Is faith in the gospel of Jesus reasonable? Or should we even bother to expect reason to have anything to do with faith? More and more, faith is popularly conceived of as something between strong intuition and mere wishful thinking.
What the First Gospel Preachers Thought
What did the first heralds of the gospel (the apostles) think about this question? Notice Paul’s tactics when preaching the gospel: “And according to Paul’s custom, he…reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ'” (Acts 17:2-3 NASB; compare Acts 18:4). Paul never expected “blind faith.” He reasoned, persuaded, and gave evidence.
A Faith Based on Historical Realities
Consider also the introduction to Luke’s gospel: “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:1-4 NASB). Again, we highlight important phrases that reveal an underlying presumption that faith in Christ must be based on evidence for historical realities: eyewitnesses, thorough investigation, exact truth.
Not Based on Personal Experiences
The apostles never expected people to believe their message for subjective motivations. Consider the consistent pattern of emphasizing eyewitness evidence. Peter proclaimed in Acts 2:32, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses” (NASB). See also Acts 3:14-15; 10:39-41; 13:30-31; 1 John 1:1-3; 2 Peter 1:16-18.
True Faith Rests on Evidence!
Much also could be said about the way they emphasized the fulfillment of prophesy and about the miracles they performed to confirm the message. The main point, at present, however, is that biblical faith by nature rests on evidence. That’s fantastic news: the greatest and most gracious message man ever heard is also a true and credible message!