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God and Christianity—Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
February 22, 2019 7:00 pm

God and Christianity—Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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February 22, 2019 7:00 pm

When God told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that they could eat from any tree except for one, that was a test of faith. Would Adam and Eve trust God at His word or would they doubt Him and disobey?

Fast forward to today and faith is still God’s test, whether it’s looking at God’s creation and having faith that He exists, whether studying the Bible and placing faith in its reliability, or whether listening to our conscience and by faith knowing there are universal truths placed there...

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God and Christianity, beyond any reasonable doubt. That is the topic we'll discuss today right here on the Christian worldview radio program, where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to share the good news that all people can be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ.

I'm David Wheaton, the host of the program, and our website is thechristianworldview.org. You know, when God told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that they could eat from any tree except for one, that was a test of faith. Would Adam and Eve trust God at his word, or would they doubt him and disobey? Now fast forward to today, and faith is still God's test, whether it's looking at God's creation and having faith that he exists, whether studying the Bible and placing faith in its reliability, or whether listening to our conscience and by faith knowing there are universal truths placed there by God.

These are not long leaps of faith, but rather honestly considering all the evidence and reasonably concluding that what God has said and revealed is true, even if we can't see and know everything. Well, our guest today in the program is Jay Warner Wallace. He's a former cold case homicide detective in Los Angeles. He is also a former atheist who thought investigating the veracity of the Bible and Jesus will be like investigating Santa Claus. That is, until he started to put his detective skills to work and found out the evidence about God, Jesus, and the Bible is beyond any reasonable doubt. Here's the first segment of the interview with Jay Warner Wallace. Jim, it's great to have you back on the program. It has been a couple years, though, and so for new listeners who perhaps didn't hear your previous interview on the program, tell us briefly how you became a follower of Christ.

It's a very interesting story, and how your LA homicide background played into that. I just was not really raised around anybody who could tell me much about what Christianity was. I didn't have Christians in my family, we didn't hang out with Christians growing up, so I'm like 35 years old before I really started to look at even Scripture, you know, to take out a Bible and read what it had to say. I was not against the idea, but I thought it was so ridiculous on its face that it didn't really deserve an investigation. In other words, I was a detective at the time, I knew some Christians, we arrested a lot of people who told us they were Christians, the few Christians I knew who were cops. They really didn't seem like they could answer my questions. I was pretty sarcastic in terms of the kinds of questions I would ask them, so I felt like there wasn't a really good representative around me who could answer questions. I just thought, this is like thinking and believing in fairy tales.

No one investigates whether or not Santa Claus exists, so why in the world would I investigate whether God exists? But my wife was more receptive to the idea, especially when we had kids. She had been raised in a Catholic setting, so she kind of thought, well, do we take our kids to church? We had been together about 18 years by this time, and I thought, well, if you want to go to church, I'm happy to go with you as an atheist. I don't know why I have to be a Christian to honor you.

I'll be happy to go to church as much as you want. I don't have to believe it, but the church that she happened to pick had a pastor who was provocative enough to get me interested in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, not because I thought he was God. Just because he convinced me he was a smart guy who had a lot of important things to say and happened to get some of these things right. I thought, well, I was happy to read an ancient sage who has wisdom.

It doesn't have to be anything more than that. So I bought a Bible, and I started to analyze it the same way I would analyze any set of eyewitnesses. Look, I work cold cases. These are unsolved murders in which you have no access. Most of the time, you have no access to the witnesses who were around 35 years ago, and you don't even have access to the people who interviewed those witnesses, although you have their supplemental reports.

So what does that sound like? It's like the Gospels. I have no access to the people who saw this stuff, and I only have any access to the people who wrote them, like Luke or Mark. So I have to use the same skill set to press in, and that's what I did. After six or seven months of this, I realized that these measure up, and I had to ask myself, what do I do then with this guy, Jesus of Nazareth?

So that's basically how I became a Christian. You actually said, and I don't know which book you said this in, but you said, the question is not whether or not we have ideas, opinions, or pre-existing points of view. The question is whether or not we will allow these perspectives to prevent us from examining the evidence objectively.

So explain more what you mean by that statement. Well, and this is how we select jurors, right? We don't expect, you know, if we are looking for a jury pool in which nobody has any opinions or biases or predispositions on certain issues, you wouldn't impanel anybody.

I mean, that's the problem, right? They're going to bring in 70-plus people. We've got to pick 12 for the box, maybe four alternates if it's a long trial. So we have to pick 16 out of those 70-plus people.

