Why Make the Case for Christianity, If God Is in Control?Tuesday, August 1, 2017
I’ve written a Christian apologetics book that makes the case for making the case. I argue that Christians ought to embrace a more evidential, thoughtful faith and accept their duty to become Christian case-makers. Many people, after reading the book and thinking about this call to become better case makers, have asked, “If God calls His chosen, can’t He achieve this without any case-making effort on our part?” I also pondered this question as a new Christian, and I think the following analogy is helpful, although certainly imperfect.
When my son David was a young boy, he hated mushrooms. If salvation were dependent on voluntarily ordering a mushroom pizza, David would never experience heaven because he would never, on his own accord, order such a pizza. In fact, I once took David to a pizza restaurant and cleverly removed the mushrooms from a pizza in an effort to convince him to eat it. He refused. “I can see the shape of the mushroom right there!” He knew it had been poisoned by “mushroom juice,” and no amount of effort on my part could change his mind, in spite of my best mushroom-pizza case-making efforts.
But what if there was some way to remove David’s hatred of mushrooms prior to entering the restaurant? If David no longer hated mushrooms, he would be open to my mushroom-pizza case-making efforts. Then, if I was able to make a “five-point case for the deliciousness of mushroom pizza,” David would, under his new nature (having had his hatred for mushrooms removed), choose to voluntarily order the mushroom pizza.
In this admittedly imperfect analogy, David’s salvation was clearly dependent first on the role God played in removing his enmity for mushrooms. But once this enmity was sovereignly lifted, David was open to my case making. God allowed me to play my role as a case maker, and David responded to my effort in a way he never would have if God hadn’t first moved.
God’s incredible love for us is evident in this process. God loved my son enough to remove his hostility, and He loved me enough to disciple and encourage me. Even though God is clearly sovereign, He graciously allowed me to play a part in reaching David. I got to make the case for what I know is true about salvation, and in the process, my confidence grew as I mastered the evidence for Christianity. God’s sovereign purposes and amazing love were ultimately expressed both in the son He called and in the son He encouraged.
This short article was excerpted from Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith. For more information about this third book in my Christian Case Making trilogy, please visit www.ForensicFaithBook.com.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, Christian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith.