One80 Podcast, Episode 60

Josh McDowell, Atheist to Mega Evangelist

This is transcript of One80 Podcast may have errors that veer from the audio, found here:

Margaret Ereneta: Today’s show contains sexual abuse, alcoholism and some violence. But we feature a story that has 27 million books in print. Years ago I was talking to Josh McDowell. I asked him if he would consider writing a book of stories of testimonies from all over. Because I wanted to read it. I’ll never forget when he looked at me and said, Margaret, that’s you. He’s one of the reasons we’re here today. 

Ryan Henry: As a university student, Josh thought Christians were lacking brain cells and just plain dorks. He would expose their weaknesses during debates, looking for opportunities to tear them up. And then, some Christians at his college issued a challenge to him:

Make a thorough examination of Christianity and prove us wrong. That quest led to Josh finding the truth out for himself. Josh not only became a Christian, but shared his rigorous studies with the world in Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Than a Carpenter, and he has written or co authored more than 150 books.

He has been tenderly called “the nation’s grandpa” and is one of the greatest evangelists of our time, as well as the father of modern apologetics.

Ryan Henry: Welcome to Josh McDowell’s 180. Josh, thank you so much for being on the show.

I can’t wait to share your story with our listeners, but before I do it, we’re gonna turn to, Chat Deck, our trusty random question generator. 

I want you to suppose for a moment that all you can see is in black and white. Okay? And then one day you wake up and that you find that you can see in one extra color.

Which color would you choose to see?

Josh McDowell: Well, I would choose red. Because, it’s my favorite color. Everything else is blasé and boring after red. I mean, look at my t shirt! Yeah. I, I like red. If I wanted to really be spiritual,  [laughing] “Well, it reminds me of the blood of Jesus. And so when I put on a t shirt, I think of Jesus.”

Well, I don’t. I just put on a t shirt. it’s red.

Ryan Henry: I love it. And our listeners obviously can’t see your t shirt, but it is a very bright red. It’s a very bright red t shirt. And it’s great. let’s just get right into your story. Would you take us back to the beginning, Josh, in Michigan, and just tell us about your family life growing up there.

Josh McDowell: Well, it was kind of a probably a lower middle class family. We weren’t poor at all, but we weren’t well off at all. I never went without shoes, but often I went without socks. I always say I never missed a meal. Just went a long ways in between them. But we lived on a farm. We had a farm about 170 acres.

And then down the road, about 30 minutes was another 50 acre land that we had. So my father had to milk cows and all, but growing up, there were several things I struggled with. One was my father was an alcoholic. Hardly ever saw Dad sober until I was probably 19, 20 years old. I thought he drank because I wasn’t a son worth having a relationship with.

Now it had nothing to do with that. But that’s how a child can, interpret things. 

Ryan Henry: Hmm,

Josh McDowell: And, so, know, I would go to school. And my kids would make jokes about my father downtown making a fool of himself.

They never thought it bothered me because I would laugh in the outside when I was crying on the inside. And I never shared with anyone how much that hurt. everybody says, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the whole world could be like kids? No! Kids are mean! Kids could be hurtful! and all. And then, I really loved my mother.

She was a neat woman. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

So Josh, could you, could you talk to us a little bit about your relationship with your father

Josh McDowell: It was one that I, wish that other young person would ever have to experience. But in many ways I’m glad I went through it. Because one time I was in Julian, California, staying at the old hotel there. And we’re going to be doing some filming and I was focusing on my presentation and everything for this movie.

And, it hit me. I know as a Christian you’re not supposed to feel this way, I guess. But I like myself. And I like who I am. I’m not what I ought to be. But I’m not what I used to be, and by God’s grace, I’m not what I’m going to be. But I gotta tell ya, I’m sure enjoying the process, the ride.

It’s been a great train trip, for many years. And, so I am who I am today, mainly because of my mom and dad. My dad was the town alcoholic. He was almost always drunk. I have very few childhood memories of my father being sober. Now, there are times he was sober, but the times when he was drunk were so cataclysmic, those are the ones you remember 

Ryan Henry: Right. 

Josh McDowell: I’d go out to the barn as just a little kid. 10, 11 years old. My father would be drunk. And, When he wasn’t trying to kill my mother, I can still remember lying awake at night at 8, years old, plotting my father’s death. What I could do the next day to kill him and not be found by the police or the police knowing I did it.

