I would say it does not come down to experiencing it. Here's what is so key today: 

  • for the older generation, if it's true, it will work;
  • for the younger generation, if it works, it is true.

If they don't experience it, it doesn't matter what rational argument you may have, it's not true to them. Why? It doesn't work.  That's why we had better get down to let them see it work in the lives of their parents and pastors, or it won't matter what you teach kids. 

CW:  As far as things being either positional or relational in apologetics, there are a lot of divisive issues out there with Christianity.  It seems like you're trying to cut through a lot of these and find the twelve, unifying essentials.  Can you tell us about a couple of those, what you find particularly crucial to an understanding of what Christianity really is? 

JM:  One is understanding the atonement.  This was key with the apostles and the early church fathers.  Understanding atonement, "Why did Jesus die?"

If you don't understand why Jesus had to die, you can never have correct theology.  You can't.  Because I've been asked by thousands, "How can a loving God allow anyone to go to Hell?"  But the real question is, "How can a holy God allow a sinful individual into Heaven?" 

But I've never been asked that, never, and I think our chapter on the atonement is probably a little bit revolutionary. After that, I think the one on the Resurrection. 

CW:  What are people misunderstanding about the Resurrection? 

JM:  Well, 52 percent of Evangelical, fundamental, born-again, Christian kids say it never happened. 

CW:  Wow. 

JM:  It never happened!  This is probably close to the same percentage in adults, and I can almost never, ever, ever find any believer who can give me any intelligent reason for believing in the Resurrection, any evidence for it or anything.  Yet, for the apostles, that was the crux.  If Christ be not raised from the dead, you can believe all you want about why Jesus had to die, and you'll go to hell. So I would say those two on the atonement and the resurrection were probably two of the most critical. 

CW:  You just mentioned the term "evidence," and your work for years has focused on evidence for our system of beliefs, and that doesn't change with The Unshakable Truth.  Evidence is a prevailing topic in each section.  Explain for someone who may not be familiar with your works why considering evidence is so important for people who espouse faith. 

JM:  Well, I would say two things.  One, we can't be saved by faith.  That's heresy from the get-go.  Second, when most people say, "You have to take it by faith," they are talking about a blind faith.  That's not Biblical.  The Biblical faith is an intelligent faith.  You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. 

Study to show yourself approved unto God, we are going to need to not be ashamed, but be ready to always give an answer for the hope that is in you.  All the way from Genesis on through is an appeal to evidence, because if any one faith appeals to truth, it is the Christian faith.  The Christian faith does not appeal initially to faith.  It appeals to truth, faith based upon truth. 

The thing is, especially in today's culture with the Internet and everything; we are leveling the playing field with the atheists, Hitchens, and everyone.  If you know what you believe but cannot explain why, you will bottom out.  You will become a useless Christian if you can't.  Now the Internet is forced upon the Church, something it should have done to itself 2,000 years ago, to know why you believe not just what you believe. That is why I teach a section in every chapter on "why I should believe this, is it true?"