And how do we get there? Well, we can't find anybody who's devoid of an opinion, or I mean, various people have biases. But the question is, do we believe, and we ask them this, can you suspend your bias? Can you suspend your predispositions? Can you suspend any historical background you have with any police officers or with attorneys, whatever we may bring into this trial? Are you the kind of person, and some people can fool us and say, well, I can do that when they can't, but most of the time we get it right. We're able to put people in the box who we know are opinionated. We know they have a life history, but we feel comfortable that they can hold that stuff back and be fair about their decision. And that's really all you can hope for, I think, with anyone who's examining evidence and coming to a conclusion, including people who are examining evidence about Christianity.

That's all you can hope for. Jay Warner Wallace with us today here on The Christian Worldview. He's a former LA homicide detective, and now he's an author, speaker, television guest.

His website is coldcasechristianity.com. He's also for our Twin Cities listeners. He's going to be coming to the Twin Cities on March 1 and 2 for the Lakes Free Church Fifth Annual Worldview Apologetics Conference.

Tell us more about that, Jim. You can find out more about this conference, the fifth one in a series, and so they continue to build on the kind of interest that's there regionally, so I congratulate them on that. And it's going to be held at Lakes Free Church.

That's at lakesfree.org. You'll see it in the banner and the address for the actual conferences in Lindstrom, Minnesota. So I'm looking forward to it, really, David, because you know as well as I do that sometimes we get asked to come, you and I both, get asked to come and speak at apologetics conferences where somebody has got a regional conference. But there's interestingly less interest sometimes in churches than there are in people who run conferences. And you know that the best chance we have to convince Christians of the importance of being able to describe to the world why Christianity is true is probably going to occur in the local church where they attend every Sunday. So there happens to be leadership in this church that has taken on this challenge and have really built a congregation that not only is faithful and can worship with their hearts and worship with prayer and worship and song, but they're able to worship with their minds. And that's, I think, really a rare gift, even locally there, and it certainly is not the common thing you and I probably experience in churches nationwide, so we'd like to see more of this.

Yeah, you're very much correct on that. There's too much of an emphasis on the methodology and the emotion and an experience when Christianity needs to be driven by the mind. Well, you know what's interesting about that, David? I just saw yesterday, or two days ago, some people started doing some work on the nature of awe, and how the people who experience awe, wonder, are actually healthier.

And on several ways you could measure mental health and physical health. It's very interesting, right, that when we are experiencing awe, and of course if I'm not a Christian, obviously I experience awe when I look at the universe and the sky around me and nature, granted. But we know as Christians that there's some truth to this, because we've been designed to worship, and when we experience awe, now we have actual physical science that shows that we are healthier as a result. Now, I can't blame, then, church leaders who know this, we have a sense of this, that we want our worship services to bring people to that point of awe. And sometimes we do this by way of worship, by reading scripture, but there's also another way to do that, and that is to really look at the unbelievable evidence we have for the existence of a divine creator, and that we can be brought to a point of intellectual awe, not just emotional awe, and I think that that would be very powerful at all. So I can see why sometimes as leaders, church leaders, we move toward other forms of this kind of sense of wonder, and we do it emotionally, but it's really quite possible to also arrive there rationally, and that's what we're trying to do with these kinds of conferences.

It is that process of discovering truth can lead definitely to awe, isn't that amazing, when we find something out about God or Christ or the gospel or something in scripture, so I agree with that. Jay Warner Wallace with us today on the Christian worldview. In the conference, you're going to be speaking on each of your three books, which are God's crime scene, which is the case for God's existence, and then cold case Christianity, which is the case for the reliability of the gospels, and then your most recent one is forensic faith, how to share the truth effectively.

So just for the rest of the time together, I'm just going to ask you a question or two about each of those books to give people a little taste of what they might hear at the conference. Let me start off by reading a passage, Jim, from Romans chapter 1, a well-known passage there, starting in verse 18, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them. For God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes, his eternal power, and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, knew God existed, they did not honor him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. That's from Romans chapter 1, a very powerful passage, and it goes on to talk about how God gives them over to different things. But why do you think, Jim, that more people now in our society do not believe in God than at times past, earlier, let's say, in American history?

And what are the ramifications of not believing that God exists? Well, I think what it is, and I started to kind of write about this a little bit, is we have the highest American value right now, and it's kind of wired in our rebellious nature to begin with, is autonomy. We want autonomy, especially moral autonomy.

We don't want to be told. We are a kind of independent nation to begin with. We were wired that way. We broke away from another country in order to do that. So we are kind of wired for this kind of autonomy.

Don't tread on me. And so what's exacerbated that is our technology. So we are now an information world. We are in an information age, and in this information age, we can amplify our autonomy. We have informational autonomy. As a matter of fact, we can pick the kinds of news we want to tailor our interest. There's enough news sites out there. I don't care where you stand politically, socially, conservatively, liberally.

