“Why would you want to go outside of Scripture for reasons for what you believe? God gave us what He wanted us to have in the Bible. Who do you think you are?”
Ouch, I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. Actually, I’ve had that conversation a few times. As it turns out, a lot of people don’t like the idea of having evidence to support Scripture. The biggest objection I’ve heard so far is that people don’t think we need extra-Biblical sources to show why we believe.
This past weekend, I went to the National Conference on Christian Apologetics. One of the speakers I got to hear was J. Warner Wallace. It was cool. And then someone gifted me his book, God’s Crime Scene, which was even cooler. And now I’m psyched because I finally figured out how to explain corroboration. J. Warner Wallace’s lecture was talking about how the origins of the universe point to God’s existence, but I think his analogy can even go a step further and show why we sometimes need to look for corroboration.
In regards to his line of work, J. Warner Wallace explained that when he is on the scene of a death and determining whether or not it was a homicide, he looks to see if the contents of the room can explain the scene. Once clues start showing up that you need to go outside of the room, you know the scene is a homicide. Dirty shoe prints that don’t match any of the shoes in the room? Bullet holes that enter through the deceased’s back? A gun on the person’s right side when the deceased was left handed? All of those things would point to the idea that there was someone who went in the room, murdered the victim, and then left the room. You can identify that the scene is a murder scene from inside the room. Why? Because if you look at all of the things that are outside of the room, like the person who was right-handed, the shoes that caused the prints and the person wearing them, and the explanation for how several bullet holes would somehow be in the victim’s back, it all leads you to a logical conclusion that the victim was murdered.
BOOM. That’s corroboration.
When I was younger, I used to have conversations with people about what I believed and they would ask me how I knew what I was saying was true; I would tell them I knew because the Bible says so. Yes, I recognize the Bible as being authoritative, and if I’m talking to a person who already believes the Bible is authoritative, that’s not a bad defense. When I’m talking to someone who doesn’t believe the Bible, however, my logic is circular. Why do I believe the Bible is true? Because God said so. Where did He say so? In the Bible. We can look at what is in the Bible and take it for what it looks like, but in cases when you are talking to a skeptic, you need to have reasons outside of the Bible to prove the Bible.
In the example before, it looked like there was a person who could’ve been murdered, but you really didn’t know for certain until you looked at what explanations were outside of the room and inside of the room. As soon as you figured out that the outside of the room all pointed to homicide on the inside of the room, you were set. Now, think of the Bible as the room. We know that Scriptures make a lot of claims. We know what it looks like it’s saying. It makes claims about all sorts of things: Jesus’ divinity, prophecies, miracles, the origin of the universe, etc. If we can’t use circular reasoning on a skeptic, then that means we have to break out of the circle. We have to look outside of the room, or in this case, the Bible.
When we do, we find an overwhelming amount of evidence that all validates and corroborates Scripture.
Why does any of this matter? Well, if we were engaging Christians who all believed the Bible was authoritative, maybe we wouldn’t have such a big problem. But not all Christians believe the Bible is authoritative. They might buy core stuff, but more and more often, I’m running into people who say they’re Christians, but think they can cherry pick in Scripture. “Well, there’s no way that all of that is true,” they say. Additionally, we’re not just engaging people who say they are Christians. We’re engaging the world in a dialogue about faith. We’re spreading the Gospel to all nations. We can’t just stay in the Church. We have to GO. To effectively lead people to the Truth, we have to show it to them. We have to make a case, and corroborating sources are evidence.
Disclaimer and more information:
Like I said before, the whole idea of the inside/outside of the room/homicide example came from J. Warner Wallace. It’s helpful to explain, and while the phrasing is my own, it all came from Wallace. Wallace is a fantastic author and speaker, so for a more in-depth look on what I wrote about today, check out this video . Additionally, the book I referenced for this blog was God’s Crime Scene, but his other books, Cold Case Christianity, Cold Case Christianity for Kids, and Alive can be purchased through this link.