Men Who Were Converted Trying to Disprove the Bible - Part 2 of 3

May 8, 2014 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org)

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Above all other books, the Bible has been hated, vilified, ridiculed, criticized, restricted, banned, and destroyed, but it has been to no avail. As one rightly said, “We might as well put our shoulder to the burning wheel of the sun, and try to stop it on its flaming course, as attempt to stop the circulation of the Bible” (Sidney Collett, All about the Bible, p. 63).

In A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to stop Christians from worshipping Jesus Christ and to destroy their Scriptures. Every official in the empire was ordered to raze the churches to the ground and burn every Bible found in their districts (Stanley Greenslade,
Cambridge History of the Bible). Twenty-five years later Diocletian’s successor, Constantine, issued another edict ordering fifty Bibles to be published at government expense (Eusebius).

In 1778 the French infidel Voltaire boasted that in 100 years Christianity would cease to exist, but within 50 years the Geneva Bible Society used his press and house to publish Bibles (Geisler and Nix,
A General Introduction to the Bible, 1986, pp. 123, 124).

Robert Ingersoll once boasted, “Within 15 years I’ll have the Bible lodged in a morgue.” But Ingersoll is dead, and the Bible is alive and well.

In fact, many who set out to disprove the Bible have been converted, instead. The following are a few more examples:

WILLIAM MITCHELL RAMSAY (1851-1939)

William Ramsay was a renowned archaeologist and New Testament scholar from Scotland. He was knighted by the British crown for his work in archaeology.

He was raised an atheist, and as a brilliant student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and at Oxford University in England, he sat at the feet of theological modernists and skeptics who disbelieved the Bible. It was assumed that the Bible is not historically accurate and that it contains a large portion of mythology. It was thought that the book of Acts was not written until 150 A.D., about a century after the events it describes.

When Ramsay began archaeological and historical research in Asia Minor beginning in 1881, he expected and hoped to find more evidence against the Bible. Instead, he discovered fact after fact that supported the Bible. He eventually concluded that the book of Acts was written during the lifetime of the apostles and that it is historically accurate. His discoveries led to his conversion to Christianity.

"He had spent years deliberately preparing himself for the announced task of heading an exploration expedition into Asia Minor and Palestine where he would [find] the evidence that the book was the product of ambitious monks, and not the book from heaven it claimed to be. He regarded the weakest spot in the whole New Testament to be the story of Paul's travels. These had never been thoroughly investigated by one on the spot. Equipped as no other man had been, he went to the home of the Bible. Here he spent fifteen years digging. Then in 1896 he published a large volume, Saint Paul, the Traveler and the Roman Citizen. ... The book caused a furor of dismay among the skeptics of the world. Its attitude was utterly unexpected because it was contrary to the announced intention of the author years before. For twenty years more, book after book from the same author came from the press, each filled with additional evidence of the exact, minute truthfulness of the whole New Testament as tested by the spade on the spot. And these books have stood the test of time, not one having been refuted, nor have I found even any attempt to refute them” (Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, p. 62).

Ramsay testified:

“The present writer takes the view that Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness. At this point we are describing what reasons and arguments changed the mind of one who began under the impression that the history was written long after the events and that it was untrustworthy as a whole” (The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1915).

VIGGO OLSON

The following is excerpted from “From Agnostic to Ambassador to Bangladesh,” Thanthropos.org:

Viggo Olsen was a brilliant surgeon who graduated cum laude from medical school and later became a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and a fellow of the American College of surgeons. In 1951 he was challenged by his wife’s parents to examine the claims of Christianity for himself.
Olsen recalled, ‘Just alike a surgeon incises a chest, we were going to slash into the Bible and dissect out all its embarrassing scientific mistakes.’

After he started his investigation he ran into problems. He remembers that he had trouble finding scientific mistakes. ‘We’d find something that seemed to be an error, but on further reflection and study, we saw that our understanding had been shallow. That made us sit up and take notice.’

After examining the evidence, Olsen became a Christian and later gave his life to be a missionary in Bangladesh. He was later honored with Visa #001 for his contributions to the country.

This is a man who was extremely educated, a brilliant surgeon, someone who was not willing to take a blind leap of faith, and after exhaustive research he was willing to admit, like so many others have, that the historic Christian faith is much more than a religion, it is based on a man who walked this Earth as the
Theanthropos, the God-Man. The evidence that supports the resurrection of Jesus is so overwhelming it demands a verdict and Christianity lives and dies by the fact of the resurrection--without it, Christianity does not hold water.

Olsen went from an agnostic to giving up his career, his entire life, to serve people in Bangladesh. Olson testified:

‘It was the greatest adventure we could ever have. When you’re in a hard place, when you’re in over your head again and again, when you’re sinking and beyond yourself and praying your heart out--then you see God reach out and touch your life and resolve the situation beyond anything you could have ever hoped. ... That’s living it up! In my opinion, finding the purpose for which God made you--whatever it may be--and then fully pursuing it is simply the very best way to live.’

Olsen documented his life in the famous book called
Daktar.