I don't care where you stand. You can find news sources that will simply be an echo chamber to your already pre-held beliefs. So you can isolate yourself in autonomy. Even in terms of media you consume, we have so many choices. You know, when I was a kid, I don't know how old you are, but I'm 57. When I was a kid, you had three choices when it came to watching any kind of media. Now, my kids have thousands of choices.

And you see, programming now is developing on social media platforms. It's on Netflix. It's Amazon Prime.

You've got all kinds of choices. You can even search and only find those media choices that echo your privately held beliefs. So we have amplified autonomy in the country, and it is only going to get worse, I think. And that is the problem, right? I mean, we are able to isolate ourselves in small micro-narratives, our own personal micro-narratives of autonomy, when in fact Christianity proposes a meta-narrative that screams for submission.

Just the opposite. Okay, J. Warner Wallace will finish answering that question after this first break of the day here on the Christian worldview. Much more coming up as we talk about God and Christianity beyond any reasonable doubt.

I'm David Wheaton, and we're back after this. I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being, practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things, just marked when they're born. That's Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. We ought to never become indifferent to the slaughter of the innocents taking place in our country. This is why we are offering a DVD series entitled Life is Best that will equip you to stand for life and against this injustice. In this two-DVD set are 13 episodes that address all the facets of abortion, from the worldview battle to what you can do. For a limited time, you can order the Life is Best DVD series for a donation of any amount to the Christian worldview.

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Monthly partners can choose to receive resources throughout the year. Call 1-888-646-2233 or go to theChristianworldview.org. Thank you for your support. And welcome back to the Christian worldview radio program. I'm David Wheaton, the host, and our topic today is God and Christianity beyond any reasonable doubt. J. Warner Wallace is our guest. He's a former L.A. homicide detective, now an author, speaker, and well-known Christian apologist. Just before the end of the last break, Jim was finishing an answer about how our society is so autonomous, so individualized today.

Here's the rest of that answer. We are able to isolate ourselves in small micro-narratives, our own personal micro-narratives of autonomy, when in fact Christianity proposes a meta-narrative that screams for submission, just the opposite. How popular do you think it's going to be to try to convince a country that is now more and more obsessed in its micro-narratives and its autonomy that they ought to embrace? How would you even if, for example, if I wanted to scream to the world the truth of the Christian worldview 30 years ago, I just had to do it on three networks. Now, how would I even begin to do that? I mean, there's just too many platforms.

I could never cover them all. It's just going to be harder and harder for us to convince anyone of meta-narratives. I think it's easier and easier for people to say, nay, nay, I'm going to isolate myself into my micro-narrative. And I think that's the problem, and that's only going to get worse as we go forward. And that's why I think it's important for Christians, like you and I, to be engaged in the kind of information world that we are engaged in. This is about podcasting and writing and about having a platform on social media.

And that's really what we all have to do. It sounds crazy, but I'm a boomer. I have to be an early adopter of technology if I want to be involved now as an evangelist. Because it used to be I could just go church to church, and if I could get on the three networks, I was good to go.

Those days are gone. And so that's why I do think it's going to be harder to convince people of the Christian worldview. We really do need Christians in all of these different avenues, with all these different platforms now. There's a lot of places that the gospel needs to get out. And that's actually good news. The gospel can be propagated and spread and shared a lot more easily now, because there are more platforms as well. So there is some good news to the internet as well.

Think about that for a second. David, we used to have to go church to church, right? Or city to city to do events. And now you can reach as many people from your desk if you have a proper kind of internet platform, and you know how to use that, and you're creating content. You can reach thousands every day.

Where I used to be, if I went every weekend, I might reach a thousand. So I do think that at the same time, it's in conferences like we're talking about at Lakesree Church, right? Where we have a tendency to separate truth from relationship.

And that is never as effective. So I could write an article and send it out to the internet. But because I don't have a relationship with the people who are reading it, it'll only have so much impact. But what happens is we develop, over time, relationships with people, either on the basis of writing every day, or at these kinds of conferences where you can actually get to meet people, and shake their hand, and be in a face-to-face conversation with people. And it's that combination of truth and relationship that I think is so powerful. So that's why I think that those kinds of conferences will always have the utmost value. Because if that's the place where you get to see people face-to-face, that's becoming kind of a dying art form of being able to communicate face-to-face. Jim, you talk about four categories of evidence that leads to believing that God exists.

Could you list those four categories and just focus on talking about one of them? Yeah, sure. So you can get to a place where you believe that God exists and still not be a Christian, right? Because there's lots of people who believe that God exists and they're not Christians. We hold a Christian world because we can test the eyewitness accounts of the Gospels, and there are four ways to test them evidentially. So for example, we can test them by asking, well, how are they written early enough to have been written by people who were really eyewitnesses? Have they been supported by other forms of evidence? There's only two forms of evidence, direct and indirect evidence. Direct evidence is eyewitness testimony. Indirect evidence is everything else. So like archaeology, all kinds of other forms of indirect evidence can help support what's been written. The third is, have they changed over time?

