How I did not lose my Christian faith

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by kendemyer, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. kendemyer

    kendemyer
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    Before I tell the story of how I did not lose my faith I wish to give you some background information for context.

    My personal experiences very briefly in childhood and high school was that I was book smart and so things came easily to me. At the same time I had a alledgedly "incurable" disease that made my life harder. This was a plus in some ways because when you face adversity it has a tendency to toughen you.

    I got saved in Bible believing church that was more experience based than many churches but nevertheless was a lot more intellectual/Bible exegesis based than most. I was somewhat stubborn but after a year of attending that church and after reading Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell (which was a very big deal to me at the time) and I became a Christian. I did read several Christian apologetic works that were of a more introductory nature and a few of them were quite good in terms of some of their material. But obviously they were still introductory.

    Now the church I got saved in had two pastors. One pastor called me "20 question Ken" . In short, I questioned my faith from day one. I even seriously considered walking away from my baptism because of my intense questioning and the pastor emphasized this was a among other things a big commitment in that you a publically stating you are a Christian for the long haul.

    I also had experienced at least one supernatural healing miracle that cannot be explained via natural explanation which made believing somewhat easier but was no cure all by any means.

    I later graduated college but struggled for several years due to my illness and other reasons.

    Soon after, I returned to get a second degree in computers but never graduated and health reasons played a part. During this time I took a course which spent half the semester attacking the Bible. I was known as "the bulldog" in this course by one student because I was the one who answered every objection publicly in class with the best answer I could. Yet the course had given "the bulldog" some licks to his faith. I had answered all the questions the professor had raised but I was not totally satisfied with the solutions. Eventually, I started to go to church intermittently with very long stretches of absence. Frankly rather than focus on all the answers I found, I had decided to dwell on the unanswered questions and not going to church was a bad idea. I also should have prayed more.

    I did find a job I could do that I made pretty good money at finally yet my faith was still not the same.

    Later this job ended due to a changing economy but the good thing is that it lead me to work for a sales/management training company which taught me the value of having a more positive attitude and to be absolutely persistent in the face of adversity. This attitude led me to search for a cure to my incurable disease which made things far easier for me once I was permanenty and completely healed (I prefer not to go into the details of the health condition I had. That part of my life is over).

    At some point in my life, I started to research the faith matters more fully but of course when you research any subject you find more questions too. At some point I decided to be very tenacious and persistent. I searched and searched and searched and still did more researching. Along the way, I discovered the important principle of finding resources that could provide answers rather than rely on weaker or more introductory apologetic works. In short, I learned to be choosier.

    My computer experience was helpful because it enabled me to do more effective internet searches although the internet has it problems in that internet material is often less researched and has more of a tendency to be errant. I started to gain more confidence because I was accumalating evidence but as I said before the more you know about something the more questions you develop. And as I said before I was a questioner from day one of being a Christian.

    I also found out that "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell had a few factual errors in it. I was very surprised even shocked because it was the book I treasured like you so it was disappointing for sure but it was not a crushing defeat for Christianity in my mind because at some level I knew it was an introductory work. At some point perhaps soon or perhaps much later, I had found out that Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell was definitely more of a christian apologetic primer designed for new believers and it definitely had it limitations.

    At some point I became very confident in my faith although I had some remaining questions. This occurred because I was not willing to settle for poor answers to questions but researched my questions until I was satisfied. Some questions require persistence. I also think relying on the Holy Spirit can lead you to solutions.

    I also started to engage in internet debating. I was a very tenacious debater but by the time I got to www.apologetics.org I was less of a "bulldog" and more easy going. Although I had taken logic 101 in college and related courses which make you a better reasoner (law, statistics, etc), I must say that internet debating teaches you via doing and you learn logical/historical fallacies etc. I also learned to question people and works which attack the Bible and invariably their attacks lose their teeth when they have to answer the tough questions.

    There was a period of about 2 years where I focused like laser beam on researching Biblical and Christian matters.

    I then read a book which made my mind more peaceful. It said that some people when they find bedrock to build their house/worldview are not satisfied. They want to blast beyond the bedrock and are never completely satisfied. In some ways I could see myself as the guy who wanted to keep digging. Ironically enough the book was co-authored by Josh McDowell although I cannot remember the co-author or title. I realized that no person is ever going to know everything in relation to Biblical matters because to do so you would have to be an expert in: Greek/Hebrew/ancient languages/ancient history/linguistics/all the natural sciences/theology/etc. In short, at some point you need to decide to have peace and rely on the good evidence and experience you have accumulated and not dwell on the things you do not know.