JOSH MCDOWELL

Josh McDowell, the author of
Evidence That Demands a Verdict, was a skeptic when he entered university to pursue a law degree. There he met some Christians who challenged him to examine the evidence for the Bible and Jesus Christ. Following is his testimony:

As a teenager, I wanted the answers to three basic questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? ... So as a young student, I started looking for answers.

I thought that education might have the answer to my quest for happiness and meaning. So I enrolled in the university. What a disappointment! I have probably been on more university campuses in my lifetime than anyone else in history. You can find a lot of things in the university, but enrolling there to find truth and meaning in life is virtually a lost cause.

I used to buttonhole professors in their offices, seeking the answers to my questions. When they saw me coming they would turn out the lights, pull down the shades, and lock the door so they wouldn’t have to talk to me. I soon realized that the university didn’t have the answers I was seeking. Faculty members and my fellow students had just as many problems, frustrations, and unanswered questions about life as I had. A few years ago I saw a student walking around a campus with a sign on his back: ‘Don’t follow me, I’m lost.’ That’s how everyone in the university seemed to me. Education was not the answer!

Prestige must be the way to go, I decided. It just seemed right to find a noble cause, give yourself to it, and become well known. The people with the most prestige in the university, and who also controlled the purse strings, were the student leaders. So I ran for various student offices and got elected. It was great to know everyone on campus, make important decisions, and spend the university’s money doing what I wanted to do. But the thrill soon wore off, as with everything else I had tried.

Every Monday morning I would wake up with a headache because of the way I had spent the previous night. My attitude was, Here we go again, another five boring days. Happiness for me revolved around those three party-nights: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Then the whole boring cycle would start over again.

Around this time I noticed a small group of people on campus--eight students and two faculty--and there was something different about them. They seemed to know where they were going in life. And they had a quality I deeply admire in people: conviction. But there was something more about this group that caught my attention. It was love. These students and professors not only loved each other, they loved and cared for people outside their group.

About two weeks later, I was sitting around a table in the student union talking with some members of this group. ... I turned to one of the girls in the group and said, ‘Tell me, what changed your lives? Why are you so different from the other students and faculty?’

She looked me straight in the eye and said two words I had never expected to hear in an intelligent discussion on a university campus: ‘Jesus Christ.’

‘Jesus Christ?’ I snapped. ‘Don’t give me that kind of garbage. I’m fed up with religion, the Bible, and the church.’

She quickly shot back, ‘Mister, I didn’t say ‘religion’; I said ‘Jesus Christ.’

Then my new friends issued me a challenge I couldn’t believe. They challenged me, a pre-law student, to examine intellectually the claim that Jesus Christ is God’s Son. I thought this was a joke. These Christians were so dumb. How could something as flimsy as Christianity stand up to an intellectual examination? I scoffed at their challenge.

I finally accepted their challenge, not to prove anything but to refute them. I decided to write a book that would make an intellectual joke of Christianity. I left the university and traveled throughout the United States and Europe to gather evidence to prove that Christianity is a sham.

One day while I was sitting in a library in London, England, I sensed a voice within me saying, ‘Josh, you don’t have a leg to stand on.’ I immediately suppressed it. But just about every day after that I heard the same inner voice. The more I researched, the more I heard this voice. I returned to the United States and to the university, but I couldn’t sleep at night. I would go to bed at ten o’clock and lie awake until four in the morning, trying to refute the overwhelming evidence I was accumulating that Jesus Christ was God’s Son.

I began to realize that I was being intellectually dishonest. My mind told me that the claims of Christ were indeed true, but my will was being pulled another direction. I had placed so much emphasis on finding the truth, but I wasn’t willing to follow it once I saw it. I began to sense Christ’s personal challenge to me in Revelation 3:20: ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.’ But becoming a Christian seemed so ego-shattering to me. I couldn’t think of a faster way to ruin all my good times.

I knew I had to resolve this inner conflict because it was driving me crazy. I had always considered myself an open-minded person, so I decided to put Christ’s claims to the supreme test. One night at my home in Union City, Michigan, at the end of my second year at the university, I became a Christian.

I said, ‘Lord Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me.’ I realized that if I were the only person on earth, Christ would have still died for me.’ ... I said, ‘I confess that I am a sinner.’ No one had to tell me that. I knew there were things in my life that were incompatible with a holy, just, righteous God. ... I said, ‘Right now, in the best way I know how, I open the door of my life and place my trust in You as Saviour and Lord. Take over the control of my life. Change me from the inside out. Make me the type of person You created me to be’ (Josh McDowell, “He Changed My Life,”
The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Thomas Nelson, 1999, pp. xxv).

McDowell concludes:

After trying to shatter the historicity and validity of the Scripture, I cam to the conclusion that it is historically trustworthy. If one discards the Bible as being unreliable, then one must discard almost all literature of antiquity.

“One problem I constantly face is the desire on the part of many to apply one standard or test to secular literature and another to the Bible. One must apply the same test, whether the literature under investigation is secular or religious.

“Having done this, I believe we can hold the Scriptures in our hands and say, ‘The Bible is trustworthy and historically reliable” (
The New Evidence, p. 68).