Or have they been consistent without change? Because if a witness changes a statement over time that you can't trust them. And the last is, does the witness possess a bias that would cause them to lie to you about something because they want to achieve some evil end? Now, for me, I knew right away that if you wanted to lie about Jesus, here's how you did it. You wait until everyone who knew the truth dies. Because you can write this late in history and there's going to be no one around who can say that this guy's lying about Jesus. I knew Jesus.

He was none of that stuff. So the early dating of the Gospels will take you a pretty long way toward verifying their reliability, because it's so much harder to lie about somebody in the presence of people who would know the difference. Now, interestingly, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus, that there were people out there, right? That 1 Corinthians 15, 3 to 8 is a great, great passage. For I delivered unto you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, that he appeared to Cephas and then to the twelve. And he also says, after that, he appeared to more than 500 of the brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep.

Really? So you're telling me, at the time of that writing, that there were 500 witnesses of the risen Christ, most of whom were still around so that the 1 Corinthians, the church in Corinth, rather, could actually investigate and ask them questions? Well, the early dating of scripture is so helpful, right? Because he's saying, if you don't believe me, there's nearly 500 people still around who are alive, you could ask.

That's either incredibly gutsy and risky, because he's lying, or it's just true, and he's using it as a point of reference. And I think that's helpful, because it is harder to lie about Jesus. And the high Christology of Jesus, the fact that Jesus was God incarnate, is pretty clear in the book of Romans and the book of 1 and 2 Corinthians. So I think that early document, it's clear that Paul is saying Jesus rose from the dead, and there were people still alive who could testify to that. Powerful evidence for the Christian faith and for Christ himself and the Gospels. J. Warner Wallace with us today, coldcasechristianity.com, also going to be a speaker at the upcoming Lakes Free Worldview Apologetics Conference on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2 at Lakes Free Church in Lindstrom, Minnesota.

Lakesfree.org is the website. One of the perpetual questions, Jim, is that people will say that it keeps them from coming to saving faith. I'm going to mention two of them. They'll say, well, there's too many hypocrites in the church. That's one of them. And the second thing they'll say is, well, look at all the evil and suffering in the world. If there's a good God, he would never allow such terrible evil and suffering. How do you address both those two objections?

Okay, so I'm right now going to give you 30 seconds. It's the last word on this theodicy, how we're going to solve the problem. People are probably not going to do that. But I do think those are absolutely, you're right, when we go to college campuses, right, we're going to get some version of those two objections in almost every question, some variation of that, right?

So those are very powerful. I would hope that the church is full of hypocrites. It should be.

And I wouldn't be surprised if it is. Look, we hold as Christians the highest ethical standard, because it's not ours. It's not my personal opinion. It's the objective standard that's written in Scripture and hasn't changed in 2,000 years. It's public.

It's available to everyone. If you say you're a Christian, everyone probably knows your standard because they can have access to it. If I'm not a Christian, I hold a personal subjective standard, how would you ever even know if I'm acting hypocritically? You don't know what my worldview is. For all you know, the jerk you're seeing is completely consistent with what I believe.

You just don't know. It turns out I would expect Christians to appear to be more hypocritical than anyone, because our standard is higher than anyone else's, and it's more public than anyone else's. But that's the whole point, right? It's that, yeah, look, I know lots of hypocritical atheists. They'll tell you what they believe, and the next time you see them, they've already violated it. I will not hold the hypocrisy of atheists against atheism as long as they're not willing to hold the hypocrisy of Christians against Christianity. The problem we have in all these worldviews are these dirty little things called humans. And we have that in common, that we constantly will violate what we think is our standard, what we say is our standard, because we want to cut a corner to serve ourselves. I get that.

Of course, I do think that the Christians will appear to be more hypocritical than any other group for those two reasons, high standard and it's public. Look, you can throw the dart against the wall and just draw the bull's eye wherever the dart lands, and I did that for 35 years. I always hit my target because I would just shift the target if I missed, but now I can't shift the target. The target exists before I even throw the dart, and so there's times when I miss it. But that speaks more to the value and the solid kind of trustworthy nature of the target than it does about me.

I think that the fact that I can't hit it speaks well for what it is I think Christianity proposes, which is the highest possible ethical standard. Now, when it comes to evil, the problem of course is, well, look, there's lots of ways to address this, and I think it is a cumulative case. Like every case I've ever worked, I've worked some horrific evil that people have done, even to young children. And when I see that and I have to answer that for parents, why did that happen to my daughter? Well, I think there's not a simple answer for that.

