There is so much emphasis on faith.  I mean, it is unbelievable.  You say how are you saved?  You are saved by faith?  No, you can't be. That is heresy.

CW: Can you elaborate a little bit more on that?

JM: I shouldn't have to! [Laughs.] If you could be saved by faith, you would not need Jesus.  Just build up your faith and stay saved.

We are not saved by faith.  We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus.  You see, what gives faith any value is not if anyone will believe you. That gives faith no value. It is the object of your faith that gives faith value. If Jesus Christ is not who he claimed to be and died on the cross for our sins, was buried and raised again on the third day, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit—if that is not true, you can have all the faith you want, the greatest man of faith, and you will go straight to hell.

Then the problem [becomes], "I always believed that the way you think you are saved is the way you live the Christian life."  And if you live your Christian life by faith, meaning you live by blind faith, you will never grow.  It is the object that is critical.

CW: How can experiencing the "twelve essentials" give a person or the Church at large a better apologetic or a better witness in the world?

JM: "You will know they are my disciples by the way they love each other."  If you follow these twelve, you are not going to be trying to obey the rules of Scripture; you are going to be living out a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  If we do that, one of our greatest apologetics is Paul's testimony in 1 Thessalonians 2:8: "While we were among you, we not only imparted the truth…" 

Stop there. People say, "See?  Preach some truth.  Preach some gospel."  I say that is heresy.  Preaching gospel and teaching truth is not what turned the world upside down.  Get real. 

It goes on to say, "We not only imparted the truth, but we imparted our very lives."  In 1 Thessalonians 1:5 Paul said, "By the way that we lived among you was further…" What? "… proof, evidence of the truth of our message."  And in Romans 15:18 is it?  Paul said, "I won my children to Christ by my message…"  People say, "See. He had devotion, and kids, and everything."  No. He goes on: "…and by the way I lived before them." 

In today's culture, if they do not see it, they will not believe it, and... they shouldn't.


Since 1960, Josh McDowell has written or co-authored 120 books including:

In addition to many other awards, Josh has been nominated 36 times for the Gold Medallion Award and has received that award on four occasions. In spite of all the honors and awards he has received, Josh will tell anyone that his greatest joys and pleasures come from his family. He and his wife Dottie have been married 38 years. They have four children and three grandchildren.

Publication date: September 15, 2010