OK, I'll take the in-vite. Actually, a couple of them appeal to me, but let's start with the low-hanging fruit. In this challenge, I take the "you" as "you Christians," not "you, DJP."
Okay, not really, not entirely. If the point of the criticism is that a staggering amount of so-called Christians (A) have very little direct knowledge about the Bible, and, far worse (B) don't care a lick about it... how could I disagree? Don't every one of here lament that very fact, week after week? Isn't that why the professing church is overrun with nonsense and tomfoolery in the name of Christ? Isn't that why "churches" with no Biblical definition nor mission are filled to squeaking, to say nothing of the piles of claptrap that pockmark "Christian" bookstores?
Though I'd not be as quick to grant the point about how much Bible "many" atheists and agnostics actually know. In my experience, the tally there isn't always much better.
I recall my first trembling encounter, as a young Christian, with an apostate neighbor. He was a much older man, well-educated, a former Christian. Myself very new in the faith, but wanting to speak with him of Christ, I asked him why he wasn't a Christian. I trembled inwardly as I anticipated the shattering blow he was sure to deal to my newborn faith.
"Those preposterous miracles," he said.
I blinked. "Oh?" I asked innocently. "Like... which ones?"
His answer: nothing. Blank. Not one example. So — as with most if not all atheists and agnostics — the presenting story was not the real story.
But let's grant for the sake of argument that 99% of professing Christians are dirt-ignorant of the Bible, and 99% of atheists and agnostics are experts.
So? What is that supposed to prove?
You see, for that to have any evidentiary force against Biblical faith, you would have to find me a verse that says, "Everyone who names My name will be an expert in My words." Is there such a verse? There is not.
Now, there are verses like John 8:31-32, which reads:
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."So here, Jesus does say that it is a mark of genuine Christian faith that one will continue in His word, know the truth, and be set free.
Now, turn that on its head. It would mean that —
- if one has not been set free, he has not known the truth;
- if he has not known the truth, he has not continued in Jesus' word; and
- if he has not continued in Jesus' word, he is not truly His disciple.
Which has zero evidentiary force against Biblical faith.
- The Bible itself is quite clear that many will claim to know Christ, but the claims will be false (Matthew 7:21-23). Calling Him "Lord" is meaningless, if the call is not adorned by obedience (Luke 6:46; John 14:15: 15:14). Yet many will do so, and will ultimately apostatize (Matthew 24:10-12). So actually, a high number of false professors confirms what the Bible says... sadly so, but undeniably so. But what's more....
- This admission from the "skeptic" will come in quite handy later. Because, if he's true to form, pretty soon he'll fall to ad hominems. He'll want to talk about his loony Aunt Betty, and his hypocritical dad; and then maybe it will be the Crusades, or Benny Hinn, or some such.
And when he tries this, well, we'll be all set, won't we? We'll just remind him that, as he himself said, a whole lot of people who say they are Christians really aren't.