Can Christians be intellectual? The way God explains reality in the Bible is not in agreement with modern academics. Christians who follow God’s values face a lot of criticism, especially when compared to today’s dominant cultural narrative, which claims anything goes.
Dr. Andrew Corbett is the National President of the ICI Theological College in Australia and is a Doctor of Ministry with a degree in biblical studies. He recently joined us on 20Twenty to discuss how Christians can explore a greater knowledge while debating with opponents of Christianity.
“Whether or not it’s deliberate,” says Andrew, “Christianity is conveyed as a matter of the heart and not the head. We’re told to stop thinking and accept it by faith. This kind of issue can be a real struggle because people turn up in church and all they are taught is to trust and go with their feelings.”
We often move from church to activities like crunching numbers, placing chemicals in test tubes and other intellectually demanding exercises. A lot of people are living a dual life. They’re living a world in a world where Christianity is for Sunday, but the real world starts on Monday.
“Christianity is a supernatural transformation of a human being,” says Andrew. “The Bible describes being separated from God as basically being dead. The Bible’s word is to repent, to have sorrow over the way you’ve been living. To turn to Him is actually a spiritual, supernatural exercise.”
Christianity involves a work of the Holy Spirit. We often hear people say that no one was ever won to Christ by an argument. But Andrew disagrees. Hundreds of people have been argued into the kingdom. They were shown what the truth was, and as a result, have turned to Christ.
“Dr. John Lennox has taken Richard Dawkins on with a Christian worldview,” says Andrew. “Dawkins defines faith as belief, where there is no evidence. But faith is the evidence of things hoped for. Christianity is grounded in truth; truth is grounded in good reasons and good reasons are grounded in evidence.”
The most infinitely, supremely intelligent being in the universe is able to develop the best way to forgive mankind and bring them back into relationship with Him. That’s what Christians call salvation. The whole idea of evidence is important to Christians, and they encourage people to look at and consider it.
“There’s a homicide detective named Jay Warner Wallace,” says Andrew. “He said that what convinced him of the truth of the gospels is that they all differ slightly. In a murder case, if all of the witnesses say exactly the same thing, something’s wrong. These people are telling a story, not recounting an event.”
Andrew believes most scholars would agree that John was the last of the four stories of Christ. And John actually gives us an amazingly clever book. He gives seven miracles that Jesus did. Right at the end of the book, he tells us that Christ did many, many miracles, but he’s only selected seven.
“He gives seven sermons by Christ,” says Andrew. “He gives seven ‘I am’ statements by Christ and all of these people who were verifiable witnesses. I think it’s important for us as Christians to understand how the intersection of the place of the mind and the place of the soul intersects.”
“John says these things have been written so that we may believe. In other words, I have given evidence upon evidence, for people to have faith in Christ. Faith is believing something because there’s good evidence and there is good evidence to believe the claims of Christianity as they’re recorded in the Bible.”
“Any Christian who is asked why they believe has good reasons and evidence supporting their faith.”