Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thomas Cooper on Christian Evidences

"I do not imagine, or expect, that I can win over, at once, to Christianity, the minds of sceptical workingmen, who may be listening to me. I know too well, by personal experience, how hard it is to part with sceptical convictions—how difficult it is to bring a mind, which has become strongly warped in the direction of unbelief, to enter upon a determined, steady, and persevering consideration of the Christian Evidences. And without this—without an earnest and devoted study of Christian Evidences—no thinking skeptic (for I am not addressing vulgar scoffers) can ever become a real Christian.

"I seek no flighty converts from your ranks—no sudden passing over to our side from yours, of some hot, excitable partisan, who is incapable of thinking. I seek to lead you to accept what I believe to be Truth, by inducing you to practise the daily reflection, the steady conning over and over again of each item of the Christian Evidences, which effectually cured my doubts, and rendered me a settled and grateful believer. I would not lift up my finger, or stir a straw, to make a sudden and spasmodic conversion of any one of you, which would leave you helpless in your new belief, and incapable of giving a reason of the hope within you. Such a convert would be a very useless one. I want to enlist real soldiers for my Master."

Thomas Cooper

The Verity of Christ’s Resurrection from the Dead (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1875), pp. 131-32.


dgfisch said...

I appreciate Cooper's distinction between the "thinking skeptic" and the "vulgar scoffer" -- between the person with an honest objection and the invididual who holds that "no excuse for not believing is too extreme." The first is open to reason, the latter closed-minded.

This makes me wonder at the future "Atheist's Prayer Project" being conducted by Justin Brierley from Premier Christian Radio's "Unbelievable?" program. Asking the atheist to be open to the possiblity of addressing God in a pre-constructed prayer may be a stretch, but Justin is motivated by honest inquiry. This "taste and see that the Lord is good" approach may have merits, but a Latin proverb di make a point about taste (de gustibus non est disputandum ... one must not argue about taste).

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