by Theodore Wright.
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
How do you know what you believe is true? I didn’t. So, when I was about 15 years old I left the “dead as a doorknob” church which I used to attend and became an atheist. When I was 18 years old I was a passenger in a car while another car ran a red light, hit my side of the car, and flipped the car upside-down. I thought that I was certainly going to die. Amazed that I was still alive and unhurt I said to myself, “If there is a God out there, I had better find Him.” This began my searching years as an agnostic. I wasn’t, however, going to accept just any faith as true because it seemed nice or convenient. I wanted proven truth. Therefore, I came up with a question to test the many religious people who came to me during my college days. The question I asked was: “How do you know what you believe is true?” I thought this would be a good and fair test.
I spoke with people of various beliefs who approached me: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, New Age Practitioners, Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Born-Again Christians and a number of others of different religions. So, I would politely ask them, “How do you know what you believe is true?” I would hear them out and then thank them for telling me why they believed what they did. Still, none of whom could answer my question adequately about how they knew what they believed was true. So I would tell them and then they still couldn’t answer my question. I came to call this the “stumper question”.
No one could answer the question until finally one day there were these two tall Born-Again Christian guys sharing the gospel in my college’s student center. After they spoke, I asked them the stumper question, “So tell me guys, how do you know what you believe is true?” This time the answer was different. They looked at each other, then looked at me, smiled broadly then said, “Because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead.” Believing this to be a fiction, for already chosen reasons of mine, I decided to ask them, “O.K., prove that!” They said to me, “Don’t feel you have to believe it because it’s religious but don’t feel you have to deny it because it’s religious. Find out the facts for yourself. Did Jesus Christ rise from the dead or did he not?” I thought they asked a fair question but I was used to looking into people’s religions and clearing up potential misconceptions. This time it was Christianity that was under my investigation, after having already decimated the faiths of those I spoke to about other religious beliefs.
A neighbor of mine named Kim lived just two doors down from me. She was a Born-Again Christian so I asked her if she happened to have any material I could borrow that discussed the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. She was glad I asked and kindly gave to me a book titled Answers to Tough Questions by Josh McDowell. She said that I didn’t need to read the whole book but only needed to look up what questions I had. After I looked up my objections in this book I found that this book not only answered me well but answered a whole number of other questions I had. I also found out that there were in excess of 500 witnesses that saw Jesus as risen from the dead and was testified by both Christian and even non-Christian ancient authors. Jesus had actually walked and interacted upon the earth after His resurrection for 40 days before He ascended to Heaven! It turns out to be a well-testified fact of history that Jesus Christ is bodily risen from the dead!
Did I then become a Christian at that time? No, I didn’t. Although it was that I wanted to become a Christian, since I had found the proof for Christianity. I was still unconverted because my belief in Jesus was not a personal trusting faith. It was only a mere intellectual ascent to facts. I did not know, as yet, what a real faith in Jesus was.
I had a Christian friend in college, who was older than me, named Steve. I used to think that this guy knew things about my past because he was a gossip but he seemed to know a bit more than I thought readily plausible. Eventually, I heard him say some-thing which was deep in my heart which I never spoke out loud nor ever wrote down. Yet, Steve did not know that this was something deeply personal to me. Having seen a number of things that the devil had done in the past, I had rightly concluded that only God could have known this and had given this for Steve to speak to me. This freaked me out a bit, giving me matters to consider.
When I was 21 years old, I was at home alone. I looked up and said, “I am going to drink my way out of this!” Knowing the futility of that, I said, “No, that’s not going to work.” In my brokenness, I bowed my head down in front of my desk and called out to Jesus, “Lord, I can’t do anything right.” I heard a voice speak to me. This surprised me but I was more surprised by what I heard the voice say. I believed that if God was actually going to speak to me I thought that He would have said something like, “That’s O.K., you’ll get out of it.” That, however, was not what I heard. What I heard was, “That’s right. You can’t do anything right. You have to let Me do it for you.” It completely stunned me, but I was desperate, so I called out, “God don’t let me drink myself crazy!” I felt a change happen inside of me and knew that I would never want to get drunk like the way I used to ever again.
Immediately, I realized I needed to find a new church. So I phoned a girl named Patty who previously gave me a New Testament from which I read the four Gospels. I was certain she could name a good church because I knew she had experienced a radically changed life in Jesus. I asked her where her church was so that I could attend it the next Sunday. Then I read the next chapter of the Bible in the same slow but consecutive order I had, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1. On Sunday, an hour before church, I had a little extra time so I read the next chapter of the Bible, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2. Attending the church, I found out it was a Pentecostal church and it was Pentecost Sunday. I heard the speaking of tongues for the first time in my life. God was moving and I was not alone in my experience with the living God and His Son.
As you can see, my coming to faith in Jesus Christ is based on the historical evidence of the fact of His resurrection. When Jesus spoke to me, He actually changed my life. There was no other explanation that satisfactorily holds up to this. The evidence is there. Death is defeated! This gave me something to talk about. When I got back to college, I shared the gospel. Christians were surprised at my conversion. I still ask people the “stumper question” but now I know the answer to it. So, please let me ask you now, if I may. You may believe what you practice is the truth but how do you KNOW what you believe is true?
Consequently, that “dead as a doorknob” church later received a new minister who preached the gospel at my former church. Long time church members, who were even 70 and 80 years old, received Jesus as their Savior for the first time ever in their lives. A mere acknowledgement of the facts is not sufficient for a transformed life in Christ. You must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of God. To be born again, you need to personally trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross for our sins to pay the full price for our salvation.
Reader, please know that true faith is built, not on feeling or fiction, but is built on fact. As the Holy Bible says in Acts 16:31, most simply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
If you want to know more about how I re-examined the facts,
read about my consideration of What really happened when I called upon Jesus.