    Then later I had found an answer to my last Bible question that was bugging me which made me have peace because I am not one to kid myself into believing something I sincerely have issues with but given my previous educational/work training I should have learned to focus less on the anomoly and more on the compelling evidence I had found. I have learned that anomolies to my faith have invariably been due without exception to my ignorance and as I learned more they disappeared. Life is a learning experience though and some bad habits you continue to do despite their unproductiveness (the question I had was regarding Acts 7:1- 16 [especially Acts 7: 16] The information is now availaible at this site by the way: http://www.tektonics.org/TK-LK.html ).

    I can honestly say at this point I have peace as far as the solidness of Biblical Christianity. There is really nothing for me to dwell on now in terms of anonomolies to my faith that at least I am aware of! LOL


    IMPORTANT QUESTIONS


    I now have some helpful questions for those who may be in the process that I was in or who are looking at Christianity currently:

    1. How many Christian apologetic works have you read?

    2. What is the quality of the Christian apologetic works you have read? Are you trying to have a world class faith in terms of its thoughtfulness and ability to handle the tougher questions but relying on books merely designed for the introductory seeker?

    3. Have you ever gone to a theological/seminary to resolve a question you have had regarding the Bible even though you are not a student (they do not check your student ID at the door and are open to the public)?

    4. Could you tell me your 7 most favorite Christian Apologetic sites?

    5. Are you over relying on your most favorite Christian Apologetic sites?

    6. Have you ever approached a person who is very knowledgeable in Greek or Hebrew to answer a Bible question?

    7. Have you ever written a Christian apologetic site and told them in a friendly way that you are not completely satisfied with their solution to a Bible question and offered to co-research it further?


    THE REASON I ASK THESE QUESTIONS

    The reason I ask those questions is because this is the process I have used to answer my Bible questions. I think you cannot have it both ways in that if you want to be an intense questioner you should be willling to be an intense researcher. Thomas Edison said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Of course, researching can be hard work. On the other hand, it is very satisfying to find a solution to questions particularly the tougher ones.


    SOME RESOURCES


    Here are some written sources for anyone who wishes to begin the journal of answering their question regarding Christianity:

    Introductory works:

    http://www.tektonics.org/books/arsenal.html

    http://www.home.earthlink.net/~gbl111/books.htm (some of the books in the science department I do not agree with since I do not subscribe to Big Bang theory (see: http://www.christian-forum.net/index.php?showtopic=180 ).


    Advanced works

    http://www.tektonics.org/books/jaltusrec.html


    Here are some helpful internet resources:

    http://www.christian-forum.net/index.php?showtopic=180


    Sincerely,

    Ken
     
  2. kendemyer

    kendemyer
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    I have thought about this matter since writing my initial post and I came to this conclusion:

    A peasant woman in China will not have theological seminary libraries at her disposal. Yet if she has faith and acts on that faith she will see God work in her life. On the other hand, the Bible does say to love God with all you mind, heart, and soul. I see nothing wrong with scholarship. Yet, a true scholar will do his homework and be thorough.

    I also revised something in my initial post. My second question is now:

    "2. What is the quality of the Christian apologetic works you have read? Do you want to be a Christian who's scholarship is thoughtful and can handle the tougher questions but you are relying on books merely designed for the introductory seeker?"

    I do not think God demands every person to be a scholar. I also think that true faith if it has questions will either be be very diligent to seek the answers if it is possible to do so or simply ask God for assurance.

    Sincerely,

    Ken
     
  3. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    Good points Ken.

    I think we should be clear that one does NOT have to be a scholar to be a Christian. We should also assert that one does not have to be 100% doctrinally correct on all theological points.

    Regarding apologetics and scholarship I would make several statements.

    First, we would do well to remember that our faith is just that - FAITH. Christ said blessed are those who have not seen but have believed. The basis of our Christianity is belief in Christ because of faith - not because we have objectively PROVED it!

    Second, we all have preconceived opinions of how things are. No one saw the formation of the earth so it will never be absolutely provable. If we know in our minds what our conclusions will be before we begin the research then we are not doing scholarly work.

    It is my opinion that science shows that the earth is very old. This is not proved but it is suggested. If we insist that the earth is young and THEN decide we'll find a way to show it scientifically then our conclusions will be intellectually dishonest in terms of science. This is not scholarship - and will be recognized as such by those with any background in science.

    Thus if we would believe in a young earth based on the literal reading of Genesis 1 - then the proof for this is biblical. Why then must one insist that it be shown scientifically? Does not this person also assert that human accomplishment (like science) be subordinate to biblical revelation. So then why should the weaker be deemed necessary to prove the stronger?

    I do not see a problem with an old earth and a nonliteral Genesis - but this is my opinion. If one will employ science in his/her search for more answers I insist on honest observation. If science so far shows us an old earth then so what? Is God not still on His throne? I am willing to learn whatever God will teach me about this world.
     

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