I’m conducting a non-scientific experiment. Let’s take a look at some of America’s most popular Christian apologists/evangelists and see what it was that caused them to become a Christian. What was it that caused them to believe that a Jewish peasant who lived and died 2,000 years ago is the Creator God and that his bloody execution on a cross bought them eternal life in a location called heaven…if only they believe. As we saw in a previous post, people who have already decided to believe something, regardless of what it was that caused them to believe, are very reluctant to change that belief. They will often seek evidence which confirms their decision. Evidence contradicting their belief only makes them dig in deeper. It rarely changes their mind. This is known as a confirmation bias, and I suggest that most Christians believe what they believe not because of evidence, but because of their emotions! The idea that the Creator of the universe loves them; wants a personal relationship with them; and will be with them and comfort them through all of life’s ups and downs is just too good a promise to pass up.
Christian apologist Matt Slick, from his blog:
When I was 17 some high-school friends of mine invited me to a local church to see a film about the rapture. I went. The film scared me with the idea of being left behind. So, when the pastor asked if people would be interested in learning more about Jesus, I raised my hand.
The last thing I wanted to do was go up in front of the church. But to my dismay, he called all of us forward who had raised our hands. Church members had spotted me, so I could not really get out of going forward. Up I went not knowing what to expect. So, there I was, on my knees along with a bunch of others who had raised their hands. I didn’t know about them, but I was stuck, embarrassed, and eagerly waiting for it all to be over. A man from the congregation, with a huge Bible that had gold pages, was somehow designated to speak to me specifically and to teach me about Jesus so I could receive Him as savior.
…I knew that if God was real that I should, at least, manifest some form of sincerity even if it wasn’t much. I figured that being flippant with God, if He were real, wouldn’t be a good idea. It wouldn’t hurt to try and be sincere and these people in the church seemed to have some common purpose and identity. It was, to say the least, interesting. So, I quickly addressed a prayer to God (not knowing if He was there) and said, “God, if you’re there, then I’ll try and be sincere and accept you. If you’re not there, it won’t cost me anything.”
I looked at the man and said, “Yes.”
“Good,” he said. “Let’s pray,” and he led me in the sinner’s prayer.
As I started to pray, I tried to manifest a sincere and honest heart. I was “giving God a chance.” I followed the man’s lead and I began to confess my “sins” to God and to ask Jesus to forgive me… everything was fine until something completely unexpected happened.
(I want to interject something here. I make no claims to being “spiritual” or “special” in any way. But, what follows is what really happened. And please remember that I have never been able to adequately convey the “experience” side of what happened in my soul that night. It is difficult to adequately describe. So, please bear with me.)
As I concluded my prayer, I became aware that someone “other” was there. Someone else was in the room with us and His attention was focused on me. This someone was not a member of that congregation. But I felt His presence dawning like a sunrise. This person was making Himself known to me in my heart. I somehow knew it was God. It was the Holy Spirit. He came to me slowly, gently, and then in a sudden movement, His Holiness overshadowed me with greatness and I became incapacitated. It was indescribable. He permeated my heart, mind, and soul. He washed over me in a burst of holiness and I was utterly undone. His incredibly deep purity shone upon my soul and I was instantaneously made aware of my utter sinfulness before a Holy and Righteous God. It was a supernatural experience of profound and utter depth. It wasn’t emotionalism. It wasn’t being psyched-out. It was God. I was in the presence of God Himself. I was in the presence of Perfect Holiness….and I knew it!!!
From the very deepest part of my soul, I felt a powerfully new and profound remorse for my sins, for offending God, for being unclean. I was a sinner! My body could not help but let loose a flood of tears of sorrow and guilt. I wept hard. I wept from the depths of my soul in guttural, heaving, moans of confession and brokenness. I was in the presence of incredible Purity, Holiness, and Love.. I was encountering God Himself. and I was a sinner. I could hardly stand to be in the presence of such deeply pure perfection and holiness. It was out of balance and I was profoundly aware of the disparity.
So, there I was, on the ground, sobbing like I’ve never wept in my life. I was a sinner and I knew it. The Holy Lord had revealed Himself to me and the natural result was to realize my own sinfulness. I kept sobbing and heaving out tears upon the floor. They came like a flood. And then.
This may seem unbelievable, but the only way I can explain it is that Jesus Himself manifested right there next to me. He had come to meet me on my knees. It wasn’t as though I could see Him or touch Him. But, He was there. I was aware of His Holy awesome holy presence next to me. It was incredible. It was wonderful and I felt my heart enveloped and lifted by Him. His concern for me was precious and tender. It was marvelous. He enveloped me in His love, His holiness, and His awesome greatness. I knew He was there to forgive me. I knew He loved me. I basked in His presence. I was with Jesus.
Then, while I was kneeling there, utterly absorbed and drifting in the experience of His presence, He moved. He moved toward me and gently entered my heart. Instantly, I physically felt my sin leave me. I felt the sudden and wonderful burst of forgiveness wash over my soul. I was instantly cleansed and born again and with it came the most profound and absolute sense of security of salvation I had ever known. My salvation was in Him. I was forgiven and safe for ever.
Then, He gently lifted His marvelous presence from me. He let me breathe again, think again, and regain my composure. It took a while, but I was finally able to recover and eventually able to stand up. But I was not the same. God had touched me and I was forever changed. I was so ecstatic. My heart was overflowing with excitement, love, hope, intensity, and great joy. I was smiling so hard, that my cheeks were hurting and I couldn’t stop. It was great.
To read Matt Slick’s full testimony, click on the link above.