By Grant B. Caldwell
We would like to take this opportunity to introduce a series of articles to be published here on the subject of evidences. The series was originally written for The Gospel Teacher, the bulletin of the church of Christ in Hilliard, Ohio. When that bulletin began, it was thought that before anything else was done, a thorough study of “first principles” should be undertaken. With this in mind, the first year was used to discuss the six topics said to be “first principles” by the Hebrew writer. (Hebrews 5:12-6:3) This series was the primary portion of the section dealing with “faith toward God.”
The series was written solely for that bulletin and was not intended for further publication. Within, however, the publication of only a few of the articles, much was being said about giving the articles wider circulation. At the insistence of my wife and brother Earl Robertson (associate editor of Truth Magazine), I discussed the matter with Brother Cecil Willis. The result of that conversation is the publication of the series in this paper.
There are no claims made for originality of material in these articles. Our sole concern is with our mutual investigation of this important question. Many are they who have been and will be taken by the claims of modern philosophy and pseudo-science. (I Timothy 6:20)
Reasons for Such Discussions
Reasons for such discussions ought to be obvious. However, I am persuaded that they are not always as readily seen as they ought to be. Even among many who preach, it is thought that church going people have basic attitudes toward faith and that there is no need to waste time in such discussions. This idea is far from the truth.
First, we may not assume that church going people have basic attitudes and dispositions toward the divine personages and the divine publication. It is almost impossible to go into any congregation and not find that someones faith has given way under the pressures of the society in which we live. How many times we find that all our sermons on Bible doctrine are wasted on some because they are not sure the Bible is indeed the word of God. How many young people are lost each year because there is not enough teaching by their parents, by the preacher, and yes, by the church on basic principles to offset the teaching of the infidel professors that teach them hours each day! How many of us live with doubts in our own minds until finally the unanswered questions become doctrine to us and we lose our faith! And how many of us are troubled because of questions we are unequipped to answer questions arising even from our discussions of the Bible with others!
Second, if we admit that in many there is a basic attitude toward faith, this faith is too often not the faith that Jesus expects us to have. If our faith is based upon the wrong things, then that faith is unacceptable in its nature. Such faith will not stand under the pressures of life. It will prove dishonest, childish, and insecure. If we believe that for which we can show no reason, we are prejudiced. If we believe only that which we have been taught by our parents, we are childish. If we have unfounded faith, we will be as “children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:14)
Third, we need to be ready always to give an answer for the hope in us (I Peter 3:15). Our faith should not be blind. If it is, our attempts to help others will only result in “the blind leading the blind” (Matthew 15:14) the result of which action all know. One of the major differences between the faith we have in Christ and that of heathen peoples is that the faith which is had in Christ is based on facts and can be demonstrated. Other faiths cannot be so demonstrated. Faith in Christ can be clear, honest, logical, based on weighty evidence and without prejudices if we will but carefully examine the subjects.
In man, God has placed the ability to reason. Not only has it been placed there, but the divine injunction to use this ability reads “Come now and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1: 18). This ability was used by Gods people to show others the way of salvation. Paul “reasoned,” “alleged,” “persuaded,” and “defended” those things pertaining to the gospel of Christ. (Acts 17:2; 18:4, 19; 24:25; Phil. 1:7) He said that all knew that he was “set for the defense of the gospel” (Phil. 1: 17) and his watchword was “Prove all things.” (I Thessalonians 5:21)
Thus, the Lord is pleased with investigations such as these and we sincerely trust that your faith will be strengthened as has ours by this study. Having thus been strengthened, we can in great courage and without fear of what men might do (Hebrews 13:6), “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 28, pp. 11-12
May 18, 1972