I just finished reading a very good book, Faith & Reason Made Simple by Rick McGough. Rick makes the art of explaining the position of faith easy, although the subject is complex. Truth is simple, but the fallen human mind brings up many questions and makes many untrue statements. Faith & Reason Made Simple shows how we can deal with those questions and untrue statements.
Rick says the following:
“People are looking for something more than just what feels good. They are searching for something that is true and trustworthy.”
Everyone has an opinion, but can we explain how we know what we know? Can we do it in a way that makes people want to listen? We get tired of the bare assertions with nothing backing up those claims. We hunger for the real and the genuine.
I was listening to a Christian brother talking about the problem of understanding. He brought up the three-part human nature: spirit, soul/mind, and body. The human intellect is in the soul/mind part of us, but God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. Often, we will know things, and we would say that we know them intuitively. For instance, we know for certain that the Bible is the word of God without error, but we can’t say exactly how we know that. We know for certain that Christ exists, and we might say that we know this because we know Him. But we have trouble explaining how we know that our experience with Christ is real. We might say that we have faith, but we don’t exactly know what faith is or how it comes. That’s because God deals with our spirits, and He ordained that our spirits would rule over our souls/minds and that our souls/minds would rule over our bodies. Since God imparts knowledge through our spirits rather than our minds, we often know the truth but can’t put this knowledge into rational terms. We know by faith, but understanding comes later.
Rick McGough explains how science and observation confirm faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the rhema (utterance) of God. And God imparts this supernatural belief that we call “faith.” It’s one of many gifts from God. Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of this faith, and this faith is substance (reality versus concept) and evidence (absolutely certain proof). When faith comes from God, He supplies many confirmations of that faith through what we can observe. Rick gives an amazingly complete overview of these wonderful confirmations.
We can’t uncouple faith from sound reason, and Rick makes that clear. Without faith, sound reason is impossible. We must base all reasoning on truth, or the reasoning is unsound. In other words, we can’t say, “I made up X. Therefore, X is true.” Whatever X is must be true in the first place. And no one can self-generate a true statement. God must reveal truth, which is why all truth is hidden in Christ Jesus. Without that revelation, we humans are stuck in a brute beast existence where we can only react to our senses and memories. Pragmatic reaction to our senses works for survival and creating technology, but we would never be able to reason beyond our five senses without divine revelation. That is, we couldn’t reason beyond what we can observe and test without God to add the needed information. Both Jude and Peter mention this brute beast existence as a problem that happens without the Spirit of God.
Even those of us who have spent our lives testifying of Jesus can learn from Rick’s book. He gives evidence from the created world, the Bible, and history. Faith & Reason Made Simple is a textbook with many tools to learn how to share the Gospel of Christ, deal with questions and criticisms of skeptics, and deal with present social issues and world religions. It’s a training manual for Christian thinking and witness.
I recommend this book. Read it. Study it. Use it for a Bible study or discussion group. Pastors can use it as a source for many sermons and a way to keep young people from leaving the church. The book is available from several sources. I put a link to the Creation Today site below.
God led Rick to leave his pastoral role and to form a new organization to help with the work of spreading the Gospel and answering the questions and criticisms of the skeptics. He’s preparing people, from the youngest to the oldest, for ministry in our corrupted and naturalistic society. As part of this new work, Rick and his team have created http://localchurchapologetics.org/ to make apologetics materials available for children’s ministries, youth ministries, small group curriculum, sermons, college prep classes, and more. All of these materials are designed to assist local churches in incorporating apologetics into their ministries to all ages. He’s developing apologetics materials that are local church friendly and that simplify complex apologetics materials to help train and motivate believers of all ages.