And so, I’d go out to the barn and he passed out and I grabbed him by his legs. And I was just a little kid, but he was a little small man. I’d pull him through the barn into the pen where the cows would have their calves. And I’d get him up against the boards. I’d get my shoulder into his chest. And I’d take his arm and put it between the boards and tie a rope around it.

 I’d leave him there at 6 o’clock at night until 6, 630 the next morning. And I remember the first two or three times that I went out there, I was so discouraged.

 He was still alive. All I ever wanted for Christmas as a kid. was for my father to quit hurting my mother.

And I grew up believing it was my fault that my father hurt my mother.

Now I had nothing to do with it, but the way kids process things, I processed it. If only I was stronger, my father couldn’t hurt my mother. 

Josh McDowell: So therefore, it’s my fault that my father can hurt my mother. That sounds so stupid, but boy, to a kid, it was real. And so when I went off to college, I had that bitterness. I had that resentment towards my father. I remember my 12th birthday party was out on the farm, had 12 of my friends out there.

And we’re all having a good time, and then my dad drives in the driveway drunk. Goes into the bushes, tore the bushes out, went up in the grass, hit the stairwell, everything. And all my friends were there just laughing. I was laughing with them, but let me tell you, I wanted to die. I felt so ashamed, so embarrassed, kind of ruined the day.

But that was kind of my childhood, but I had a lot of good things in my childhood too. I was good at sports. I was good in school. 

And, I think I had some pretty good friends. I didn’t have a lot of friends, but boy, the friends I had were good. 

And so when I went off to, um, Kellogg Junior College.

Snap, crackle, and pop. That was our war cry from Kellogg’s, but, I was hurt. I was mad. I was just plain ticked off at my dad, my mom, and just life. And, So when I went to the university, most people probably never caught that in my life. I became, um, freshman class president, then student body president, I think it was, and all the time inside I was just torn up.

I have that capacity, like many people have, to be laughing on the outside when I’m crying on the inside. and there’s good, bad, and ugly to 

Ryan Henry: Yeah,

Josh McDowell: And so when I went off to school, I was hurt, I was bitter, and I was mad. 

Ryan Henry: If I could just also ask if um, so, you know, growing up you’ve got this, you, abuse, happening, you’ve got this terrible situation with your father, And so, you know, I understand, things that I’ve read about your story as well. I mean, growing up, were you, you were a part of a church?

Josh McDowell: My mother would take me to Church. 

And when I describe it to people, what it was like, in spite of what the pastor preached, I still believed in God. if you went to that church at that time, and you believed in Christ, when you left you wouldn’t. And if you didn’t know him before you went there, you wouldn’t want to know him while you were going to that church. It was all just social. 

I went to Sunday school. My mother made sure I went to church. She never went, but made sure I was there. And I used to boast. It was partly true. The only thing I got out of church was putting a dollar in the offering, taking a 1. 25 out in change. 

I made about 25 cents a week. I did that. I would actually do that. [ashamed] Isn’t that awful? And God still loves me. Even though I robbed, well, it wasn’t his church. Trust me. Jesus couldn’t get into that church at that time—that hardened me a lot towards Christianity.

Ryan Henry: Okay. Yeah. That’s what I was wondering about that. Cause I know you said coming into college, I mean, you were, you were, not wanting to hear anything about this religion stuff. kind of 

Josh McDowell: yeah. 

Ryan Henry: you had gotten to that point, but that makes a lot of sense. 

Josh McDowell: so at that college there I saw a small group of people, there were six, eight students, and two faculty, and one of their wives. And their lives really stood out. You ever seen a group of people that just stands out? Well, most people stand out because they’re weird, but these people stood out from my notice two things in their lives.

And if I hadn’t had my background, I probably wouldn’t have noticed these two things. One, they seem to have a genuine, authentic love and care for each other. They really did. They seem to, really be in tune with each other. 

But equal to that, the second thing I saw was they seemed to have that same genuine love, authentic caring for people outside their group. Well, the way I was raised, that was weird. But let me tell you, I wanted it. I really wanted it. and so I made friends with them. 

And after a couple weeks, I was chatting with this one young lady that was part of the group. Oh, she was cute. Oh my gosh, she was good looking. And I thought all Christians were ugly. I did! I figured as a Christian, if you couldn’t make it anywhere else in life, you became a Christian. I’m not joking. I was dead serious. 

But these people were really sharp and they had it upstairs and all. So I looked at this young lady and I put on the big front, I acted like I could care less, but I’m sure they knew that deep down in, I wanted something. I just looked at this young lady and almost in a flippant, I’ll probably have to say even arrogant way, I just said, what changed your life?

