As all plans and blog posts are “Lord willing” so this post is not what I said my next post would be. I ended my last post by stating that the gospel itself is an excellent apologetic. I want to explore this idea further in this post and, in so doing, demonstrate the methodology of revelational apologetics.
I want us to return to I Corinthians one and two to see what God Himself through Paul says about the gospel that reveals Himself. Paul tells us that the gospel is foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews (1:21-23) and foolishness to mankind in general (1:18). Paul goes on to say that the gospel can not be discovered by “the wisdom of men” and is clearly contrary to it (1:21; 2:1-6, 13) but is indeed a display of God’s wisdom (1:24; 2:6, 7) revealed by the Holy Spirit (2:10-13) which revelation is rejected by the natural man (1:21; 2:14). Furthermore, Paul tells us that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (1:24).
From this I want to point out several truths. First, the content of the gospel cannot be explained by any human origin. The Greeks would never devise a faith in a human, they longed for speculative ideas, much less a Jewish itinerant preacher who was crucified, the Jews would never invent a Messiah who was crucified by the Romans, and no one else has ever made a religion that was based on faith alone giving them no reason to boast in their accomplishments or knowledge. Secondly, this gospel is powerful changing lives in a way nothing else can. Not only were these phenomena true in Paul’s day, they are still true today.
I would then argue from these observable truths that the gospel can be best explained as a revelation of the God who really exists. The message of the gospel is unique in the world being of a different category of thought from all other religions or philosophies in a way that could not be explained by any invention of man for it is indeed foolishness to man (As any atheist will tell you). I would argue, then, that the message of the gospel had to have had its origins outside of human thought which is what Paul is clearly stating in the passages cited. If it is not human, then what is its source? Furthermore, the gospel is powerful in a way that cannot be explained by human activity or psychology. Not only are there actually millions of individuals throughout history who would claim that it changed their lives, but many of these individuals today and throughout history have observably changed in a most dramatic way through the message of the gospel. Not only so, but this message has affected the whole world and completely changed Western society. How could something so foolish be so powerful? No other concept has had this combination of being considered by so many as being so foolish and yet having such an impact on the world changing so many lives for the better. Indeed, there is no other idea comparable. I would argue then that the idea that the gospel originated outside of the mind of man and is from the mind of God Who is revealing Himself through the message of the gospel powerfully applied by the Holy Spirit is more rational than any other explanation.
I realize that this topic can be investigated further. One can give examples of dramatic change and make comparisons with the rise of Islam and the impact of the theory of evolution, for instance, or deal with various psychological explanations. When all this and more is considered, however, the best explanation is still that the Gospel came from God as a revelation of Himself. Therefore, belief in the existence of God is not only rational, it is superior to the idea that the phenomenon of the gospel can be explained without the existence of God. That is all, then, we can do, point others to the revelation of God. It is the work of the Holy Spirit taking the words of I Corinthians to work in the hearts of men to reveal Himself and apply the gospel.