Why Are You a Christian Believer?
by J Warner Wallace
I’ve been speaking around the country for a number of years now. I often address church groups of one nature or another, and when I do, I usually begin by asking a simple question: “Why are you a Christian?” The response I get is sometimes disappointing. Typically, attendees provide responses in one of the following broad categories:
Answer 1: “I was raised in the church” / “My parents were Christians” / “I’ve been a Christian as long as I can remember”
Answer 2: “I’ve had an experience that convinced me” / “The Holy Spirit confirmed it for me” / “God demonstrated His existence to me”
Answer 3: “I was changed by Jesus” / “I used to be [fill in your choice of immoral lifestyle], and God changed my life”
Answer 4: “Because I just know the Bible is true” / “Because God called me to believe”
As often as I ask this question, I seldom receive anything other than these four responses. If you were asked this question, which answer would you give? Some of these are good answers, but others are not. If you’re a Christian simply because you’ve been raised in the church, how can you be sure Christianity is true? If you’re a Christian because you’ve had a transformative experience, how do you know if this experience is truly from the God described on the pages of the New Testament?
As an atheist for most of my life, I learned to be skeptical of people who told me they believed something simply because they grew up a certain way or had an “experience.” I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, and the man I respected most (my father) was a cynical detective. He was (and still is) also a committed atheist. I grew up as a skeptic and noticed something important along the way…
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