In over 50 years as a Christian, I have seen a lot of people come and go from the faith. Some have been prominent believers who deny Christ and begin to oppose Him and His church.
For example, a few years ago I attended a debate on the campus of the University of California San Diego. A Christ-follower debated an atheist who had formerly been a pastor! The former-pastor-turned-atheist argued vehemently against Christianity.
In preparing my recent blog on “4 Reasons You Can Love and Trust the Bible Today,” I studied the story of Chuck Templeton. He was on his way to becoming the next Billy Graham. Instead, he rejected the Bible and Christianity. (For a good article about him and his book denying the faith, click HERE.)
Likewise, my former Bible-college classmate Bart Ehrman has become an infamous critic of Christianity and the Bible. I wrote about him HERE.
We should NOT be at all surprised at these defections. After all, our Savior Himself lost one of his top 12: Judas. He not only denied Christ, he betrayed Him in the worst way, turning him over to be killed.
After His betrayal, as Jesus was being arrested, we read: “All of Jesus’ disciples ran off and left him.” (Mark 14:50 CEV)
In observing deserters, I have become convinced that often their core objections to Christianity and the Bible are not really intellectual. There are other underlying issues.
I am NOT suggesting that there are not real intellectual questions and issues that people have with the Bible and Christianity. What I am suggesting is that often the real reasons lie elsewhere.
Here are three REAL reasons people don’t believe the Bible, and my responses:
1. They are bothered by human suffering.
Some, like my former classmate Bart Ehrman, admit that they mistrust Scripture because God allows suffering. Perhaps they or someone close to them has suffered terribly. They can’t understand why a loving God would allow anyone to experience such misery.
I gave an extended answer to this issue in three blogs, which you can start reading HERE.
While my heart goes out to these people, I think they are terribly short-sighted. They insist that God run HIS universe THEIR way.
In essence, they are saying that they know better than the all-knowing God, and since He won’t do things their way, they reject the Almighty Creator of the universe. Wow!
Everyone’s life is a mixture of pleasure and pain. Rather than asking why we are so blessed with so many pleasures, these people demand to have pain eliminated. When God doesn’t comply, they run away from home like a spoiled pre-adolescent.
The Bible tells us why God has not ended suffering yet: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)
Do you see it? Suffering will be ended when Jesus returns. But so will the opportunity to be saved. So Jesus is waiting patiently so that people will repent and be saved.
Physical pain is a warning that something is wrong and is endangering our bodies. Emotional pain is a warning that something is wrong with the universe and our relationship with God. Will you heed the warning? Jesus is patiently waiting for you to turn to Him.
God has given you a choice, and it is up to you to make the right decision before it is too late.