Suppose someone walked up to you on the street and asked you a few questions about what you believe and why. How would you answer their questions? For what it’s worth, here are my (Joey’s) answers:
Do you consider yourself of be of a specific faith?
When talking about faith, I think the most important thing to consider is the object of our faith. Everyone has faith in something. We can’t find empirical proof for everything we believe. For example, to say God does or does not exist is a faith claim — neither position is a self-evident truth. I think the difference is the object of faith. Many people put faith in reason or feelings or friends or experience. These have all failed me. Knowing that all those are broken, I put my faith in Jesus. He’s the one who’s never failed me; he’s the one who died for my sins; he’s the one who rose from the grave and offers redemption and restoration for all those who trust in him. So my specific faith is in Jesus.
What’s one thing about Easter that you think most people miss when they think about the holiday?
The reality of the resurrection. Whether you believe in Christ or not, everybody has to do something with the resurrection. History would tell us there was a man named Jesus who truly existed. He predicted his own death and resurrection. If people wanted to stop the spread of Christianity, all they would have to do is present Jesus’ body. That’s not been done. Everybody has to do something with the historical reality of Jesus’ resurrection.
Some Christians would say Christ’s resurrection was spiritual, or that Christ is resurrected in our hearts. Why do you think a historical, physical resurrection is so important to Christianity?
Because God has created us to be whole beings, with both material and immaterial parts. A comprehensive view of the world looks at the meaning and destiny of life, and the resurrection speaks to that. We’re part of a material world; we can’t just separate ourselves from it, like Plato and others claim. Just like thirst points to water and hunger points to food, our universal ache for a better world points to the reality that such a world will exist. Our ultimate hope is not an escape from this world, but a restoration of it.
The physical resurrection is also proof that the debt for our sins was paid. A check is cashed at the bank and said to be good; that’s what the resurrection is for the Christian faith. It’s saying that Jesus’ payment was good. This is unique to the Christian faith — there’s an objective truth claim. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, our own Scriptures say our faith is futile. 1 Corinthians 15:17 says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sin.”
You minister in an intellectual city. What are the biggest roadblocks for the intellectual in coming to faith?
It seems many people are not intellectually honest with themselves. They don’t reason themselves to unbelief, but they recognize that if this is true, their life has to change and therefore they don’t want it to be true. In order to engage them, you have to get past the intellect. Our problem is not intellectual; it’s moral. I try to get them to answer the question, “Do you reject Christianity because you really think it’s untrue or simply because you don’t want it to be true?”
At your core, what is one of your defining beliefs?
God is ultimately committed to his glory, which in turn brings his people everlasting joy. God sent his eternal son, Jesus, to bring us the deepest joy our minds can entertain, so that we might be deeply satisfied and God might be glorified in our lives. God has done everything necessary to captivate us with that which can make us eternally happy: God himself. And the only way we can enter into the presence of God is through Jesus Christ.