The Truth About the Founder of Christianity/Part 2 | John Ankerberg Show

The Truth About the Founder of Christianity/Part 2

By: The John Ankerberg Show
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By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©{{{copyright}}}
Inquiring Minds

Ed. note: This article is based upon the transcript from programs produced by the John Ankerberg Show. Additional material has been added for this print version.

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Inquiring Minds

So for those who do not share our Christian worldview, why might they consider openly evaluating the Christian religion?

First, because it is good to do so. As noted, the honest search for truth is one of the most noble philosophical endeavors of life. Plato declared, “Truth is the beginning of every good thing, both in Heaven and on earth; and he who would be blessed and happy should be from the first a partaker of the truth.”

Any religion or philosophy that makes convincing claims to having absolute truth is worth consideration because only a few do. More to the point, any religion that claims and produces solid evidence on behalf of an assertion that it alone is fully true is worth serious consideration for that reason alone. But only Christianity does this.

The kind of existence Christianity offers in life is one of deep and abundant satisfaction, regardless of the pain and disappointment we may have to experience. Jesus claimed He would give us what we really want in life—true meaning and purpose now, and everlasting life in a heavenly existence far beyond our current comprehension. The noted Oxford scholar C. S. Lewis correctly understood one of the most heartfelt yearnings of mankind when he wrote, “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.”[1] Jesus declared, “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) and “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). He also said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6).

Everyone likes a good adventure and, this side of death, life is undoubtedly the greatest adventure of all. The reason is obvious. Most people live their lives not knowing why they were born—or what happens when they die. Most moderns would consider it too presumptuous to claim any final answers to the mysteries of life and death. But what if, in spite of all the questions, there really were an answer? What if Jesus Christ claims He is the answer and that anyone who wishes could determine the truth of His claims to their own satisfaction?

Christianity is not just intellectually credible, whether considered philosophically, historically, scientifically, ethically, culturally, etc., but from an evidential perspective, actually superior to other world views, secular or religious. If Christianity were obviously false, as some critics charge, how could such esteemed intellectuals as those quoted below logically make their declarations? Mortimer Adler is one of the world’s leading philosophers. He is chairman of the board of editors for The Encyclopedia Britannica, architect of The Great Books of the Western World series and its phenomenal Syntopicon, director of the prestigious Institute for Philosophical Research in Chicago, and author of Ten Philosophical Mistakes, How to Think About God, plus over twenty other challenging books. He simply asserts, “I believe Christianity is the only logical, consistent faith in the world.”[2] How could Adler make such a statement? Because he knows it can’t rationally be made of any other religion.

Philosopher, historian, theologian and trial attorney John Warwick Montgomery, who has earned nine graduate degrees in various fields argues, “The evidence for the truth of Christianity overwhelmingly outweighs competing religious claims and secular world views.”[3] How could an individual of such intellectual caliber as Dr. Montgomery use a descriptive phrase as “overwhelmingly outweighs” if it were obviously false? His 50 plus books and 100 plus scholarly articles indicate exposure to a wide variety of non-Christian religious and secular philosophies.

The individual widely considered to be the greatest Protestant philosopher of God in the world, Alvin Plantinga, recalls, “For nearly my entire life I have been convinced of the truth of Christianity.”[4] On what basis can one of the world’s greatest philosophers make such a declaration if the evidence for Christianity is unconvincing?

Dr. Drew Trotter is executive director of the Center for Christian Studies at Charlottes-ville, VA. He holds a doctorate from Cambridge University. He argues that “logic and the evidence both point to the reality of absolute truth, and that truth is revealed in Christ.”[5]

If we are looking for obvious truths, then perhaps we should consider the words of noted economist and sociologist, George F. Guilder, author of Wealth and Poverty who asserts, “Christianity is true and its truth will be discovered anywhere you look very far.”[6]

Such accolades could be multiplied repeatedly.[7] While testimonies per se mean little, if they are undergirded by the weight of evidence, they can hardly be dismissed out of hand.

Indeed, Christianity’s founder, Jesus Christ, is utterly original and totally unique when compared to every other religious leader who has ever lived.[8] In addition, the Christian Bible itself is clearly the most influential book in human history.[9] The evidence in favor of its divine inspiration and the inerrancy of its autographs is formidable, even to many former skeptics..[10] If Jesus Christ and the Christian Scriptures continue to exert an unparalleled influence in the world, shouldn’t they be considered worthy of an impartial investigation? If objective evidence points to Christianity alone being fully true, then it seems that only personal bias can explain a person’s unwillingness to seriously consider the claims of Jesus Christ on their life.

A final reason secularists and those of other religious persuasions should be receptive to Christianity is because we live in an increasingly poisonous age experientially. In our pluralistic and pagan culture, almost anyone is a viable target for conversion to a wide variety of false beliefs which are far more consequential individually than Christianity—from various cults and New Age occultism to solipsism and nihilism. Philosophies of despair and potent occult experiences can convert even those who think they are the least vulnerable: “There is a great deal of research that shows that all people, but especially highly intelligent people, are easily taken in by all kinds of illusions, hallucinations, self-deceptions, and outright bamboozles—all the more so when they have a high investment in the illusion being true.”[11] In other words, even in this life it is the personal welfare of the non-Christian that may be at risk.

Read Part 3

Notes

  1. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (NY: Macmillan, 1962), p. 145.
  2. As cited in an interview in Christianity Today, November 19, 1990, p. 34.
  3. John W. Montgomery (ed.), Evidence for Faith: Deciding the God Question (Dallas: Word, 1991), p. 9.
  4. Alvin Plantinga, “A Christian Life Partly Lived,” in Kelly James-Clark (ed.), Philosophers Who Believe (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993), p. 69, emphasis added.
  5. As interviewed in the Chattanooga Free Press, July 23, 1995, p. A-11.
  6. L. Neff, “Christianity Today Talks to George Gilder,” Christianity Today, March 6, 1987, p. 35 cited in David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times: The Religious Worldviews of Our Day and the Search for Truth (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1994), p. 13.
  7. For testimony of skeptics’ conversion to Christianity based on the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, see the companion articles “The Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Parts 1 & 2.” Cf. John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Do the Resurrection Accounts Conflict? and What Proof Is There That Jesus Rose From the Dead? (Chattanooga, TN: The John Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, 1990).
  8. See our Ready With An Answer (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1997).
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Maureen O’Hara, “Science, Pseudo-Science, and Myth Mongering,” in Robert Basil (ed.), Not Necessarily the New Age: Critical Essays (NY: Prometheus, 1988), p. 148.

The John Ankerberg Show

The John Ankerberg Show

Founder and president of The John Ankerberg Show, the most-watched Christian worldview show in America.
The John Ankerberg Show
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