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Why Have Faith in Jesus? Is It Reason vs. Revelation?

In his guest post at The Gospel Coalition a couple days ago, Jason Helopoulos wrote on Evangelism, Reason, and Faith.

I enjoy reading Helopoulos, so I was surprised to find him setting up the false dichotomy between reason and faith. His article revealed a mystical approach to what knowledge is and to why we have faith in Jesus. My mission includes helping people value their own reason. I have to argue against Helopoulos on this topic.

Understanding and Then Faith

Imagine that the Apostle John approached you and said, “Believe in Jesus. Later I will tell you who he was and what he did.” What would be the content of your belief? Faith must be in something. A level of understanding precedes faith. Faith then opens the door for greater understanding.

A famous 20th Century theologian, Cornelius Van Til, argued the reverse. He argued that, unless God exists, no understanding can be possible to man.

Why Believe the Bible? Evidentialism.

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In response to a previous post, a friend of mine asked, “How can you know that the Bible is true, that it is inspired by God, or that it is inerrant, without appealing to the Bible as the source for these claims?”

My friend was pointing out that Christians tend to make a circular claim: We know the Bible is true because it is God’s word–We know it is God’s word because it says it is–God wouldn’t lie.

Of course, this answer fails to address the unbeliever’s question: “What if someone else wrote the Bible and only claimed it was from God?”