This was in the first year of college. What made you so different? Why are you so different than the other students, the leaders on campus, the professors and all? And. She didn’t lose a beat. She looked me right back in the eye and said two words that I never thought I’d ever hear in the university as part of the solution.

Believe me, I never dreamed I would ever hear these two words in the university as a solution. She just looked back at me and said, Jesus Christ. 

I said, Oh, for God’s sakes, don’t give me that garbage. I’m fed up with religion, the church, the Bible, Christians, Christianity. I want nothing to do with it. And I just lit into her. Wow. She didn’t back off. she stood her ground and she shot right back at me and I mean, she didn’t take her eyes off me. She shot right back and said, mister, we didn’t tell you religion, the church, the Bible or Christianity or Christians. We told you the person of Jesus Christ. Well, ouch. I apologized.

 I Had really been rude. So I apologized but I said, I want you to understand something. I want nothing to do with Christianity. I want nothing to do with a Bible, with Christians of the church. Then I couldn’t believe it.


Josh McDowell: Heh, heh. Right there in the university, these students challenged me. to intellectually examine two things, which I thought was a joke because, I believe Christians had two brains. One was lost and the other was out looking for it. 

 I figured if a Christian had a brain, it would die of isolation or loneliness, but they just kept challenging me over and over again to check out two things intellectually. One, the Bible was being true and there being the Word of God, which I thought was a joke. And second, to examine Jesus Christ as who he claimed to be the Son of God and the Messiah, the Savior. And I just laughed at them and rejected them, but they just kept on.

Josh McDowell: They wouldn’t give up! and they irritated me. They ticked me off. Now, don’t get me wrong. What those Christians were doing was totally appropriate. I was the problem, because I had stuffed all that anger, that bitterness, that resentment down into my life. And when you do that, you don’t respond the right way. 

And when they said Jesus Christ, it was like a volcano. It all came out, all that animosity, everything. and so I said, okay, I’ll accept your challenge. Oh my gosh, they got so excited, thought they had a convert. [laugh] And I said, I’m not going to do it to prove anything. I’m going to do it to refute you. And I set out to write my first book, that huge one called Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

But I set out to write that book to make an intellectual joke of those Christian students and faculty at Kellogg College. And I’d made a lot of money my first two years, in school. And so I left the college for six months and traveled throughout the United States, England, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the Middle East to gather the evidence to write the book, Evidence Demands a Verdict Against Christianity. 

I was returning back to the United States, and I had to stay overnight in London, because back then they didn’t have a lot Jet trips back and forth. And so I’d heard about this small museum that had a library with a lot of biblical manuscripts and scrolls because my thought was if I could show the manuscripts and scrolls were not reliable my case was won because almost everything Christians teach is based upon the manuscripts and the scrolls the biblical manuscripts the biblical scrolls. 

And so I went down there and started checking them out and I’ll never forget. I remember I sat down at one of the tables where everybody was studying, and I leaned back in my chair, put my hands behind my head, and I wasn’t conscious of my surroundings. And right out loud, I just said, “It’s true! It’s true! It’s true!” I remember it well, because this one woman said, Shhhhh! [Ryan laughs]

Josh McDowell: I mean, she said it very forcefully. everybody else was kind of looking askance at me. And It was there that I concluded, when I said it is true, what I meant was that I could hold the scriptures in my hand, the New Testament say, and I concluded it was true that I have what was written down, it has not been changed.

Nobody took out what they didn’t like, put in what they did like, etc. And I was convinced it was true in this sense that Jesus said that and Jesus did that. I wasn’t convinced that what Jesus said. was true.

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Mm-Hmm.

Josh McDowell: That came later. But I first, if I hadn’t become convinced the Bible was true, I never would have checked out Jesus Christ or Christianity. Because if the Bible’s false, it all crumbles. And, so that’s what I meant when I said it is true. 

Ryan Henry: Mm-Hmm. 

Josh McDowell: And then I had to struggle with, between my mind and my will, was what was written down true? It’s true that it was written down. But was what was written down true? Do you see the  difference? 

Ryan Henry: Absolutely. 

Josh McDowell: Because if what was written down wasn’t true, then I could care less that what I have today is what was written down. I might be dumb, but I’m not stupid, so then I started to examine that. And there were a number of things that persuaded me. 

One was they wrote as eyewitnesses. It’s like in Acts 1. They said, “What our eyes have seen, what our ears have heard, what our hands have handled, we declare unto you.” You see, today, almost all Christians and many non believers really want to know, is the Bible true?