It's a cumulative answer. This is why this guy did that crime. It's probably five or six reasons I have to consider even when I make my case. And when you see any act of evil, you have to ask yourself, would God possibly have five or six good reasons or plans He's trying to enact?

Look, one of them is simply this. Evil to me as an atheist was evil because I expected everything in life to happen in 90 years. Everything good that was going to happen to me, I wanted to live 90 years pain-free.

If I got cancer at 50 and died early, I would see that as evil. But that's because I had a view of the world in which life was a line segment from dot to dot, birth to the grave. And that dot to dot line segment was what I saw life as. There's no life beyond this. Now, if Christianity is true, life is not a blind segment. Life is a ray. It starts at birth, extends through the dot we call death, and it goes on infinitely into the future.

We are eternal creatures. Now, you might have suffered some evil in the first year of your life. By the time you were five, you already forgotten about it because evil is always measured in the context of your life. And so you might have experienced a sickness, an illness, a surgery in the first year.

People have some pretty important surgeries in the first year of life, and they're painful. But by the time they're five, they have no recollection of it. It's just seen in the context of five years. By the time you're 90, you're way over it. Well, look, if our worldview is true, we are eternal creatures. That 90 years you think of as eternity is not eternity. It's just the first 90 years, a thousand years into eternity, that 90 years will be in its place.

A million years into eternity, that 90 years will be a millisecond. If the Christian worldview is true, we have to keep evil in its place, and it's minimized by the fact we are all eternal creatures. More coming up with J. Warner Wallace next on the Christian Real View Radio program.

I'm David Wheaton. That is why we are offering two resources by Cal Beisner, founder of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, who brings a truthful biblical worldview to this issue. Climate Change in the Christian is an 80-minute DVD message, and The Cosmic Consequences of Christ Crosswork is a 15-page booklet. One or both are available for a donation of any amount to the Christian worldview. To order, go to thechristianworldview.org, or call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Be sure to take advantage of two free resources that will keep you informed and sharpen your worldview. The first is the Christian worldview weekly email, which comes to your inbox each Friday. It contains a preview of the upcoming radio program, along with need-to-read articles, featured resources, special events, and audio of the previous program. The second is the Christian worldview annual print letter, which is delivered to your mailbox in November. It contains a year-end letter from host David Wheaton and a listing of our store items, including DVDs, books, children's materials, and more. You can sign up for the weekly email and annual print letter by visiting thechristianworldview.org, or calling 1-888-646-2233.

Your email and mailing address will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Call 1-888-646-2233 or visit thechristianworldview.org. And welcome back to the Christian worldview radio program.

I'm David Wheaton, the host. Our website is thechristianworldview.org. Just encourage you to go there to connect with the program. You can sign up for our free weekly email. You also get the weekly short takes, which are highlights of any given program. You can also take advantage of our current resources that we're offering right now for a limited time, whether it's the Life is Best DVD series, or some of the resources to do with climate change, Climate Change in the Christian DVD, or the Cosmic Consequences of Christ crosswork booklet. All of those are available for a donation of any amount to the Christian worldview.

So go ahead and take advantage of those. Our guest today in the program is Jay Warner Wallace. He's a former LA homicide detective. His website is coldcasechristianity.com. And we're talking about God and Christianity beyond any reasonable doubt.

Let's get back to the third segment of that interview. Jim, it seems that the non-believing world, of course, they have all kinds of criticisms about the Bible, the Gospels. There's copies of copies. There's no originals.

They're passed down through oral traditions. There's contradictions. It's not relevant to today. So you hear non-believers say those kinds of things about the Bible.

And I'm coupling two questions here just for the sake of time. That's part one. Part two is, it seems that Christians are less people of the book now. In other words, they don't seem to have the same appetite for personal study of Scripture when they go to hear the word preach, just more about felt needs, shorter, more motivational sermons. Why is this that people, let's say Christians first, treat the Bible this way when, of course, it is the word of God as it claims to be? Why is that? And perhaps maybe give a thing or two to someone listening today who has heard these kinds of criticisms from non-believers about saying, hey, the Bible is just a copy written by men.

It's not worth, it's not very reliable. Yeah, I think sometimes if all we did was talk and make the case for the reliability, and I always say I'm not politically active. What I do instead, if that's too far downstream, I think my job is to help people understand that the Bible is reliable and should be taken seriously.

Those two things in unison. Number one, I think the Bible is reliable because we have manuscript evidence that will help us to see, has it changed? We even have the accounts of this. The witnesses allegedly saw something like John, like Matthew, and wrote stuff down. Well, the question is, did it change over time? Do we trust that it's actually what was written down is what we have today?

And we can track that change, if there is some, by simply tracking the people in the chain of custody, as we call this in law enforcement, who handled the evidence over time, and did they alter it? So we know who the witnesses were, like say John, and we also know who the first person they gave the information to was. He had three students, Papias, Ignatius, and Polycarp. We know who the student of those people were. Ignatius and Polycarp had a student named Aaronaeus.

We know who Aaronaeus' student, Hippolytus. We can trace it through history to see if the message, the claims, the creedal kind of orthodox claims of Christianity, about the deity of Christ, about the nature of heaven, the nature of God. All these claims we trust, we can trace them over time to see if any of these people in the chain of custody, link, attached to link, attached to link, did any of them change the story? And I had to do that to be certain that one of those criteria we talked about, how they've been changing their story, was not violated.

And sure enough, it wasn't violated. I mean, the claims you so desperately think are true as a Christian have been true from the very beginning. These were the claims of the first eyewitnesses passed down faithfully over time to where you are today.

So I think that that question for me was resolved. But then the question is, why don't we take this seriously? Well, because we're in a world where meta-narratives don't change. This large idea of the claims of Christianity, that hasn't changed in 2,000 years. But we're in a world where people are more obsessed with their micro-narratives, what's good for them in their lives, what helps them live the way that they want to comfortably live. And because technology has actually helped us to amplify those micro-interests that we have, we have moved from objective claims that we used to bend our knee to, to subjective opinions that we hold very dearly.

And we do not want to surrender those. And so we would say that even if, for example, if I hold a view, and I say I'm a Christian, and the view is clearly not supported by Scripture. As a matter of fact, Scripture argues for the opposite view. I will now find a way, in a culture in which my personal opinion trumps anything objective, I'll find a way to reinterpret, to twist the facts, to find a way to bend that Scripture to my desires, rather than bend my knee to that Scripture. And I think that's part of the second part we talk about, right?

Number one, is it reliable, and should we take it seriously? So I want to do both of those things. Demonstrate that it's reliable, but then demonstrate that, hey, if you're taking it seriously, you can't just pull one verse out and twist it to meet your needs. You have to take the entire counsel of Scripture, and then when you finally realize what it says, be willing to bend your knee.

And those are the two steps you have to take. Do you think that Christians in the American church has been influenced by this focusing on the micro narratives of life, you know, the small little issues they want for their personal peace and influence? Or maybe you don't agree with that statement that Christians in America don't take the Bible as seriously as to be obeyed and followed and read and studied?

Oh, they clearly don't take it as seriously. I mean, we've done polls on this over, you know, everyone's been doing these polls forever, so it's not like a surprise to anyone. But interestingly, you will see that this is just about what Christians believe about the nature of God, about what Christians believe. There's a large percentage of Christians who would tell you that they believe in God, but not the God of the Bible. And you think to yourself, wait a minute, how can that even be, right?

I mean, how can that possibly be that it's true? And we see these kinds of polls out there all the time. If you ask simple questions about, look, if you say, how many Christians are in the country, and you're just asking for people to self-identify, they'll say, oh yeah, I'm a Christian. You'll get a large number.

It's a 70 percentage right around there in the high 60s. But if you ask those same number, well, what do you mean by it? What does it mean to be a Christian? What does Scripture teach on just like 10 basic points?

They miss those points. Very few who say they are Christians hold what we would say is a Christian worldview on major issues. Now, I'm not talking about political issues. I'm talking about doctrinal issues that are topped by Scripture. So we have a group, that group is much smaller. And while I think that the group who claims to be a Christian, that group is shrinking, I actually don't believe that the group who knows what Christianity is is shrinking at all. That core of the church, for the most part, has stayed about the same percentage for several years now. So what I think is happening is those people who never really quite knew what Christianity taught anyway, those folks are now jumping out of the church in large numbers, about a percent a year, and they're identifying as nones. You know, they have no religious affiliation.

But the last religious affiliation they had was Christianity. Well, because they never really examined it. And again, it's about, is this text—it's all about authority. Whose authority are you going to follow, your own, or the authority of this text? So we have to help people see that, yes, it's reliable, you can trust it.

And two, it matters. You ought to take it seriously. And I think that's really—we talk about this all the time when I'm teaching young people. I always say, you're going to have to help people see two whys for every what. What does Christianity teach, and here are the two whys. Why should I believe that? Why should I have to support that claim?

That's the first why. The second why is, okay, fine, you got a claim, and you believe it's true, and you support it with some evidence. Why should I care? Why does it matter to me? The two whys are really the Bible reliable, and should I take it seriously? So that's what we're trying to do with people.

I think you and I both would do this, right? When we speak around the country, we're trying to offer the what's and the two whys, because young people are done with hearing our what's. They just are.

The polls show it. If we can't help young people with the two whys, we're going to have a hard time convincing them of the what. So it's part of our evangelism now to be able to defend what it is we're talking about and explain why this matters when you're dealing with competing worldviews, because there's lots of competition out there.

So why does the Christian worldview matter over the others? That's going to be something important to teach our kids. You talked about younger people when you try to explain these whys to them. Do you find that younger people, let's say teens or even earlier, are more impressionable by apologetics?

And I notice you have a casemakers academy, which is for kids. Yeah, absolutely. You're right.

They are. When we were younger, it was like 85% by 18. 85% of Christians became Christians by the age of 18. And if you didn't become a Christian by the age of 18, you were a part of that 15% like me, who 85% chance you weren't going to be. Well, that age has dropped from about 18 to about 12, 13. And we know that from some recent polls that I've been tracking on this issue.

And Josh McDowell and I have both been talking about, why is it dropping? Well, it's because it used to be that the first skeptical claim you would encounter might be in your college years. But now that first skeptical claim you're going to encounter is while you're surfing the Internet.

And everyone's got access to phones by the time they're in high school. As a matter of fact, the number of college freshmen who enter college and identify themselves as Christians has dropped. The number of people who say they have no religious affiliation has tripled from 10% to 31% in the last survey. So what it means is that it's not as though we're sending our believing kids to university and the university is somehow pounding their faith out of them. It's that they really enter that university unimpressed.

They've walked away. And the polls show this. Anywhere between 10 and 17 years of age, young people make a decision about Christianity. So I think we have to start a lot earlier. And it doesn't mean we have to become these expert world-renowned apologists to help our kids.

But we simply have to start giving the two whys for every what from the very beginning. We'll cover Christian worldview and apologetics in their senior year. I'll put them in a Christian high school.

Too late. And typically we end up teaching that kind of thing in your junior or senior year. Really? We need to start talking about that probably in late elementary. And that's why we have Look Series 8 to 12, because we think 8 to 12 is about when young people are starting to ask these questions. And we need to answer them early.

Totally agree with that. I've written a book called University of Destruction for transitioning to college. And sometimes when parents order it, the summer before their son or daughter goes to college, it's never too late. God works in people's lives in many different ways, but really it has to be impressed upon them from just the youngest ages. And letting them discover the answers to these and helping them discover the answers to these questions and teaching them the doctrines of the faith so they have that strong worldview. Okay, we have one more segment coming up with J. Warner Wallace as we answer some of the tough apologetic questions for the faith today. So stay tuned. Much more coming up in The Christian Real View.

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Normal retail is $49 plus shipping. Go to thechristianworldview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Final segment of the day here on the Christian Worldview radio program.

Thank you so much for joining us. Our website, as always, is thechristianworldview.org. Just encouraged to go there to take advantage of some of the resources and get connected with this ministry. Again, the website is thechristianworldview.org. Today in the program, we're talking with Jay Warner Wallace, who's a Christian apologist. And for our listeners in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Jim is going to be coming to this area on March 1 and 2 for the Lakes Free Church Fifth Annual Worldview Apologetics Conference. That's a Friday night and Saturday up in Lindstrom, Minnesota, which is just north of the Twin Cities. You can find out more about the conference at lakesfree.org.

Again, that's March 1 and 2. In advance of the conference here, we're talking with Jim about some of the difficult apologetic questions of the faith, about the existence of God, the reliability of the Gospels. These are perennial questions that people have, and Christians need to be able to answer them in a reasonable and logical way, which the Bible and God's creation around us do provide.

Here's the final segment of the interview with Jay Warner Wallace. Okay, last question for you, Jim. And this one is one of those meta-narrative kind of big overarching questions, one just kind of pull back here from talking about apologetics today. I would just be interested to know your view as you look at America at this time, both in our country and also our church. Maybe we can just divide it between those two. How do you view just the culture that we're living in right now, or the morality in our country? We just seem incredibly divided on so many issues. It's a very contentious, divisive environment.

How do you view America, and how do you view the church right now in America? Well, we're looking at a lot of these downstream issues, and we're kind of just going, wow, why is this? And again, it's all foundational stuff that gets us here.

And the technology of the internet has really, I mean, I have a social media platform, so do you. And I've noticed that there is no kind of middle or discourse in the middle that's reasonable. This reasonable middle is gone. So it used to be that we would say, hey, I don't agree with you on that, and here, you know, I think you're wrong. Well, now it's like, hey, I don't agree with that, and you're evil.

