by Edward Sulpice
“It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack.” This cliché has always intrigued me. The image of one person digging through a 12-foot high pile of loose hay in search of a tiny sewing needle not only conjures up feelings of frustration within myself, but also a touch of hopelessness. How could such a quest be fruitful by any stretch of the imagination and how could the time expenditure be rationalized? All for a needle?
I can get the same feeling when I find myself in the arena of Christian Apologetics, confronting the immensity of this most serious of quests. “I have to prove the existence of God?” “You want me to provide rational and genuine evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?” “Really?” It’s usually at this point of exasperation that I have to take a deep breath and remember to not let evil drag me into a false argument. I am not smart enough to be a book-writing, spotlight and microphone apologist. The nomenclature of that world befuddles me. In that realm, I can’t even find the haystack, let alone the needle. However, when I am talking to a person who wants to know about my own faith in Jesus, well, that is a haystack I can confront.
My defense might be called a Reformed-Classical-Epistemology, since it seeks to first prove the reality of God that is present in the questioning person. Since I hold to the notion that God has planted a sense of divinity (sensus devinitatis) within in each of us, I find myself defending the questioning person’s desire to know God, while the person fights against his desires. Much like Jesus’ reasoning with Nicodemus where he states that a person must be born again from “on high” in order to see the Kingdom of Heaven, the defense of God’s existence begins in the awareness of where God has chosen to exist within his creation.
A person’s awareness of the Holy Spirit of God existing within them, leads quickly to the second part of a Classical model, namely the resurrection of Jesus. Again, the Holy Spirit must provide affirmation, but this realization sometimes must be processed through the gauntlet of worldly wisdom set up to discredit the claims of the resurrection. Of course, it is not reason that provides the final validation, but God-given faith.
I hold that this faith is present in people who display a God-given desire to seek out the truth of Jesus, whether it is initially hostile or flippant. This displayed sense of divinity leads me to undertake the process of weeding through all the cultural and religious programming that befuddles so many of us who live in a media-saturated environment. This endeavor prompts me to walk side-by-side with the person through their heart’s landscape in search of the God-given faith in Jesus they can cling to. That’s my apologetic style, and sometimes, it feels like looking for a needle in a haystack.
For more information on apologetics, check out Trinity’s master of apologetics program at: