Article by Mike Peters:
Prove it. These are two of my most favorite words to say when in a discussion about religion, politics, sports, philosophy or pretty much any topic worth discussing. What can I say? I love evidence. Evidence is the catalyst in a conversion between two opponents that will build a bridge for one of them to that juicy moment of, “Ha! I told you so.” Forget for one second the fact that this craving for evidence can be entrenched in pride. Let’s be honest. We all love being on the winning side of that “gotcha” moment.
Scripture even has a lot to say about evidence and namely evidence related to the person and work of God. We are called to seek after evidence. From the Old Testament teachings about having more than one witness to approve a matter to Jesus’ post resurrection appearance to his disciples and others, we see the importance of evidence in the Bible. John also instructs us to use the Word of God to verify others who claim to speak for God so we can see whether or not they are a false teacher. This is crucial as there is no shortage today of false teachers looking to enrich themselves by way of abusing God’s church. This driving force for evidence even shows up in our evangelism as we share the gospel with others. We give them all the reasoning (medical, logical, cultural) as to why the resurrection of Christ had to miraculously happen. And let’s be honest, how many of us are still crossing our fingers for even more archeological discoveries that continue to verify Biblical accounts of days gone by? Yeah. Me too.
As important as evidence is in the Christian faith, we must proceed with caution. Notice I said, “Christian faith” in the last sentence. Here I want to quote A. W. Tozer. If you’re not sure who he was, no biggie, doesn’t matter. (He was a good preacher, author and dapper looking fella. He also died in 1963) Tozer said, “In the living, breathing cosmos there is a mysterious Something. It is a Voice. It is too wonderful, too awful for any mind to understand. The believing man does not claim to understand. He falls to his knees and whispers, “God.” The man of earth (unbelieving) kneels also, but not to worship. He kneels to examine, to search, to find the cause and the how of things. Just now we happen to live in a secular age. Our thought habits are those of a scientist, not those of a worshiper. We are more likely to explain than to adore. “It thundered,” we exclaim, and go our earthly way. But still the Voice sounds and searches. The order and life of the world depend upon that Voice, but men are mostly too busy or too stubborn to give attention.” Could it be that as a Christian, I am now obsessed with the “evidence” that reinforces my position, and that is the stuff I live by? Or, am I living a life that walks by faith? Hebrews says faith is the substance of what is hoped for, and it’s the evidence of what is not seen. The author to the Hebrews also says it is absolutely impossible to please God without faith.
So how does this simultaneous pursuit of evidence and living by faith play out practically for me? (PSA, I am a sola scriptura guy. Worth googling.) Maybe the study of God (theology) has become my passion instead of listening to His voice. Maybe I am so into the Bible, that it has become another subject for my intellectual mastery (Paul Tripp, another guy, has called that “bibliolatry”) instead of letting the Bible be a finger to point me to the Voice of the Great Author. Maybe I have become so pragmatic in my Christianity that I don’t sense the need to stop and let His voice, the Holy Spirit, speak to me. Do I pray anymore? Do I sit in His presence and just listen anymore?
Here is the great thing about the Bible. It is timelessly true. All of it. If you doubt that, then I kindly declare to you that you are wrong. As good as that is, the Bible has quite a bit of grey area. You may say, “Wait a second, are you a heretic Mike?” No, not today, Satan. Let me illustrate. Who told you to marry your spouse? Who told you to move to that neighborhood? …. how about joining that ministry at your church? Or even that specific church? Why? Yes, there are biblical principles we use as filters, but the specifics on most of life’s choices…? That credit belongs to the Voice of God, aka, the Holy Spirit. Jesus said Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. (John 14-16) He always works in conjunction with the revealed Word, specifically where the revealed Word is not specific. We adhere to the existence of the Holy Spirit theologically, but are we ignoring Holy Spirit’s person and work practically?
We must live by faith. There comes a point when you will not be able to explain and prepare. This is God’s doing. God is committed to your spiritual growth. God is chasing you down with the “faith life”. He is working to push you out of that comfort zone of “normal” and make you trust His character as revealed through His Word. Has evidence become your idol? In this age of information and enlightenment, do our lives resemble that of a kneeling worshiper or that of an “evidence seeking” skeptic.