All posts in Apologetics

  • How Do We Know Christianity Is True?


    I was asked this question by a young man.

    Hello Pastor Zahnd. I have a question; I hope you can give me some input. I recently became friends with people of the Muslim practice. We exchanged what our beliefs were and how they differ. (In a friendly way.) But this thought has ached at me for months now. How do we know, as Christians, we are correct? How do we know our religion, our denomination, our practice is correct?


    Here is my answer
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  • Saints and Sages



    This morning I read an op-ed piece by a local freelance journalist entitled “Finding Their Religion”. In the column the journalist writes rather disparagingly about “organized religion,” likening it, as Nietzsche did, to “herd mentality.” The writer tells us how she vowed that her children would never be part of the religious herd. Instead, her children will be left to “find their own path” so that they might possess “beliefs they can wholly claim.”

    Yes, authenticity is the order of the day.

    And tradition, so soundly critiqued by modernity, is passé.

    (Of course it remains to be seen if Enlightenment modernity can survive the trial of postmodernity holding up the mirror and revealing [to its horror!] that it too is a tradition—the tradition of critiquing and rejecting all others traditions. The evidence seems to suggest that modernity cannot not survive this withering self-revelation.)

    In her column our interlocutor writes—

    It’s not necessarily a certain God that I want my children to embrace. I can’t say that I believe in the father figure sold by Christian religions. Or the beautiful, gauzy tales of Hellenic gods and goddesses. But I believe in beauty. I believe in awe. I believe that the world is bigger than the tiny chasm of my existence. I want my children to find spirituality in themselves and their surroundings. The wonder of a brightly colored butterfly and a dip in tepid ocean waters should always be reason to celebrate. The Grand Canyon should make them feel small. The suffering of others should bring tears to their eyes…[But] there are so many people, rushing about spouting off their certainties…My voice should be there. It doesn’t matter that my beliefs don’t come prepackaged in ancient text.

    Well, I believe in beauty too. I’ve written a book on the subject of redemptive beauty and I have been a relentless critic of confusing faith with certitude. But one wonders if this critic of organized religion will take the same approach to her children’s mathematical, literary, and scientific education? Read more

  • Credo

    I believe.
    I believe the Bible.
    I believe in Holy Scripture inspired by God.

    By why?
    Why do I believe the Bible?

    I know very few Christians who can adequately answer this question. If they are challenged by a skeptic at work as to exactly why they believe the Bible they find themselves on uncomfortable ground; their hands break out in a sweat as they fumble for a defense. Perhaps they go home, dig out a Josh McDowell book , cram for the “test”, try to memorize a few apologetic facts, and then head back to work the next day ready to explain why they believe the Bible…based on the arguments they read and tried to memorize the night before.

    But the problem with this defense is that it is disingenuous. As true as the apologetic arguments for the veracity of Scripture may be, it is not why they believe the Bible. The truth is, they believed the Bible before they knew a single apologetic argument. I doubt that one in ten thousand Christians believes the Bible because of historical, archeological, textual, literary, philosophical evidence. They believe in the Bible for a completely different reason, though they probably have never consciously understood this reason.

    I believe the Bible because I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and because I believe in the Church.

    Here’s how it works… Read more

  • The Road of Unknowing

    By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out not knowing where he was going.” -Hebrews 11:8

    God is a mystery
    Jesus is the answer
    -Paul (Colossians 2:2)

    Life is a mystery
    Love is a dancer
    -Larry Norman (1948-2008)

    Whatever faith may be, it’s certainly not certainty.
    Certainty is an edifice built on empirical proof.
    Faith is a journey on the Road of Unknowing.

    The “need” for certainty is a birth defect in the children of the Enlightenment.
    Confusing faith with certainty creates a lot of needless anxiety in the children of God.

    We walk by faith, not by sight.
    We walk by faith, not by certainty.
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  • Knowing and Believing

    Unless I see…I will not believe.

    Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe.

    The fig trees are budding
    The vines are in blossom
    How delicious they smell
    Rise up my love, my beautiful one
    Come with me
    Song of Songs

    People are often confused about knowing and believing.

    The atheist and agnostic will say to the believer, “You don’t know there is a God, you believe there is a God” — as if that were, aha, gotcha!

    Believers (yes, they are called believers, not knowers) often try to up the ante by saying something like, “I don’t believe, I know!”

    There is some confusion going on here.

    Let’s see if we can make some sense of it
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  • Letter to an Atheist

    The following is a letter to an atheist friend. I sent it moments ago. It is a real letter to a real person. The following is exactly what I wrote, with only one word omitted.

    Dear Tim,

    You’re probably right about the weak points in ______’s book. I honestly think many of your points are valid.

    Still I would like to talk to you for a moment about God. Not condescendingly, you deserve better than that, but from my heart. Please allow me to have my say.

    Is there a God?

    Read more

  • The Problem of Good

    Atheists and agnostics regularly resort to the “problem of evil” when raising arguments against the existence of a benevolent and omnipotent God. No doubt you are familiar with how it goes. How can a loving and all-powerful God allow so much evil and suffering? And perhaps this argument has entered your head without the help of an antagonistic atheist, especially when you have faced a time of tragedy or pain in your own life. Job went through this. Job doesn’t seem to have doubted God’s existence, but he did question God’s justice and goodness. On the surface the problem of evil might have an emotional impact, but the moment you begin to assume a moral universe where good and evil exist in absolute terms (necessary for protesting the presence of evil) you are, whether you recognize it or not, assuming the reality of a transcendent Lawgiver generally referred to in the common vernacular as “God.” And there you have it.
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  • Atheism

    Warning: Long Blog (take your time).

    I’m in Sydney, Australia. I’ve been ministering at Hillsong Church. I preached six times this weekend and I felt like things went very well. I also had a wonderful time getting to know Paul Scanlon, Pastor of Abundant Life Church in Bradford, England, Gary Clark, pastor of Hillsong London, Zhenya Kasevich, pastor of Hillsong Kiev and Brendan White, pastor of Hillsong Paris along with many other leaders in the Hillsong movement. It really was a precious time of fellowship and forging new relationships.

    So I don’t know why I felt a little sad today. I thought perhaps I was just ready to come home.
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