Especially For Ock
Published on June 25, 2009 By KFC Kickin For Christ In Religion

Early in his ministry the great evangelist and Bible teacher, Harry A. Ironside, was living in the area of San Francisco working with a group of believers there called "Brethren."  On Sunday as he was walking thru the city he came upon a group of Salvation Army workers who were holding a meeting on the corner of Market and Grant Avenues.  There were probably about 60 of them. When they recognized Dr. Ironside, they immediately asked him if he would like to give his testimony.  He did. 

As he was speaking, Ironside noticed that on the edge of the crowd there was a well-dressed man who had taken a card from his pocket and had written something on it.  As Ironside finished his talk this man came forward, lifted his hat, and very politely handed him the card.  On one side was his name which was immediately recongnizable.  The man was one of the early socialists who had made a name for himself lecturing, not only for socialism but also against Christianity.  As Ironisde turned the card over, he read, "Sir, I challeng you to debate with me the question, 'Agnosticism versus Christianity' in the Academy of Science Hall next Sunday afternoon at four o'clock.  I will pay all expenses." 

Ironside reread the card aloud and then replied somewhat like this...."I will be glad to agree to this debate on the following conditions; namely, that in order to prove that Mr._____ (will call him Ock)  has something worth fighting for and worth debating about, he will promise to bring with him to the hall next Sunday two people, whose qualifications I will give in a moment, as proof that agnosticism is of real value in changing human lives and building true character.

"First, he must promise to bring with him one man who was for years what we commonly call a 'down and outer.'  I am not particular as to the exact nature of the sins that had wrecked his life and made him an outcast from society-whether a drunkard, or a criminal of some kind, or a victim of his sensual appetite-but a man who for years was under the power of evil habits from which he could not deliver himself, but who on some occasion entered one of Mr. Ock's meetings and heard his glorification of agnosticism and his denunciations of the Bible and Christianity, and whose heart and minds as he listened to such an address were so deeply stirred that he went away from that meeting saying, 'Hence-forth, I too am an agnostic!' and as a result of imbibing that particular philosophy found that a new power had come into his life.  The sins he once loved, he now hates, and righteousness and goodness are now the ideals of his life.  He is entirely a new man, a credit to himself and an asset to society-all because he is an agnostic.

"Secondly, I would like Mr. Ock to promise to bring with him one woman-and I think he may have more difficulty in finding the woman than the man-who was once a poor-wrecked, characterless outcast, the slave of evil passions, and the victim of man's corrupt living...perhaps one who had lived for years in some evil resort....utterly lost, ruined, and wretched because of her life of sin.  But this woman also entered a hall where Mr. Ock was loudly proclaiming his agnosticism and ridiculing the message of the Holy Scriptures.  As she listened, hope was born in her heart and she said, 'This is just what I need to deliver me from the slavery of sin!' She followed the teaching and became an intelligent agnostic or infidel.  As a result her whole being revolted against the degradation of the life she had been living.  She fled from the den of iniquity where she had been held captive so long; and today, rehabilitated, she has won her way back to an honored position in society and is living a clean, virtuous, happy life-all because she is an agnostic.

"Now," he said addressing the gentleman who had presented him with his card and the challenge, "if you will promise to bring these two people with you as examples of what agnosticism can do, I will promise to meet you at the Hall at the hour appointed next Sunday, and I will bring with me at the very least 100 men and women who for years lived in just such sinful degradation as I have tried to depict, but who have been gloriously saved through believing the gospel which you ridicule.  I will have thse men and women with me on the platform as witnesses to the miraculous saving power of Jesus Christ and as present-day proof of the truth of the Bible." 

Ironside then turned to the Salvation Army captain, a girl, and said, "Captain, have you any who could go with me to such a meeting?" 

She exclaimed with enthusiam, "We can give you forty at least just from this corps, and we will give you a brass band to lead the procession!"

"Fine.  Now, Mr. Ock, I will have no difficulty in picking up sixty others from the various missions, gospel halls, and evangelical churches of the city; and if you will promise faithfully to bring two such exhibits as I have described, I will come marching in at the head of such a procession, with the band playing 'Onward, Christian Soldiers,' and I will be ready for the debate." 

Apparently the man who had made the challenge must have had some sense of humor, for he smiled wryly and waved his hand in a deprecating kind of way as if to say, "Nothing doing!" and then edged out of the crowd while the bystanders clapped for Dr. Ironside and the others." 

Christ changes lives. 

Can you honestly say that you have never observed any examples of the genuine transformation that can come about in a person as a result of his hearing and responding to the Christian gospel?  I doubt it. 

Comments (Page 2)
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on Jun 25, 2009

Belief implies faith. When you question whether or not you believe something, it automatically implies that you have reached the end of the intellectual chain of reasoning as well as the end of the achievable data. You now have to guess.

Have you ever heard of fideism?  Fideism believes that the only way we can know anything about God is by faith.  Truth is subjective and personal so while we can believe it we can't prove it because there is no rational proofs or empirical evidence that can bring us to a knowledge of God.  So faith is the only way to belief. 

I don't assume that God exists and has revealed himself to me thru the Bible and in the lives of His people.  I know these are the very things that the unbeliever questions. 

Fideism doesn't recognize the diff between belief in and belief thatEvidence and logical proofs can assist us toward belief that God exists, the Bible is His Word etc but they cannot make us trust or commit our lives to them.  Commitment is belief and trusting in God.  Fideists only see the latter and overlook the need for the former.   They make no distinction between the basis of belief in God and the support  for that belief.  They require men to believe in God without allowing them to first understand that there is a God to be believed in. 


on Jun 25, 2009

For the agnostic: if you know that you don't know anything, then at least you know that much. But that means you have positive knowledge of something and you no longer have to be agnostic. You may say that you should doubt everything but you don't doubt that. So if there is one thing you can know then there might be other things, and your position has proven itself to be false.

KFC, being an agnostic doesn't mean you are some sort of nihilist.  It isn't doubting in the existence of god, or anything for that matter (doubting comes down to belief, so in this case that would be atheism...), it is saying you don't have the knowledge required to rationalize your belief/disbelief.

So if one says "I cannot prove god exists," they are not automatically saying "I don't believe that god exists," and they definitely are not saying "I don't believe anything exists."  To make such a claim is yet another logical fallacy.

on Jun 25, 2009

Agnosticism is a belief as well as atheism is a belief. 

Agnosticism is a belief that one cannot know God. 

Atheism is a belief which claims that no God exists; the universe is all there is. 


on Jun 25, 2009

Well, based on your definitions, I don't know what I am.  I don't "believe" things on that grand of a scale.  Obviously, I do "believe" some things that I'm not sure of - for example, that any master of the universe isn't going to be upset because I have no evidence of him/her/it.  You say you've met him.  How tall is he?  What color are his eyes?  What's his favorite kind of pizza?  Does he like video games?  What's his bowling average (300, of course - he couldn't NOT bowl a strike if he wanted to)


I will never stop short of examination and just choose to have faith in something because it suits me, or things *seem* to point in that direction.  My mind is fallible, as am I, and so, unless I can find evidence in something and am able to reproduce it for other witnesses to see, I will not just "believe" it.  You say you've met God?  You have a relationship with him?  You have proof!  Ok, well take your camera next time you guys are chatting it up and upload the photo for me.  I don't believe you.


So what does that make me?

on Jun 25, 2009

Agnosticism is a belief as well as atheism is a belief.

Agnosticism is a belief that one cannot know God.

This is incorrect.

Agnosticism Greek: α- a-, without + γνώσις gnōsis, knowledge

Without knowledge

It is not "without belief," or "a belief."

It is a philosophical view that the existence of god is inherently impossible to prove or disprove.

It is NOT a religious declaration.

That would be Atheism (disbelief), or Theism (belief).

Atheism- from the Greek word atheos, which means, among others, denying or disdaining god.

In our modern society, it is used an alternative to atheism in order to avoid the stigma's attached with being an atheist, however that is not what it really IS.



on Jun 25, 2009

Saying I don't know is really saying you don't believe.

Wrong; there we go again with absolutism. I don't know, and cannot prove that God exists; however, that does not mean that I don't believe, nor that I do believe. I just have no knowledge that can swing me either way.


on Jun 26, 2009

bit confused about the story.  Why doesn't convicing people god exists prove god exists?  If I convince 100 people that invisable pink unicorns exist and they say you should only eat pink food of fridays would that make the existance of the unicorns true?

on Jun 26, 2009

it's not about convincing anyone.  We can't.  I can't convince you.  It's not what we are called to do.  Oh...some try but they don't understand the power and majesty of the Holy Spirit.  It's God's job to do the convincing, not ours. 

This is internal, not external.  Big diff. 


on Jun 26, 2009

By the way, thanks for the tribute. I'm honored.

I'm glad I made your day Ock....but that really wasn't my point.   It goes a bit deeper than that. 

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