One Reason for Ineffective Christians

Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.   For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Taken from the apostle Paul’s opening letter to the Romans (Romans 1:19, 20 – NIV), many Christians think Paul teaches the following themes:
1)   God has already revealed himself to everyone.
2)   The rejection of God is solely a heart (will) process and not a mind-problem issue.
The final result is the death of Christian apologetics as a meaningful ministry in the minds of many Christians.   Now really – why should anyone ever attempt to give evidence for God if God has already showed himself to everyone?  And if the rejection of God does not involve the mind – why should anyone even attempt to answer the critic if the real gatekeeper to belief is the heart and not the mind?
These are real questions and reasons why many Christians are not involved with apologetics, despite the fact Paul’s ministry is full of examples that he stood for the defense of the gospel (Phil 1:17; Acts 17:1-4).   Yet even with Paul’s example to the Greek intellectuals on Mars Hill (Acts 17:16-34), some ministers have been so publically bold to claim that Paul wasted his time there.  But did he?  Since Paul was Holy-Spirit inspired to write most of the New Testament and be led by the Spirit in his missionary journeys (Acts 16:9), could he had been so mistaken in Athens?  There was a church started there after his Athens discourse (Acts 17:32-34).  Some did come to faith from Paul’s intellectual arguments.
If Satan used scriptures to tempt Christ (Matt 4:6), could he also use scriptures to confuse followers of Christ today?  Satan is the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  Now before I proceed with a commentary I have never read or heard from a Christian pulpit, let me emphasize that many Christians believe that Romans 1:19 and 20 accurately describe our world today and simultaneously deny the applicability of other scriptures involving the works of the Holy Spirit for our time.  Why not consider flipping this?  Could not the Holy Spirit be just as active today as He was in Acts, while instead Romans 1:19 and 20 may not completely and accurately describe our present situation?  Could it be possible that from the creation of the world up to Paul’s time and following for two thousand years Romans 1:19 and 20 was absolutely true, but is not exactly today?  This does not imply that God’s Word is now faulty and no longer true today.  It does suggest that something about us has changed that Romans 1:19 and 20 does not accurately describe.  Let us now investigate what that could be.


