Harder Than It Needs to Be

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One way to prepare for challenges when witnessing is to imagine the hardest cases, and then solve them. If the hard challenges never materialize, our job is that much easier.

Mike Matthews

Mike Matthews
Editor in Chief

Our magazine is about helping “to equip readers” with “practical answers” so they can “confidently” communicate the gospel and biblical authority “with accuracy” (see purpose statement on p. 7). I want to be equipped, too. For me, this begins by coming up with the most difficult challenges I can imagine, and then figuring out the answer.

It’s like training for Mount Everest and then joining someone on a hike up a local hill. If you’re prepared for the tough climb, you can relax on the easier ones.

Just this month, I was asked to counsel an elderly skeptic who had visited our church services. As I went to the counseling room, I held my breath and said a quick prayer. My mind raced through the common attacks and the basic answers. Was I ready?

Answers When None Is Needed

That mindset—to identify the hardest cases and come up with answers—was behind this issue’s article assignment, “Digging Past the Doubts.” It was originally titled “Five Reasons Archaeologists Say the Old Testament Is Wrong.” The goal was to warn readers where professional archaeologists say the Bible is clearly wrong.

Here’s what I told the author in the original assignment: “Rather than focusing on the most amazing findings, we thought it might help to bring readers up to speed on the five most common attacks on the Bible’s accuracy, from the most knowledgeable modern archaeologists. Readers may not realize how the landscape has changed; and if they go out like unprepared sheep with outdated knowledge, they might get savaged by the wolves.”

We were privileged to get help from Dr. Bryant Wood, research director of the Associates for Biblical Research. His answer surprised me. I had expected him to say something like this: “Archaeological evidence is incomplete, so we must trust the Bible anyway. It has a good track record. Past attacks, such as denying the existence of the Hittites, have proved unfounded with new discoveries.”

Instead, Dr. Wood said that the evidence already exists. The problem is that most archaeologists are looking in the wrong places or assigning the wrong dates. That’s pretty cool!

Giving answers isn’t always as hard as we might expect. God has already given us the basics (John 16:13; 2 Timothy 3:16–17) and promises to help us (1 John 2:27).

During my counseling session, the skeptic asked me some tough questions, like the death of “innocent” children. But since I had already studied the hardest questions, I felt ready. I kept the focus on God’s Word. He has claimed to be good and loving, and He proved it through the atoning death of His Son.

God doesn’t have to explain everything to our satisfaction. It is pride to demand more before we’ll trust Him.

The skeptic agreed that pride is a huge problem among skeptics. And he admitted that, of all religions, Christianity seems to have the most compelling answers.

So the discussion wasn’t as hard as I expected. The rest is up to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. God has given us powerful answers if we start with the authority of His Word. Further study of the toughest questions from science and archaeology simply enhances our ability to communicate the gospel with confidence and charity.

Next Issue

One of the hallmarks of a viable scientific theory is that it makes successful predictions. In the January issue you’ll read about the most significant modern predictions by creationists that later proved true. Also read about the role of Ancient Near Eastern writings in understanding Scripture and some funky animals that can only be explained by a Creator.

Answers Magazine

October–December 2015

Learn what the Bible really teaches about caring for the environment and read the shocking results of a survey showing what the twentysomethings in your church believe.

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