|(Scroll down to the bottom to watch the Gary Habermas – Anthony Flew Debate)|
I was introduced to God personally at age 4. I know, that may seem strange to those who don’t know that God actively pursues relationship and connection with His Creatures!My mother was not a Christian, but she encountered God when I was 1 and 1/2 years old. She led me in a prayer “inviting Jesus into my heart” when I was 4. There has been interaction between the Creator and myself ever since.When I got to high school my friends were the “intellectual type.” They questioned my faith intensely. “Why not Buddha or any of the countless other god’s?” they said. “How do you know the Bible is True, how do you really know about Jesus? Whey would God send everyone other than Christians to hell?”
This questioning sent me on a journey of personal crisis. I found within myself a longing for truth. My mother believing something wasn’t good enough. What the rest of my culture said wasn’t good enough. What the whole world said wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want anybodies opinion, I wanted to know what was true.
I used to sit in an old Blue Ford Pickup Truck out in a parking lot and demand that God show Himself to me in person. I cried out. I cried. I sought. I longed. I yearned. I felt lost. Wasn’t there an answer?
One day I was sharing my doubts with a friend and mentor as we camped in the woods of Northern Michigan. He introduced a radical idea to me. I asked him “why should I believe in the Bible and Christianity?” He told me “because of the evidence!” Evidence? I was shocked. Is there evidence?
This led me on another path where I discovered that many people were going around saying “How do you know your religion is true and not somebody else’s” and “the Bible is full of errors and no different from other religion’s holy books”, but few had actually investigated anything at all. They were usually repeating their college professors.
I read Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell; I read The Resurrection Factor by Josh McDowell; I read Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate by Gary R. Habermas and Antony G. N. Flew (which is a debate between an atheist and a Resurrection Advocate). These are dangerously persuasive books.
I read He Is There and He Is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer and learned about Epistemology and Reason in discovering God.
The case was launched to win my mind. I started to see that Christianity was reasonable. It was reasonable to believe in the literal life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is possible to reasonably believe in God. It is not a matter of “blind faith.” God is reasonable. There is historical evidence.
This pursuit was good for me, and I would recommend it, but it was not enough. Something deep inside me needed MORE! I used to tell my friends that I was 99.999999% convinced about Christianity, Jesus, the Resurrection, and the Bible and I was placing all of my chips on that spot. What did I have to lose?
My soul was still starving. My quest continued.
“God, I want to see you!”
Then it started to happen. I began to encounter God! Internally, I started to know Him!
I remember standing in front of a crowded room, staring up at the ceiling, looking into the eyes of God and beginning to fall in love with Him! (not a literal vision, but an internal “revelation.”)
This went way beyond a mere “religious experience.” It was not always emotional.
For three years I immersed in God, the Bible, and worship, falling more and more in Love with my Creator.
In the midst of that 3 years I had a moment of revelation. I was at a university and I met two students who began to launch at me the same questions my friends had asked me in High School. They kept mentioning their professor.
I found myself arguing rather fluently the Case for God and for Jesus Christ. They grew a bit timid. I was shocked. Then they pulled out their Big Bomb. “You need to talk to our professor.” Out of my mouth came something like this: “Your professor is probably smarter than me, he probably is a better debater than me, he may know more information than me; but he would have more luck proving to me that you don’t exist than that God doesn’t. You could be a hallucination, but I know God!” They stood there and looked at me with some pretty silly grins. I don’t think they knew what to do with that. I was never once mean or angry with them.
I am not talking about an emotional experience, I am talking about an internal Revelation and Knowing. I have been unable to doubt the existence of God in the 15ish years that have followed! That is right, I said unable.
I personally believe that everyone has a drop of this “knowing” inside them. Everyone knows God is there. I know some will take issue with that, and I respect that they disagree. But I also submit that it is within us all.
I personally believe that when we all face the judgment on Judgment Day we will realize that God is and always has been Plain and Obvious to all, both in our Hearts and in Creation.
I believe in God because it is reasonable to do so. I believe in God because of the historical testimonial evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe in God because of Internal Revelation and Knowing (also known as the Testimony of the Holy Spirit).
God is there. He is not silent. Jesus literally walked the earth. He was 100% human and 100% Creator God. He literally died to pay for every drop of sin and evil in each individual’s past, present and future. He literally, historically came back to life, shattering the power of death for all time. He is literally going to return to earth to judge the living and the dead. There is literally grace and forgiveness being offered to all. There is literally an accounting to God after death and an Eternal Judgment for all who refuse the Grace that is offered.
I believe it. I have bought it all hook, line and sinker. Jesus is not a crutch for me, He is the stretcher that carried me out of the Grave and into New Life.
I am not threatened by those who say they don’t believe, although I think they are missing out.
Jesus (Yeshua!) is real and knowable! He is the living representation of God and He is God – and I believe in Him and love Him and am delighted to be considered a “Fool for Christ.”
Here are the videos of the 1980’s Gary Habermas and Anthony Flew Debate: