In the sermon "Needs of the Times" printed in his spiritual classic Holiness, J. C. Ryle addresses the "three great facts" that will always confound the skeptic and encourage the believer:
When skeptics and infidels have said all they can, we must not forget that there are three great broad facts which they have never explained away, and I am convinced they never can, and never will. Let me tell you briefly what they are. They are very simple facts, and any plain man can understand them.
a. The first fact is Jesus Christ Himself. If Christianity is a mere invention of man, and the Bible is not from God, how can infidels explain Jesus Christ? His existence in history they cannot deny. How is it that without force or bribery, without arms or money, He has made such an immensely deep mark on the world as He certainly has? Who was He? What was He? Where did He come from? How is it that there never has been one like Him, neither before nor after, since the beginning of historical times? They cannot explain it. Nothing can explain it but the great foundation principle of revealed religion, that Jesus Christ is God, and His gospel is all true.
b. The second fact is the Bible itself. If Christianity is a mere invention of man, and the Bible is of no more authority than any other uninspired volume, how is it that the book is what it is? How is it that a book written by a few Jews in a remote corner of the earth, written at distant periods without consort or collusion among the writers; written by members of a nation which, compared to Greeks and Romans, did nothing for literature—how is it that this book stands entirely alone, and there is nothing that even approaches it, for high views of God, for true views of man, for solemnity of thought, for grandeur of doctrine, and for purity of morality? What account can the infidel give of this book, so deep, so simple, so wise, so free from defects? He cannot explain its existence and nature on his principles. We only can do that who hold that the book is supernatural and of God.
c. The third fact is the effect which Christianity has produced on the world. If Christianity is a mere invention of man, and not a supernatural, divine revelation, how is it that it has wrought such a complete alteration in the state of man kind? Any well–read man knows that the moral difference between the condition of the world before Christianity was planted and since Christianity took root is the difference between night and day, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of the devil.
Whenever you are tempted to be alarmed at the progress of infidelity, look at the three facts I have just mentioned, and cast your fears away. Take up your position boldly behind the ramparts of these three facts, and you may safely defy the utmost efforts of modern skeptics. They may often ask you a hundred questions you cannot answer, and start ingenious problems about various readings, or inspiration, or geology, or the origin of man, or the age of the world, which you cannot solve. They may vex and irritate you with wild speculations and theories, of which at the time you cannot prove the fallacy, though you feel it. But be calm and fear not. Remember the three great facts I have named, and boldly challenge skeptics to explain them away. The difficulties of Christianity no doubt are great; but, depend on it, they are nothing compared to the difficulties of infidelity.
Post a Comment