Assurance: How do we know that the gospel is true?

Last week, I wrote about how evidence-based arguments are tools which can only reach probable conclusions, even in the realm of apologetics. A good argument (and Christian apologists have many) can demonstrate a very, very high probability that the God of the Bible exists, but the honest apologist should always admit that his arguments cannot demonstrate the truth of Christianity with absolute, 100 percent certainty. My article last week talked about why this is not a problem, because we are not merely bringing unbelievers to the conclusion of a syllogism, but to a real, active God without whose call no one would believe (John 6:44). But the topic raises other questions for the thoughtful Christian. If evidence-based arguments cannot offer perfect certainty, does that mean the most we can say about the Bible is that it is probably true?

The answer to that question is an emphatic “No.” When I say the Bible is true, I am speaking from a deeper confidence than that which comes from accumulated evidence. Compelling evidence may prompt someone to seriously investigate the claims of Scripture, but once they surrender themselves in faith–once they become a Christian–the real presence of God enters them in the person of the Holy Spirit; and that changes everything. Among many other things, the presence of the Holy Spirit means we can know in a new and different way.

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