We've pushed the boundaries to the furthest extreme. But think about it. When's the last time you had a conversation with somebody face-to-face, where when you're talking to them, they were able to mask what they look like by holding a mask in front of their face, and it changed their appearance. On the internet, this is happening all the time, Facebook, Twitter, you're talking to people who are using icons instead of their real pictures. They won't give you much, I mean, we are able to hide behind social media identities. And when we do that, we have a tendency to behave poorly. Because we are not having face-to-face conversations with people, there is no continuing relationship. I have to work with you tomorrow, I have to have dinner with you tonight after we do this, and the more we are able to isolate our identities in this way, the more vicious this course.

So I think it's part of it, right? The Church, though, has a solution. And here's the solution.

It's a tough one, and I travel a lot, so I have to really work at this. And that is this. There is no pursuit of God that is not done in community. And we have a tendency to want to step out of the way. Well, I'm on the internet, I watch Church on the internet, and I'm part of a chat room or I'm part of a group on Facebook, okay, I get it, there's some community there, but what I'm talking about is the physical, in-the-presence, face-to-face community of living life together in the context of the Church. Now, I'm in a church here every single weekend, but it's usually not mine, right? It's not my home church, I'm in somebody else's church.

So I struggle with this, I really do. This weekend, for example, I'm in Little Rock, Arkansas, at a great church, but it's not my church. And we have to remember that there's a reason. The church, as messed up as it is, and you might, whatever church you're in or whatever church experience you had, if you can point, well, yeah, I get it, but you have to love church to do this well. And you have to put down your own selfishness in order to love church. I can remember, I've been in huge megachurches all the way down to house-churching. There is no perfect church, and every church is perfect. So you have to remember that to do this well, the church offers a solution, and it is to resist this internet platform view of discourse, and to return to a family model in which we hash out our problems together.

And I'm going to see you again next week, and you know where I live, and you know the car that I drive, you know where to find me. It's in the context of those kinds of relationships that we find that we explore Christ together. And I think what we have to do is resist the impulse. You will never see me in public dialogue with skeptics online.

I don't do that, because it's not the kind of relationship that I can build from when I don't even know what this guy looks like or this gal looks like, because they've got some false identity online. So I think we have to see that there's something ancient about community that has even more value in the future as communities are being shaped by internet relationships. I think we have to go return to the past. That was one of the four tenets of the early church it talks about in Acts 2, that there was teaching the apostles doctrine, and then fellowship was just what you were talking about, that community, and then the breaking of bread or communion and prayer. Those are the four foundations, and I'm glad you brought out that one today.

And Jim, we thank you for coming on the Christian World View. We're looking forward to seeing you here in our home state of Minnesota coming up. Be ready. Bring your winter clothes. We have a lot of snow on the ground here.

Record-breaking snow in February in this state. So we're looking forward to having you come here. We're appreciative of all you do to bring out the evidence for the faith. And so we just wish all of God's best and grace to you, Jim. Thanks so much, David. I appreciate being on your show.

It's an important show here in Culture. Well, we hope you enjoyed the interview with J. Warner Wallace today and hope that your biblical worldview was sharpened by some of the answers that he gave to the tough questions that people regularly ask about God and Christianity. Again, Jim will be speaking north of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Lindstrom, Minnesota at the Lakes Free World View Apologetics Conference at Lakes Free Church in Lindstrom, Minnesota.

You can find out more at lakesfree.org. If you missed any of the interview today, you can always hear it by going to our website, thechristianworldview.org. And just a final thought on apologetics. Christians should be as sharp as we can to be able to defend the tough questions of the faith. And the good news is that God gives us the answers to be able to do that.

The Christian worldview is the most defendable of all worldviews. It's not blind faith that we have. It's actually, I think, a small step of faith to believe what God has already revealed. But even more important than apologetics when talking to a non-believer is being able to communicate the gospel, that God sent His Son who lived a sinless life and then died a sacrificial, substitutionary death for us on the cross so that all who would repent and believe in Him would be forgiven by God and receive eternal life with Him in heaven.

That truly is the good news. The gospel is what saves, and yet good answers to apologetic questions can lead someone to not having to take such a big leap of faith, at least in their own mind. So let's be strong apologetically, and let's be good communicators of the gospel. Thanks again for listening today. You know, we do live in a changing and challenging world, but there is one thing we can always trust in and count on. Jesus Christ and His Word are the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Have a good weekend, everyone. For our free weekly e-mail, or to find out how you can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, go to our website, thechristianworldview.org, or call us toll-free at 1-888-646-2233. The Christian World View is a weekly one-hour radio program that is furnished by the Overcomer Foundation and is supported by listeners and sponsors. Request one of our current resources with your donation of any amount. Go to thechristianworldview.org, or call us toll-free at 1-888-646-2233, or write to us at Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Thanks for listening to The Christian World View. Until next time, think biblically and live accordingly.
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