As a historical fact, Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired Romans passage from creation up to the year 1859 was true.  The changes following 1859 were very slow at first.   In fact, Paul’s claim was still true for most people after 1859 and even close to our time.   So what happened in 1859?   Answer – Charles Darwin published his The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection Or The Preservation of Favoured Races in The Struggle for Life.   In Paulean terms, men’s minds were beginning to be taken captive (2 Timothy 2:26).  This suggests that men’s rebellion against God could include a mind-problem issue.
We see this today despite the most amazing microscopic biological systems discovered that also challenge the basic notion of natural selection.   Yet with this, the secularist publically announces “Evolution is amazing!”  Without realizing it, evolution has become the secularist’s god-of-the-gaps.  Paul’s Romans 1:19 and 20 passage suggest that people could clearly see God’s works in nature once.  Now people’s perception of God may not be so obvious.
One secular science writer, Dr. Michael Denton, explained the major cause for our God-rejecting culture. “The triumph of evolution meant the end of the traditional belief in the world as a purposeful created order – the so-called teleological outlook which had been predominant in the western world for two millennia.  According to Darwin, all the design, order and complexity of life and the eerie purposefulness of living systems were the result of a simple blind random process – natural selection.”1   Dr. Denton then summarized, “Chance and design are antithetical concepts, and the decline in religious belief can probably be attributed more to the propagation and advocacy by the intellectual and scientific community of the Darwinian version of evolution than to any other single factor.“2
The wise King Solomon would agree.  “The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him” (Proverbs 18:17 – NIV).  So while the academics and intellectuals have been busy with their creation story, most Christians have failed to question them or promote the ministries that do.  According to Solomon, without questions, the first seems right.  This then suggests that the accelerated growth of our very secular culture is to be blamed on Christian silence – a failure to question and give an apologetic.
The apostle Paul explained how and why mind-problems should be addressed.  “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who had taken them captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:24 – 26 – NIV).  Satan, the father of lies, takes people prisoners primarily by their minds.
If God’s Special Revelation (the Bible) can be twisted, could God’s General Revelation (created order) also be twisted?  This is God’s works that Paul referred to in Romans 1:19 and 20.  According to the Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, we must help people see the evidence for God first before they will accept our evangelism.  In his words, In our day, we must first establish the existence of God.  Only then can we present the evidence that Jesus is God incarnate3.
Lee Strobel was an atheist that became a Christian.  Charles Templeton was once Billy Graham’s preaching companion. Templeton confessed that he had growing doubts that resulted in him becoming an agnostic.  His book is titled: Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith.  Seemingly the final straw that broke his faith occurred when he saw a Life magazine photo of an African mother holding her dead baby in drought-stricken conditions.   His question–“How could a loving God allow a poor African mother’s child die of starvation when all they needed was rain?”
Strobel asked Templeton if he would like to believe.  “‘Of course!’ he exclaimed…  ‘If I could, I would.  I’m eighty-three years old.  I’ve got Alzheimer’s.  I’m dying, for goodness sake!’  And when the conversation turned to Jesus Christ, Strobel asked Templeton, ‘So how do you assess this Jesus?’ Templeton responded with positive accolades for Christ.  ‘He was a moral genius.  His ethical sense was unique. He is the most important human being who has ever existed.’  Then Templeton’s voice began to crack and tears flooded his eyes.  ‘I …miss…him!’    For a brief moment Templeton looked down and raised his left hand to shield his face. His shoulder bobbed as he wept.  Then just as suddenly Templeton fought to compose himself.”4
All this adds meaning to the verse: …that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.  (2 Timothy 2:26 – KJV).
After believing for so long that the rejection of Christ is primarily a heart problem, many evangelicals find Templeton’s reaction difficult to accept.  Maybe evangelicals have been taken captive in their minds too?  Here Templeton’s heart was ready to accept Christ, but his mind was not.  Intellectual problems can be very real “snares of the devil.”  Not all lost souls are motivated by carnal desires or willful sinful defiance. Many have real intellectual problems with Christianity.  Salvation involves the mind as well (Romans 12:2).
It is not true that every intellectual question is a moral dodge.5     Francis A. Schaeffer
So your friendly neighbor, a wealthy Irish lunatic, is constantly doing nice things for you and your family.  How likely are you to believe in his little leprechaun stories, even if he offers you a million dollars?  Imagine what you could do with that money!  Could your heart also be ready for leprechaun belief, but your mind not?
Yet Romans 1:19 and 20 is still true today if we are careful to consider the necessary circumstances.   Antony Flew, the famous outspoken British atheist for over fifty years, has now changed his mind and believes that God does exist.  (See his book: There Is a God.  How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Antony Flew & Roy Abraham Varghese.)  What caused this change?  For Professor Flew, it was the information encoded in the DNA molecule.  There had to have been an author behind it all.  Professor Flew also had something unique that most do not have.  He was not limited to the atheist’s version of science as our children are.   Remember Solomon, “the first to present his story seems right.”
And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
Jesus the Christ (Mark 9:42 – NIV)
Do we really have the passion of Christ for real school choice and presenting the evidence of God to children?
What if Christians became as passionate as Christ against humanistic indoctrination on children?
What if Christians became much more involve in the public policy, political issues, and candidates that support real school choice?
What if Christians viewed the skeptics as prisoners of a propaganda war?
What if Christians became more passionate for the evidence of God?
What if Christians really believed that apologetics is a necessary pre-evangelistic ministry for our time?
Could we see a difference in our world if Christians could repent and change?
If we could repent of our mistaken interpretations – our mind-traps of the devil, then God could heal our nation.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer…  Proverbs 15:28a (JKV)
What if Christians were as righteous as they believe themselves to be?
As a band-aid to the atheistic-science taught in government schools, churches could distribute Discovery Institute videos in their annual school supply give-away program.  The Discovery Institute has been the leader in the Intelligent Design apologetic that influenced Anthony Flew.
1) Michael Denton, Evolution a Theory in Crisis. page 16
2) ibid, page 66
3) Ravi Zachary’s, Jesus among Other Gods,  page 57
4) Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith, page 16-22
5) The Complete Works of Francis A Schaeffer, A Christian View of Spirituality, Vol 3, pg 415.

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