In Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Faith, Strobel describes an interview with Charles Templeton. Templeton was a close friend and fellow evangelist with Billy Graham when the two men were just becoming successful preachers. Over time, Templeton began to doubt his faith, and ultimately walked away from Christianity entirely. His decision had a profound effect on Graham, who could not answer the intellectual objections of his friend. As a result, Graham went through his own crisis of faith (he describes this in his autobiography, Just As I Am). Finally, after many prayers and tears, Graham re-committed himself to God and to preaching the Gospel. He didn't know all the answers, but he trusted in God and His Word regardless. Templeton was disappointed, telling friends, "Billy committed intellectual suicide." Templeton went on to be a author and TV commentator in Canada. He also wrote extensively about his reasons for abandoning Christianity.
When Strobel met Templeton, he was in his 80s, beginning to feel the onset of dementia. Templeton was gracious but firm in his explanation of why he could not believe in a personal, loving God. Yet when Strobel asked about Jesus, the response was astonishing. Templeton began to weep as he spoke of Jesus as the most perfect moral mind in history, the most important person who ever lived. He said, "Everything good I know about life, I learned from Jesus...and if I may say it in this way, I miss Him." Filled with sorrow, Templeton refused to speak about the subject anymore.
There are a great many people in our world today who have a profound respect--even affection--for Jesus, perhaps even a desire to believe in Him as Savior, but who have intellectual hurdles they simply cannot surmount. There are also many Christians whose faith has been shaken because of the pain and suffering in the world today, scientific discoveries which seem to contradict the biblical record, stories that indicate the Bible was crafted for political purposes (ie, The DaVinci Code), and many other reasons. Can we know that God is real? Is Jesus truly the only way? Can we trust the Bible? Is the Church still relevant? In our sermon series starting July 11 called Reasons to Believe, we'll take a look at each of these questions and give honest, biblical answers.