ASK Method to Bible Challenges

Social media and television
bombard us daily with
contradictory claims.
How can we find the meat
among the bones? Just ASK.

As the commercial breaks into the
evening news, a confident British narrator
announces a DNA discovery
that proves Jesus fathered several
children. Not long ago the headline
for this story appeared on your son’s
Twitter feed, and now it is the subject
of a major documentary. You can see
doubt flash across his face.

You can guess what he’s thinking:
“Did the Bible get it wrong about Jesus
having a wife? Why should I believe
He died on the Cross?”

It’s time to stop and assess! The
Bible warns us of claims that seek to
draw us away from truth
(Colossians 2:1–10). Are we trusting in the wisdom
of men or the Word of God? Are we
taking every thought captive to the
obedience of Christ?

Ideas bombard us every hour of the
day. They come with a buzz in our
pocket or flashing across our screen.
So how do we sort through all of these
claims, finding the meat among the
bones? The Bible says we must constantly
be on guard (Ephesians 5:15). I
teach my children how to do this, and
I must do it myself all day long. Whenever
we hear a truth claim, we immediately
evaluate it by ASKing a few
questions. No, that’s not a typo, it’s an
acronym to help us remember to ASK
good questions.

A—Authority: What is this person’s
authority to make such a claim?

S—Starting Points: From what
starting point is this person looking at
the world?

K—Knowledge: How do they know
what they claim to know?

Authority: Is the Person Credible?

When asking the authority question,
we should evaluate whether the
person making the claim has studied
the issue and can speak with credibility.
Credentials often provide authority,
but it doesn’t take a PhD to speak
on a topic. An earned degree can help
establish authority, but diligent study
on a topic or extended experience can
also provide the necessary authority
in many situations.

Authority often comes from studying
a topic thoroughly or extensively,
whether formally or informally. You
can become an expert on many topics
through reading, practical application,
or experience. Electronic access to
information has made it much easier
to learn about many topics, but also
much easier to come across people presenting
false ideas that can deceive us
if we’re not already experts.

Who originally identified the bones
and studied the DNA of Jesus’ supposed
family, and are they experts
(because the narrator on the program
certainly is not)? But that’s just the
first step.

Starting Points: Is the Foundation Biblical?

Ultimately, we base our thinking
either on biblical truths or the wisdom
of the world. So we need to seek to discern
whether a claim reflects human
wisdom or biblical wisdom. According
to Scripture, the fear of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom
(Proverbs 9:10). So God’s Word—and a worldview
built on God’s Word—is the only solid
foundation for wise thinking. Any
claim that relies on doubting the Bible
is automatically untenable, no matter
how great an expert the source is.
Even if the argument uses the Bible,
we still must examine it carefully.

While it may be difficult to examine
someone’s worldview based on a few
sentences, look for clues. Appeals to
authorities such as “science says” or
mentions of dates from “millions of
years ago” likely indicate a nonbiblical

We’ve all heard the saying, “The facts
speak for themselves.” But we need to
stop and reconsider: Do they really? If
I’m walking along a creek and notice
some fossils in the rocks, do the fossils
tell me how old they are or how
they came to be buried in a rock? No.
And that is why starting points are so
important. Evidence does not speak for
itself—it must be interpreted. When
examining the fossils found in rocks,
many scientists begin with the assumption
that the Flood recorded in Genesis
never happened. If they have already rejected the true biblical account of
history before they begin examining
the evidence, they can never come to
the proper interpretation of the fossil’s
formation (2 Peter 3:3–6).

In the case of Jesus having a wife,
the people making the documentary
are starting from the assumption the
Bible is not true. They are elevating
the interpretation of a DNA analysis
over God’s clear words in Scripture.
Jesus had brothers and sisters but not
a wife or children.

Knowledge: Is the Claim Confirmable?

There is a big difference between data
and its interpretation. But people
often use the two interchangeably.

There is a big difference between
data and its interpretation. But people
often use the two interchangeably.
When presented with a truth claim,
we always need to evaluate the interpretation
to see if it is consistent with
the evidence. How do they know what
they claim to know? How certain is the

Different scenarios present different
levels of certainty. To examine a fossil
and claim that it is a tusk from a mastodon
is very different from claiming
that it died during a hurricane 10,342
+/-50 years ago. The first is an interpretation
that creationists and evolutionists
could agree on. The second
involves many assumptions that could
easily throw off such a specific claim
if any of the assumptions were wrong.

If someone appeals to science, is it
confirmable observational science or
speculative science about the unseen
past? We can compare this fossil tusk
to others in the present, but our ways
of determining when or how the animal
died are less sure. However, the Bible
gives us a timeline that limits the age.

If a claim contradicts what the Bible
clearly teaches, we can be certain it
is a false claim. Since DNA analysis
happens in the present, claiming that
a sample can be connected to Jesus
requires many assumptions. If any of
those assumptions contradicts the
Bible, we can know that the claim is

Wisdom from Above

So the next time you hear a claim
that seems to challenge something you
believe, stop and ASK questions. Even
if the claim seems to confirm something
we believe, we always need to
stop and ASK questions to make sure it
is so. The Christian faith is not a blind
faith, but a faith that calls us to love
God with our hearts and our minds
(Matthew 22:36–40). Because He is
faithful and true (Revelation 19:11), we
can have absolute confidence in God
and the truths He has revealed to us.

The world around us will continue
to present false claims to draw us
away from Christ. But it is in Jesus that
we find all of “the treasures of wisdom
and knowledge

(Colossians 2:3).
When some authoritative voice calls
us to doubt His Word, we need to stop
and compare the claims to the steadfast
truth. I am constantly teaching
my children to look for the unbiblical
assumptions and false authorities. We
also pray regularly for the Spirit’s wisdom
to discern the truth from error.
And as we have opportunity, we share
this strategy with others in God’s family
to encourage them, too, not to be
led astray by the claims of even the
most confident-sounding narrators.

Look for “Squishy” Words
and Hidden Assumptions

When you hear reports that appear to prove how
life evolved on earth (such as the evolution of organic
molecules in clay), stop and ASK some simple questions
(or look for some easy-to-spot flaws). In the rush of
confident words, we easily overlook the details that
show why the unbiblical claims can’t be true.

Community Clay

Watch for “Squishy” Words

Honest science reports
admit which claims are based
on suppositions, not factual
observations. These are easy
to overlook, so don’t miss
them. They mean the claim
could be completely wrong.
(And if it contradicts the
Bible, it is!)

Watch for an Appeal to an Authority

Dr. Cairns-Smith is an expert
in the field (an organic
chemist). But he was not
present at the origin of the
first organic molecules, and
his hypothesis contradicts
what God’s Word says.

Watch for Unbiblical Assumptions

Science stories don’t always
state the assumptions
behind the conclusions. If
these assumptions include an
earth that’s billions of years
old and life that arose by
chance, then you know the
conclusion must be wrong.

Roger Patterson taught in public schools for eight years
before joining Answers in Genesis. He earned his BS Ed
degree in biology from Montana State University–Billings.
Roger is author of Evolution Exposed and serves on AiG’s
editorial review board.

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