Is the New Testament true? ? And the first thing that hit me was, They wrote as eyewitnesses or recorded eyewitness accounts. Now historically, for me, some of your best testimony is eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony, is not always accurate. But for me, it’s probably accurate amongst any other type of testimony historically. So with the new testimony of eyewitness testimony, what our ears have heard, what our hands have handled, we declare it to you. Today, we want to know, is it true?

I mean, how do we know? Well, think what it was back then. The disciples would come to the church and they’d say, look, we’ve got to know this for sure. How do you know Jesus said that? How do you know he did that? How do you know it’s true? Why? Because they knew if they became true followers of Jesus, they’d probably be executed.

They’d probably be killed. Today, in most places, you wouldn’t be. And yet we still want to know, is it true? Well, back then, they, with a capital T, wanted to know, is it true? Because if they follow Christ, they could well be killed for it. 

So that’s when the, disciples said, look. We were there, we heard with our own ears, not somebody else, what we saw with their own eyes, not somebody else, what we handled with their own hands is what we are declaring to you. 

But the second thing that got me, and this to me is very powerful, they not only wrote and spoke as eyewitnesses, but they appealed to knowledge of their opponents concerning the facts they were talking about. You say, what do you mean? Look at Acts 2, Peter’s sermon.

He said, “Men of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you!” Here these people wanted to kill Peter and all. And they said, “Well you’re lying, that’s not true.” He said, “Men and women of Israel. Jesus of Nazareth, the man who was attested to you, not just to us. He was attested to you with miracles and wonders and signs.”

Margaret Ereneta: Thanks for listening to One80. We really appreciate your likes and shares. Please consider leaving us a review on your favorite pod player. Now back to the show.

Josh McDowell: And then Peter said, “Well, it’s just you yourselves know.” Now, come on, you don’t have to have two brains to realize. If that wasn’t true, if they hadn’t seen those miracles and wonders, Peter would have been lucky to have made out that they’re alive, let alone have one person join the church, and hundreds joined the church. And so they wrote as eyewitnesses. 

Josh McDowell: And second, they appealed to the knowledge of their listeners concerning the facts and the truth that they were preaching. Wow. And with the disciples, when they became convinced, they didn’t go off to Jordan Galilee, everywhere else, preaching. They went right back to Jerusalem, where If Christ had not been raised from the dead, where would have been the hardest place in the face of the globe to preach the resurrection?

Jerusalem! Because a 15 minute walk could show you the grave was empty or the grave was full. and so that’s where they went. They didn’t go off to Galilee. They went right back to the most difficult place in the face of the earth. And so that held a lot of weight, with me. And it led me to the point then of, Also, looking at people’s lives, I would meet these Christians and I would say, um, Your life is so different.

When did it start? Every one of them would say something like, Well, when I trusted Christ, or I invited Christ into my life, And after a while, I thought, there must be something to that. Because people from the most intelligent, savage, to the most ignorant professor, was having a changed life. 

And they all brought it back to the person of Jesus Christ. From the educated, the uneducated, the wealthy, to the poor. it always came back to Christ. So finally I concluded, there’s got to be something to a relationship with Christ. That in different parts of the world and everything, when somebody comes to Christ, their life is changed. 

And so that December 19, at the end of the second year in university, I became a Christian. Somebody said, “How do you know?” I was there. It changed my life. I prayed four things because I knew the Bible said, “If we confess our sins, he’s faithful and just to forgive us.” Now I’d never been to a Bible study or anything at that time.

I had no idea what that meant, but I knew there were things in my life, incompatible. with a holy just righteous God. So I personally called that sin, found out later. That’s what Jesus meant by sin. And, so I said, God, whatever that means, confession, I do it. I confess my sins. 

Second, I knew that the Bible said, Jesus said, but to as many as received him, to them gave you the right to become a child of God. Now, what in the world does that mean, to receive Christ? I had no idea. and then a believer shared with me Revelation 3:20 where Jesus said, “I stand the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in.” 

I thought whoa. Wait a minute. That makes sense. If Christ has come into your life, you need to invite him to come in that means you need to open the door to your heart your mind, whatever. So I just said, God, I do that.

I opened the door of my heart, my life, come into my life. And I’ll never forget saying, and be my personal, not just my Savior and Lord, be my personal Savior and Lord. 

Ryan Henry: Wow.

