Have you ever built a house of cards? It isn’t easy because it doesn’t take much to knock the whole thing down. If you pull out one card, even if that card is on the top of the “house,” you have a good chance of making the entire thing collapse.
Unfortunately, sometimes I see the Christian faith taught in a way that makes it look like a house-of-cards faith. Let me explain, starting with the good news.
There is only one “card” that has to stand in order for the gospel to be true: the resurrection. The Christian hope and message is dependent on Christ’s death and resurrection. Period. Full-stop.
If the resurrection is true, then there is literally nothing that can change the truth of the gospel.
However, problems arise when we take secondary issues — even issues that are very important — and place them on equal footing with the resurrection. This problem is compounded when we combine these secondary issues with very specific interpretations of Bible passages that are not, and never could be, crystal clear.
Before I go any further, I want you to know that I do believe the Bible is completely true. There might be passages where you and I would disagree on what is the best way to interpret what we are reading, but I still believe that if interpreted properly, the Bible is 100% accurate.
That being said, the Christian faith does not find its true foundation in Biblical inerrancy.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the book of Genesis (or any other book in the Bible for that matter) was a complete fabrication made up by someone who was actually an atheist. Or, what if we witnessed a freak mutation causing a snake to sprout wings and feathers in a few generations, thereby proving macroevolution is possible? If things like this happened, do you think the case for Christianity would fall apart?
Why? Because the resurrection still happened and there is plenty of historical evidence for it. Either Jesus rose from the dead or he didn’t. The reality of that truth, like all truth, is not based in anything other than it corresponding to an actual reality. (For more on this, I would recommend “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus” by Dr. Gary Habermas and Mike Licona.)
Unfortunately, many young people have been led to believe that things like a very particular interpretation of a book such as Genesis is the basis for Biblical authority and that Biblical authority is the only reason to believe the Christian message is true. These students then go to university, learn a lot about science, find that it contradicts a particular interpretation of the Bible and therefore conclude that the entire Christian message is false. This is why the church loses many young adults.
I would claim this is silly if it wasn’t so tragic.
Although I do believe the Bible is true, and I might agree to disagree on some finer interpretive points, the message of the gospel is not so weak that some doubts about the Bible should cause people or faith to crumble. In fact, the best case (at least in my opinion) to prove Bible is authoritative is that the man who rose from the dead certainly thought it was! My concern is that most evangelical Christians continually argue the point backward.
In conclusion, our faith is not built like a house of cards, but it is built on a solid foundation. The only thing that could disprove the gospel would be the body of Jesus. There are many other important truths to discover, but they are only important because the Risen One says so.