Are you a Truth seeker?
Every person has a set of beliefs that shapes how they see the world (whether they think about it or not). And in one way or another, each “worldview” seeks to answer several questions that are utterly foundational to life: Where’d all this come from and why are we here? What’s the meaning of it all and what’s my place in it? Why is the world the way that it is (and, in particular, why is it so messed up)? What’s the solution? How can we know what’s true and real? Where’s it all going?
But these questions aren’t just Christian questions. They’re human questions.
Obviously every worldview has some truths. But only following Jesus leads to a worldview that passes muster in the categories that constitute a test for Truth (capital T, as in God’s Truth): logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. In other words, Truth isn’t just a set of philosophical, propositional statements — it’s only found in, and grounded in, the trinitarian theism of Christianity. It’s why we read the Bible here — the parts tell a unified story that leads to Jesus.
The name of this podcast and blog, obviously, is “For the Hope.” We take our cue from the writings of one of Jesus’ closest followers, Peter, when he wrote:
...ready at any time to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you… ~ 1 Peter 3:15, CSB
See that word “defense?” It comes from the Greek word apologia, which simply means “to give an answer.” And yes, it’s where we get the word ‘apology,’ but this doesn’t mean Peter’s saying he’s sorry for being a Christian.
Here’s why what Peter said was pretty radical:
Despite a veneer of culture on the surface, the Ancient Near East had a deeply dark side. Nations had centuries of conflict, war and revenge. They followed a myriad of gods who were fickle (and evil) — child sacrifice, molestation, and even bestiality were worshiped along with the gods that practiced them. And at the time of Jesus, the ruling Roman empire wasn’t any better (even pederasty was exalted). Famously, it wasn’t safe to be a follower of Jesus.
Peter wrote this letter to Christians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who were scattered hither and yon. And what is the presupposition in his admonition to these readers when he tells them they should be prepared to give answers for their hopefulness? It was because people around them would be amazed that they had hope in the midst of the persecution and suffering they were experiencing.
In Christianity, hope isn’t wishful thinking, it’s confidence in the object in which you’ve placed your trust. Or rather, in the person in which you’ve placed your trust.
Christian hope is based on a historical reality that Jesus lived, died, and rose again just as the Scriptures said he would. It is based on the testimony of more than 500 eyewitnesses who saw the resurrected Jesus (who were willing to die for this belief rather than recant). It’s worth asking, “Would they die for something they knew was a lie?”
On the contrary, it’s because they knew what we now know: Jesus conquered death, and those who accept his gift of forgiveness and healing will, too.
Here we focus on Jesus, Questions, Stories, and Evidence
Jesus (via daily Bible reading): The Bible is a collection of writings that all point to, or flow from, Jesus. We choose to believe (and read) it because it’s a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies, and they claim that their writings are divine (rather than human) in origin.(1) It’s spiritual food, and here we relate to it — and therefore Jesus — every day (using The Bible Project’s reading plan).
Questions to ask: Some questions we ask ourselves, some we ask others. It completes the picture of Christian community and culture — we not only relate to and connect with Jesus, but each other and our own selves. (Use search to find “questions to ask”)
Stories: Human minds and hearts are wired for story. It’s part of how we answer those big worldview questions and understand our story in light of The Author’s story. (Use search to find “stories.”)
Evidence: No worldview except Christianity delivers on all tests for Truth: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. No question is off limits. There are answers.
(1) This is nearly a direct quote from a brilliant class taught by Voddie Baucham called “Why You Can Believe the Bible.” Highly recommended.