Monday, January 16, 2017
Reaffirming Reasons for the Christian Life Journey
This week I am beginning to explore a book written by a former classmate, Wiley Graf, (or I should say – Dr. Wiley Graf), from my hometown of Barberton, Ohio. Looking back even to elementary school in 5th and 6th grade I can say I was impressed with his intelligence. So when I reconnected with him on Facebook over a year ago I was not surprised in the least that he taught engineering. His first book which I have been looking forward to is – 100 Reasons To Believe the Bible is the Word of God.
In my blog I discuss a variety of topics often relating to positive psychology which is a passion of mine as well as topics of living an abundant life. I have been open here and in my book, Living More Than OK, that I come at life from a Christian worldview. It is my worldview of belief in Christ as the answer to ultimate meaning, that draws me to books such as Wiley has written. He brings out in his forward the importance of Christians having a foundation of evidence for why they believe. I am thankful when I was a teen my pastor pointed me to authors such as Josh McDowell and Francis Schaeffer who provided sound thinking for a Christian philosophy of life to provide evidence to show that the Bible was trustworthy. Wiley here in his book builds on their work.
In perusing through his book it is no surprise with a scientific mind of an engineer, he first speaks to the laws of thermodynamics which relates so well to the Biblical message on creation. Those were always points of thought I held onto during high school science classes and college science courses that promoted the theory of macro-evolution. It is a theory not a proven fact. Why else would atheists have such wild ideas as Dawkins has speculated that space aliens brought initial life to earth -- check out his speculations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abugiGHOHg0
I won’t go through all 100 reasons here as I want you to buy his book. I will simply touch on a couple that stood out to me. The reader will appreciate a wide variety of examples from science, history and archaeology he uses in his book. My favorite is how he brings out several times the nation of Israel as a reason to believe the Bible. In one of my times of doubt, I pondered the overarching story of the Jews in the Bible. If you think about it here is this small people group, God chose for the Savior of the world to come through. During their whole history nations have tried to destroy them. Yet many initial enemies are no longer in existence such at the Amorites, Hittites and many other “ites”. Just from that standpoint it is a miracle the Jewish people survived through the ages and are now a nation again surrounded by enemies who want to destroy them. Think about it. Maybe the Bible is true. Also think about this. Why are so many people and nations against Israel?
Then another reason I enjoyed seeing is more experiential. It is the reason of “changed lives”. Reading what Wiley has to say took me back to my days in Chicago at Moody Bible Institute with Dr. James. One day Dr. James reminded us in days of spiritual doubt to remember times when God has answered prayer in our lives. No skeptic can take that away. If the Christian takes time they will see how belief in Christ has changed their lives with little and big miracles in their life journey.
Wiley’s book provides the believer in Christ solid thoughtful reasons to be secure in their Christian faith. Sometimes in doubt you need a reaffirmation and Wiley’s book can be a useful intellectual tool for that. The Bible points out that having a defense for why you believe in Christ is important. Here are a few examples:
1 Peter 3:15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
Acts 17:15-34 -- Paul here debates with a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Athens. Their response revealed that some believed and others replied “We want to hear you again on this subject.” Which shows it is important to be open in sharing while you believe in Christ but do so in a way that keeps the door open to dialogue. Too many times Christians browbeat and turn people off to Christ.
100 Reasons To Believe is a belief in Christ strengthener. It can help you as a Christian when you come up against the modern myth calling Christians “Believers”. That is a pet peeve of mine when I hear media types or the new atheists saying that. What does that mean “Believers”? It is often said in a snarky tone like Christians are leaving their brains at the door. Think about it—everyone is a Believer. It is just we believe different things. The Hindu believes the divine truth comes from the Vedas and they experience numerous reincarnations until they are absorbed into the divine. Is there factual proof for that? No, it is a belief. Atheists, are they believers? They try to pretend their thought is based on science. No -- they BELIEVE in inanimate matter that has either always been here or popped into being by chance. Their real belief is in random chaotic chance full of fiction stories of big bangs and macro evolution of a piece of slime plus millions of years turning into man. I am sorry there is no proof -- it is a belief. Go back to the Dawkin’s Youtube link I provided above. I read Darwin’s Origen of the Species back in high school and all that went through my mind was -- what an imagination! No proof. Christians are believers as well. We believe that God has revealed Himself in the Bible and personally through the person of Jesus Christ. We believe contrary to other religions that are focused on man trying to reach God; the Bible shows a loving God reaching down to man. Can I prove that? No, I readily admit that. But books such as Wiley Graf’s 100 Reasons To Believe provide a person with evidence to weigh against other worldviews and personally the Christian view makes the most sense to me.
Of course Christians need to remember what I have heard from Ravi Zacharias live and in his writings. Apologetic reasons are helpful but all discourse and lifestyle needs to be based in showing the love of Christ. Letting God’s Love show can win a person over more than all the arguments.
If you are a non-Christian reader I am simply stating my worldview here. I hope you can feel like the Epicurean philosophers and say “We want to hear you again on this subject.” I encourage you to check out books like Wiley’s and keep an open mind in your search for truth.
Reflection: Think over your personal Worldview-- be it Buddhist, Atheist, Hindu, Christian or whatever. Why do you believe what you believe and how does it help you on your life journey? Check out Dr. Wiley Graf’s website 100-reasons-2-believe.com