As we begin our new book, you might have a question like the title of this post.
Why does Paul Little have to write a book about our belief?
Aren’t we all on the same page?
Don’t we all know what we believe and why we believe it?
Aren’t all our questions resolved already?
I wish there was no need, but there is.
You may wonder why.
- In this day when more and more people are saying they are spiritual but they are leaving the Christian church, we have to wonder why. The questions they have are going unanswered is the short answer. Not enough people are standing up for Christianity as a faith that makes sense. Not enough people are talking about the Bible as the real word of God. What about the evil we see in the world today? Is the evil controlled by God? These hard questions are on the minds of people and not enough churches are coming up with effective answers. This leads people to go other places for their answers.
- The skeptic is cool. To be a believer is to act on faith. To be a believer is to think that Hebrews 11:1 is ok: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” But is that enough for the skeptic? When Jesus says in Mark 10:31 “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first” in the context of the lesson about the rich man, the camel and the eye of the needle, he is speaking about an idea that is hard to understand, an idea that impacts personal economics. Do you mean I have to sell everything? Is being wealthy a bad thing? What about this first will be last stuff you are talking about? Those are questions that a skeptical person is going to have. We as Christians have to have solid answers for this inquiry.
- The Christian can be lazy. There I have said it. Sorry if you are offended. When Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” He was careful to include mind in his statement. Robert Wuthnow says that Christianity has “pandered so much to American culture, tried so hard to be popular, and perpetuated such a do-it-yourself, feel-good faith that it has lost not only its mind but its soul as well.” That is a stinging indictment folks. But I have to admit that I see a dumbing down of a lot of our “required” theology in the materials we read. Popular Christian authors fill their books with anecdotes designed to catch attention and keep the readers reading. Illustrations are so basic that they seem to be written on the middle school level. Ideas are so simple that an intelligent person may even be offended because they are so basic.
Why is this happening? Can’t we challenge ourselves to do more? Can we get our followers to do anything? Oh, I am beginning to sound “self-righteous.” That is a turn-off. I don’t want to be that way.
Paul Little writes his book in the face of a lot of obstacles. He wants us to have the solid foundation that we all need. He wants us to have the beliefs in place that characterize us as being “Christian.” He wants to try to tackle the hard questions that skeptics have, these people who might find value in joining a church if they were convinced that there was something of value within those four walls.
Paul Little did not set out to be a Christian apologist, a person who makes a defense of Christianity in a speech or writing. He planned to be an accountant, graduating with an accounting degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. But he spent 25 years of his life arguing for Christianity with people who had left the church, skeptics and yes, even Christians who never thought about the basic questions about their faith, people who have gaping holes in their knowledge.
Why Have a Book Like Know Why You Believe?
We need it…