Conventional wisdom tells us that successful evangelism requires building a case for the Gospel apart from the Bible. Arguing from history, archaeology and science can substantiate Scripture’s claims, thereby convincing people of its veracity. And certainly history, archaeology and science does support God’s Word.
The problem with relying on disciplines outside of the Bible to defend Christianity, however, lies in the implicit (even if unintended) assumption that something outside the Bible has greater authority than the Bible itself. Even though non-Christians do regard these disciplines as more authoritative, when we adopt such a posture, we demonstrate our own lack of confidence that the Word of God is sufficient for winning souls to Christ.
Consider, for example, the apostle Paul, who had been educated in both Judaism and Greco-Roman philosophy. If anyone could have used worldly means to make a case for Jesus Christ, Paul was the man. But he maintained that people come to faith in Christ through the preaching of the Word, not by empirical evidence.
Paul opened his letter to the Romans by pointing out that humanity had more than enough objective evidence of God’s truth, but they overwhelmingly rejected it.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. ~~Romans 1:18-23 (ESV)
You would think that Paul would have gone from there to enumerate the various ways God showed His eternal power and divine nature, but the apostle instead spent chapters demonstrating human sinfulness and salvation through Jesus Christ. From there, he began discussing his deep desire to see his fellow Jews come to salvation, which in turn led him to reveal the process of conversion.
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. ~~Romans 10:14-17 (ESV)
Faith comes through hearing Christ’s Word — which we have in Scripture.
It’s amazing when we see history, archaeology and science corroborate the Bible. I always love the thrill of seeing that none of those can really contradict God’s Word. But I don’t want to give unbelievers the false impression that Scripture’s truth depends on anything other than the fact that it’s God’s Word. Ultimately, it is our authority.