual truth so that we will believe so we can know and have fellowship with Jesus, the Father and with him.

The second type of investigative system we want to talk about is Rational or Conceptual Truth. Rationalism, according to Normon Geisler in his book, Introduction to Philosophy,154 is that which logic and reason teach us is truth. Rationalism is the constant harmonizing of one idea with another to determine truth. For example: Francis Schaeffer in his book, the God Who is there uses morality as an example. If something is right, the opposite is wrong. A is not Non A.

The weakness of Rationalism is that man's mind is finite. Plato, the philosopher stated, "If there is more about God than the mind can reveal then the gods are going to have to tell us." He recognized that man's mind is finite.

An example of the use of Rationalism to substantiate the validity of the Gospel in the Bible is found in Acts 26:25. King Festus has just told Paul that his great learning has driven him mad because Paul was trying to convince Festus to become a Christian. Paul replied, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, the words I utter are of truth and Rationality."438

The third type of investigative system we want to talk about is called Utilitarian Truth or what is known as Pragmatic Truth. Truth gained through Pragmatism is true because it works. Jesus talked about the substantiation of this kind of truth when he said in Matthew 7:20, "So then, you will know them by their fruits."

The weakness of Pragmatic truth is that if it is true it will work, but not necessarily is it true because it works. For example, the issue of the Spirit of God verses a false spirit. The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." I may gain truth about something from a false spirit, but John says that if that spirit does not confess that Jesus came down out of heaven and became flesh, that, that spirit is not from God, that it is a spirit of falsehood and is to be rejected. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:14, "And no wonder for even Satan disguises himself as an angle of light." All religions have truth, but that does not mean they are from God.

A fourth system of investigation for truth is the Scientific Method. This is truth verified through repeated experimentation in a controlled environment. Repeating the same environmental conditions, you will have the same outcome. Often times people will reject the message of Christianity because they will say they cannot accept anything which cannot be proven Scientifically. This is a very educationally stupid statement because no fact of history can be confirmed through the Scientific Method. You cannot repeat the historical claims of Christianity in a controlled environment. For example, you cannot repeat over and over in a laboratory the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ any more than you can repeat over and over again George Washington crossing the Delaware River to attack the city of Trenton. This is why this method of investigation is the only one we cannot use to prove the validity of the historical claims of Christianity or any other fact of history. The weakness of the Scientific Method is that it can only be applied to matters which can be repeated in a controlled environment. It is useless for verification of historical matters.

Existentialism

Making a Decision by chance hoping to find absolute truth (Reality) without any tangible verifiable basis for making that decision. EXAMPLE: The reason for taking LSD in the 60's

Though the Gospel cannot be proved through the Scientific Method, it can be proved through the Legal Method or what is called the Historical Method. The Legal Method is what we use in our courts of law. It is fact or proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Legal or Historical Method involves three kinds of testimony: Oral, Written, and Physical. Using this Method, we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus did rise from the dead. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:12-18 that if Jesus did not rise from the dead then we are still dead in our sins. Therefore, the truth of the Gospel hinges on the fact of the Resurrection.

Do we have proof legally that Jesus did rise from the dead? Yes! First, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that there were over 512 Oral witnesses to the fact of Christ's Resurrection. Second, we have the Written record of the Apostle's themselves in the New Testament verifying the fact that Jesus did rise from the dead. Third, we have Physical evidence of Jesus' Resurrection: the tomb is empty and there is no BODY to prove otherwise. These three facts show us beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus did rise from the dead.

Our courts of law only require two witnesses to verify any historical fact. The fact of the resurrection had 512 witnesses. The fact of the Resurrection would hold up in a court of law today.

Jesus gave us five absolute proofs to His claim to Deity and to be truly God's Son come down from heaven in the flesh:

1. First, the oral witness of John the Baptist:

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God taking the sin of the world. This is He about whom I said, After me comes a Man who before me has become, for He was before me. . . .’ And John gave testimony saying, ‘I beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven and He remained upon Him.’ And I did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize in water, that One said to me, ‘On whom you see the Spirit coming down upon and remaining, this is the one baptizing in the Holy Spirit. And I have seen, and bear witness that this is the Son of God.’" (John 1:29-34)

2. Second, the physical evidence of His works and miracles:

"But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me." (John 5:36)

"How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will." (Heb 2:3-4)

3. Third, the oral witness of God the Father at Jesus' baptism in front of hundreds of witnesses:

"And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’" (Matt 3:16-17)

4. Fourth, The previously prophesied and recorded evidence of Scripture. Jesus Testified to His disciples after His Resurrection:

"‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." (Luke 24:25-27, John 5:39-40)

5. Finally, the physical evidence of His physical Resurrection:

"The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do you show to us, seeing that You do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews therefore said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken." (John 2:18-22).

The Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans 1:1-4,

How We Determine
What Is True:

Empiricism
Rationalism
Utilitarian Truth
Scientific Truth
Legal & Historical
Revealed Truth

"Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, Concerning His Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord."

The Apostle Peter wrote,

"For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye witnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’ and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain." (2 Peter 1:16-18)

Jesus Gave Five Absolute Proofs
To His Claims to Deity and to Being
God’s ONLY Son Who Came Down
From Heaven in the Flesh:

1. First the Oral Witness of John the Baptist

2. Second, the Physical Evidence of His Works and Miracles

3. Third, the Oral Witness of God the Father at Jesus’ Baptism in Front of Hundreds of Witnesses

4. Fourth, the Previously Prophesied Written Evidence of Scripture.

5. Finally, the Physical Evidence of His Physical Resurrection.

The final method of investigation of truth that we have is Revealed Truth. This is the story of the Bible. Because we are finite, it is impossible for us to know anything truly about God, man or the origin of the Universe through reason and science alone. Because this is true, if there is a God and if we were created by Him, the only way we could know this for sure is if He chose to reveal it to us Himself.

The two primary sources of revelation about who God is are the Bible and Jesus. The writer of Hebrews tells us,

"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the ages." (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Jesus said about Himself, "I am the way and the truth and the Life" (John 14:6). Jesus also taught the Bible, Old Testament, as absolute truth and historical truth (Matt 5:17-29, John 5:45-47). The way we know that the Bible is true and that Jesus is true is because He proved to us His claims about Himself and the Bible are true by coming back physically from the dead. We know that Jesus really did come back physically from the dead because we have oral, written and physical evidence that He did, not to mention that eleven of the twelve Apostles died a martyr's death upholding this claim. Not one of them said to their assassins before death, Oh! Hey! I was just kidding! Jesus did not really rise from the dead. To there dying breath they upheld the claims of Christianity.

Is the Bible the Word of God? Did God inspire the writing of the Bible? If He does exist and if as the Bible claims He knows everything past present and future, then it is only logical that He must know all facts about history, science, the cosmos and man. If He does and He did lead men to write the Bible and if He is perfect and all knowing, then so must be His book in all that it teaches concerning Himself, man, the cosmos, in science and in all that it teaches historically; otherwise He is not God and the Bible is not His book. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt 24:35). Is the Bible true in all these areas? Does the Bible reflect the authorship of a perfect all knowing God in heaven? I believe that it does and what I present in this section are absolute proofs to that claim in all these areas. The true measurable tangible facts of Science, history, archaeology and fulfilled prophecy proclaim that God does exist and that He is the author of the Bible, the Bible ALONE.

Bibliography & Notes
Chapter 2
Section 7 Chapters

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