For this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth
by Greg West
“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.” —Jesus Christ (John 18:37)
These are the words found on one of the oldest existing Greek manuscript fragments from the New Testament, known as Rylands Library Papyrus P52, which many scholars date back to the early 2nd Century. The theme of my website, The Poached Egg (TPE), can be summed up in that verse from that one tiny early manuscript fragment.
Either Jesus existed as an historical person, or he did not. The New Testament asserts that a person named Jesus existed and that he made certain statements and claims. If the New Testament accurately transmitted these statements and claims, then they are either true, or they are not.
CS Lewis put it this way in Mere Christianity:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
For the past eight years, I’ve posted nearly 10,000 articles that address and explore the truth claims of Christianity from hundreds of different sources—on topics ranging from the cosmological argument, the argument from fine-tuning, and the argument from objective morality, to articles on biblical archaeology, the historical reliability of the Old and New Testaments, and the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. If there is an objection to the truth claims of Christianity that has not been addressed on TPE, in all sincerity, I’d seriously like to know what that objection is.
Unfortunately there there are many objections to the practice of Christian Apologetics that come from within the church—one of those objections being that somehow it takes away from, ‘faith’. That objection comes from a misunderstanding of the biblical meaning of faith, which is not simply just ‘belief’, but ‘trust’ in what we believe to be true from the evidence. I therefore submit that apologetics is not so that we will need less faith to believe, but that we will have more faith to believe.
When the disciples told Thomas that they had “seen the Lord”, his response was, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” The next time Jesus appeared to the disciples, including Thomas, he did not chastise or reprimand Thomas for his desire to see the evidence, he simply to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:24-31).
Any Christian who objects to the need for apologetics training and ministries is either ignorant of what the Bible teaches or is willingly denying what the Bible teaches. In these last eight years, I have seen the Holy Spirit using apologetics to draw people to him, and also strengthen countless believer who struggle with doubt—“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
A private Twitter message I received just moments ago reads, “Hey, there’s a guy am talking to and he has lost is faith but and he is searching and looking for answers. I wanted to see if you any recommendations on where to start from with a person who is seeking but is more Looking for reasons to follow God.” I receive similar messages and emails on a regular basis.
Friends, in this last day of our fundraising campaign—which although we have not reached our goal, has been so much beyond my expectations, can and will you contribute a financial gift to help me continue in and expand this ministry? You can do so right now by visiting out campaign page at Give, Send, Go. Thanks so much to all who have given so far and to those who are praying. I’m encouraged by the outpouring of support!
We’re behind you, Greg! Thanks for what you do to help Christians know what they believe and why!—Lee Strobel (TPE donor)