Many well meaning Christians, even those who have a fairly good grasp of Scripture, often try to defend their faith with what is rightfully called, Incorrigible truth. It is a claim or claims, which by definition cannot be corrected or falsified. Let me give you an example from the world of construction which I had happen years ago. I had built a suite of offices in Chicago. In this particular project one of the requirements was that we had the thermostats calibrated and the supply and return air ducts tested and balanced. We also had to check the relative humidity. All was completed and the reports submitted and accepted. The offices were then occupied. On one side of the space was a row of about 10 offices which were staffed by females. I am not certain gender was involved but it is at least possible.
Shortly after the move in I began getting phone calls from the individuals in these particular offices. Some complained that they were too hot and others that they were too cold. I went down and checked the equipment and let them know that everything seemed to be working fine. They stared at me a bit blankly and said, “Yes, but I am hot,” while another said “I am still a bit chilly” while others nodded in agreement with their respective spokes person.
I was a bit flummoxed and then thought of bringing the engineer that did the testing to double check. He did and, sure enough, everything was working according to the specifications. We met with the office staff again, demonstrated with facts and evidence that all was working fine. They were immoveable. They still “felt” warm or cold and no matter how much evidence was presented, their feeling was their feeling.
On an early Saturday morning I went and purchased 10 thermostats, stopped by the offices which I had to myself and the cleaning staff. I fastened a thermostat to a wall in each of the 10 offices which was not connected to anything. I never had another complaint. I cannot know the reason for this but their claims were incorrigible. They couldn’t be tested, corrected or falsified.
Mormonism relies on this as the basis for accepting the claims of the Mormon Church. Potential new converts are encouraged to pray for the “burning in the bosom” that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true.
I have too often found this in the church as well. It used to be when I spoke on witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses I would ask the congregation how many believed that Jesus is God. Nearly everyone would raise their hands. I would then go on to ask how many believe they could defend their belief to a Jevhovah’s Witness. Some would raise their hand. I would then pick on an individual to be the Christian and I would be the JW and ask for their best defense. A great deal of the time the response I received was “I feel Him in my heart.” Like the women and the temperature, who may have genuinely felt warm or cold, a Christian may have a feeling about the deity of Christ but that doesn’t make the feeling true or false. It isn’t testable. It may be good evidence for them but not good evidence to show others.
Very often the lack of being able to clearly articulate and defend the deity of Christ (and many other Christin doctrines) comes as a result of certain assumptions on the part of church leadership. In order to join a church as a member, the potential member has to affirm the Statement of Faith which would include the deity of Christ. It is assumed that since the Statement of Faith was affirmed that the now new member actually understands and can defend its claims. I am here to tell you, IT AIN’TSO! Appeals to feelings as evidential tends to lose hearing in culture that is looking for facts and a sound defense.
There is also a by-product of this called circular reasoning. Man individuals and groups employ it. For example, a Jehovah’s Witness would insist that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is God’s faithful and discreet slave organization on earth. It works like this:
JW: The Watchtower is God’s organization on earth.
Christian: How do you know that?
JW: Because they are the faithful and discreet slave.
Christian: But how do you know that?
JW: Because they told us?
Christian: Okay, but why should you trust them?
JW: Because they are God’s faithful and discreet slave organization.
Many Christians use similar arguments when it comes to Christian claims and doctrine. For example, it is claimed that the Bible is the word of God. They know it is the word of God because it says it is the word of God. Why should they trust the claim? Because it is in the Bible? But why should they trust the Bible? Because it is the word of God. But, why … and so on in a circle.
Like an incorrigible truth claim may be true but the “evidence” is no testable, a claim that appeals to circular reasoning may be true but not proven by the evidence given. The best way to solve this is to teach sound reasoning and defense of the biblical faith once given for all to the saints. I know, it doesn’t “feel” as good but is far more effective in reaching the lost and training the saints.