RICHARD LUMSDEN

Richard Lumsden (1938-97), Ph.D., was converted from Darwinian atheist to Bible-believing Christian at the apex of his professional career. When, challenged by one of his students, he decided to check out the evidence for himself.

A professor of parisitology and cell biology, Lumsden was dean of the graduate school at Tulane University. He trained 30 Ph.D.s., published hundreds of scholarly papers and was the winner of the highest award for parasitology.

The following is excerpted from “The World’s Greatest Creation Scientists” by David Coppedge, which is available from Master Plan Association, http://www.creationsafaris.com/products.htm --

“Dr. Richard D. Lumsden was fully grounded in Darwinian philosophy, and had no reason or desire to consider Christianity. Science was his faith: the facts, and only the facts. But at the apex of his professional career, he had enough integrity to check out the facts, and made a difficult choice to go where the facts led him, against what he had been taught, and against what he himself taught. His life took a dramatic turnaround, from Darwinist to creationist, and from atheist to Christian.

“All through his career he believed Darwinian evolution was an established principle of science, and he took great glee in ridiculing Christian beliefs. One day, he heard that Louisiana had passed a law requiring equal time for creation with evolution, and he was flabbergasted--how stupid, he thought, and how evil! He used the opportunity to launch into a tirade against creationism in class, and to give them his best eloquence in support of Darwinism. Little did he know he had a formidable opponent in class that day. No, not a silver-tongued orator to engage him in a battle of wits; that would have been too easy. This time it was a gentle, polite, young female student.

“This student went up to him after class and cheerfully exclaimed, ‘Great lecture, Doc! Say, I wonder if I could make an appointment with you; I have some questions about what you said, and just want to get my facts straight.’ Dr. Lumsden, flattered with this student’s positive approach, agreed on a time they could meet in his office. On the appointed day, the student thanked him for his time, and started in. She did not argue with anything he had said about evolution in class, but just began asking a series of questions: ‘How did life arise? . . . Isn’t DNA too complex to form by chance? . . . Why are there gaps in the fossil record between major kinds? . . . What are the missing links between apes and man?’ he didn’t act judgmental or provocative; she just wanted to know. Lumsden, unabashed, gave the standard evolutionary answers to the questions. But something about this interchange began making him very uneasy. He was prepared for a fight, but not for a gentle, honest set of questions. As he listened to himself spouting the typical evolutionary responses, he thought to himself, This does not make any sense. What I know about biology is contrary to what I’m saying. When the time came to go, the student picked up her books and smiled, ‘Thanks, Doc!’ and left. On the outside, Dr. Lumsden appeared confident; but on the inside, he was devastated. He knew that everything he had told this student was wrong.

“Dr. Lumsden had the integrity to face his new doubts honestly. He undertook a personal research project to check out the arguments for evolution, and over time, found them wanting. Based on the scientific evidence alone, he decided he must reject Darwinism, and he became a creationist. But as morning follows night, he had to face the next question, Who is the Creator? Shortly thereafter, by coincidence or not, his sister invited him to church. It was so out of character for this formerly crusty, self-confident evolutionist to go to church! Not much earlier, he would have had nothing to do with religion. But now, he was open to reconsider the identity of the Creator, and whether the claims of the Bible were true. His atheistic philosophy had also left him helpless to deal with guilt and bad habits in his personal life. This time he was open, and this time he heard the Good News that God had sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins, and to offer men forgiveness and eternal life.

“A tremendous struggle was going on in Dr. Lumsden’s heart as he listened to the sermon. When the service ended, the pastor gave an invitation to come to the front and decide once and for all, publicly, to receive Christ. Dr. Lumsden describes the turmoil he was in: ‘With flesh protesting every inch of the way, I found myself walking forward, down to the altar. And there, found God! Truly, at that moment, I came to know Him, and received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.’ There’s room at the cross even for know-it-all science professors, if they are willing to humble themselves and bow before the Creator to whom the scientific evidence points.

“Dr. Lumsden rejoiced in his new-found faith, but found out there is a price to pay also. He was ejected from the science faculty after his dynamic conversion to Christ and creationism. The Institute for Creation Research invited him to direct their biology department, which he did from 1990 to 1996. Dr. Henry Morris said of him, ‘He had a very vibrant testimony of his conversion only a few years ago and of the role that one of his students played in confronting his evolutionism with persistent and penetrating questions. He became fully convinced of the bankruptcy of his beliefs and realized that the only reasonable alternative was that there must be a Creator.’ Dick Lumsden was also appointed to the science faculty of The Master’s College, and used his intimate knowledge of electron microscopy to help the campus set up an operational instrument for training students. There was a joy present in his life and manner that made his lectures sparkle, and he loved to demonstrate design in the cell that could not have arisen by Darwinian processes. In discussions with evolutionists, he knew ‘just where to get them’ (he would say with a smile), having been in their shoes. His students appreciated the training his depth and breadth of knowledge and experience brought to the class and to the lab.”

Before he died, Lumsdens testimony was video recorded, and it is now available at the following location:

http://www.wayoflife.org/database/lumsden.html

__

David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org

Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc.’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service, an e-mail listing for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY IS NOT DEVOTIONAL BUT IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR.

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