Sounds a bit confusing doesn’t it? Indiana Jones had this very dilemma. His father has just been shot. The only cure is the Holy Grail after going through several life threaten obstacles he come up to a very large and deep chasm. He only hint he had was "Only in the leap from the lion's head will he prove his worth." Before he stepped out on to the hidden bridge he had a belief that he would be able to cross the chasm. Once he stepped on that bridge he had belief in that was able.
Let’s use another example, as this is important. Your hiking in the Amazon you come up a fast moving river. But there is bridge. It is made of rope and old planks of wood. It sways in the wind. You are told it will be able to hold your weight. You trust the person that told you however you are unsure. You step carefully on each piece of wood testing it and holding on tight. You make it to the other side. You had the “belief that” the bridge would hold your weight. Once you crossed you have “belief in” that it will hold your weight. The proof is on the return trip when you cross you are not hesitant and you step with confidence.
Now relate this concept to your faith. How can we as Christian move from belief that Bible is true to belief in the Bible is true? Allow me to explain. I was born into a Christian household. I was raised Catholic went to Sunday school and Church on Sunday. I had belief that my faith was true. However much like the bridge I did not really know it was true. My faith was not provable. I would have given answers that were more heart felt.
Examples might of what I meant would be expressed like these:
What is different about Christianity? We can make the case from an evidential point of view. We have strong evidences that we should all know and be able to give a defense for our faith. When I started to study some of these the facts. Something I did not expect to happen my faith grew even deeper. It became something more than a belief. Suddenly I had a framework, a basis for what I believe. Just as when I crossing that bridge I went from belief that the bridge would hold my weight to knowing the bridge to hold my weight. After looking at these facts I now knew that was once a heart felt belief now has evidence to support it. I can look at these evidences as supports for what my heart has know and what my head can now verify.
Lets briefly touch on a few. First, we have early testimony. The New Testament documents can be traced and to have been written prior to 70AD. That is just 40 years after Christ’s Resurrection. Some as early as 55AD. With these manuscripts quoting creeds that date back prior to 40 AD. That is remarkable and unpredicted historical documentation
We have eyewitness testimony. These accounts give exact names, titles, places, and events that took place that are way too detailed to be a fanciful story. If these are fanciful stories why name names? These people could easily refute these claims and put the kybosh on Christianity forever. Unless these people of that day would confirm it than it makes sense to state people by name. It also seems that writers like Luke were very actuate historians. All the details that Luke has provided not one has been disproven. Some have been questioned only to ultimately prove Luke right. The Gospel Luke is a historical document second to none.
Imagine making up story about yourself and you wanted to be the hero in the story. Why would you add embarrassing testimony about yourself? Peter “The Rock” is rebuked by Jesus “Get behind me Satan”. The disciples fell asleep twice in Jesus greatest hour of need. Peter denies Christ three times hours after pledging to die for him. The list goes on I am sure your can add numerous accounts here.
Why die for a lie. The disciples were martyred for their faith. Why would anyone go to their grave to protect a lie. Why would so many hold to same lie. Surely someone would recant their story to save their life. Remember Peter did after Jesus death. He was scared and willing to protect his life. What did he see that caused his faith to be galvanized so deeply he was now willing to die for it?
The Old Testament predicts this would all occur. Only Jesus fits the prophesy of the Old Testament. We have passages from Isaiah that predate Jesus by 150 years.
Lastly, we have extra biblical resources that discus Jesus. Josephus, Tacitus, Thallus, Suetonius, Emperor Trajan, Pliny the Younger, and other all confirming: Jesus lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar, He lived a virtuous life, He was a wonder worker, He had a brother names James, He was acclaimed to be the Messiah, Crucified under Pontius Pilate. An eclipse and earth wake took place when he died, He was crucified on the eve of Passover, His disciples believe he rose from the dead, They were willing to die for this belief, Christianity spread rapidly.
Okay so take any one of these topics above and they may not present the strongest of cases. But when you add them all up and consider all the evidence you have an excellent case to be made. Studying these topics in depth will move you from belief that to belief in. It will give the confidence you need to be bold in your and that the bridge will not give way under your weight. You will be able cross it not hesitant and step with confidence.
Author - Guy Yasika
Looking to profess my faith to anyone that will listen.