Josh McDowell: And, nothing happened. Nothing happened. I didn’t rush out and buy a harp. I didn’t sprout wings. well something did happen. I felt like I was going to vomit. I hear all these people say how they came to Jesus and they were overwhelmed with joy and happiness and all. I came to Christ and I wanted to throw up. Because I remember. Almost the moment I asked Christ to be my personal Savior and Lord, my mind started questioning that, saying, Josh, have you made an emotional decision that you will later regret intellectually?

And that scared me. also I was very sensitive to my reputation because I was about the last person at that college to ever come to Christ. so I had to uphold my reputation so I didn’t want to be around a lot of people when I became a Christian. but I would say it took six months to a year, year and a half.

My entire life changed. 

Ryan Henry: Wow. 

Josh McDowell: It was nothing staggering. I didn’t see a bolt of lightning or anything. I didn’t even think a whole lot about it. But all of a sudden, just things began to change without me even thinking about them. And all of a sudden I realized, well I didn’t realize, I thought, what is going on in my life?

For example, one of the first things that changed, I used to have quite a temper. Somebody would look at me cross eyed and I’d try to straighten them for them. All of a sudden, I found myself not losing my temper. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah. 

Josh McDowell: And now, to other people, that wouldn’t be significant. Boy, to me, it was significant.

And I didn’t search or seek out to have my temper changed. It just happened, according to God’s plan. And so when things started happening like that, and all of a sudden I realized, something has happened in my life. 

And, from 6 to 13 years of age, I was homosexually raped. I would say… Two to three, four, five times a week for seven years he was hard on the farm to be a cook and a housekeeper. So my mother could work the fields or my parents went downtown or went away for a few days. 

They always left me with Wayne . And my mother would always make me stand in front of him and say, Now, Joss, J O S is what they called me then. Joss, you obey Wayne.

You do everything he tells you to do. And young man, If I get home and you’ve been disobedient, you’re gonna get a thrashing.

Well, you didn’t want a thrashing from my mother It hurts. And so what do you do at 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 years old? you did what Wayne told you to do. finally, it was about just had turned 13, I was, throwing bales of hay onto the wagons from the baler and everything. And, he came up, put his hand on my shoulder. I swung around, pushed him against the wall in the living 

Josh McDowell: room, and I said, if you ever touch me again, I’ll kill 

Ryan Henry: Hmm.

Josh McDowell: And you know, I probably would have. . but he never touched me again because I believe, he truly believed that I meant it, and I think I did. and after I came to Christ, two things happened. One, it was like the Holy Spirit spoke to me. I needed to go and talk to my father. 

And, so I drove to Battle Creek, Michigan from Union City, about 23 miles. We went out to dinner at a, diner, and I sat across the table and said, dad, I’ve come to know Christ as my savior and Lord. And here’s why. And I shared with him.

Ryan Henry: Wow.

Josh McDowell: And right there, my father prayed with me to trust Christ as savior and Lord. 

What was it? It was set. No, it was two days after that. He came into my room. When he really confessed Christ as the Saviour and Lord.

And, that was probably one of the most significant days of my life, ever.

With that, I’d been in a serious car accident. My head was all strapped down to bed. I was on a board in bed and my arms are strapped down my legs, my chest, everything, because I’d severely injured my lower back and my lower neck. And so they didn’t want me to move in any way, afraid that I’d further injure it.

So I’m stuck like this and my father.

Ryan Henry: Wow. 

Josh McDowell: leans over and accepts Christ. And, uh, was so funny because I started crying. But, I couldn’t see. Because I couldn’t turn my head, I couldn’t reach up and get the tears out of my eyes. So it was like being in the, being under the water in the swimming pool and looking up.

Everything was distorted because of the tears. And I’ll never forget, my father wiped my tears away. They were tears of joy. But, I still can picture that line there. And he wiped, the man that I hated.

That is when I knew, when I told my dad I loved him.

Margaret Ereneta: Did you notice this? God sorta undid the times Josh hooked his Dad up to a board, by having the tables turned, where Josh himself is hooked up and unable to move and it’s his Dad who redeems him. It’s so beautiful how God works like that!

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

Josh McDowell: That’s when I knew something had happened in my life because I wasn’t used to that. And then it came to Wayne . God said, you need to forgive him. I said, no way. I want that man to burn in hell I knew the Bible was true.

I knew Christ was real. And I knew the Bible said we must forgive, and Jesus said we need to forgive. So I drove about 45 miles away. He lived in a house trailer at a trailer court at that time, and I walked up, knocked on the door, and he answered it.

Ryan Henry: Hmm. 

Josh McDowell: And, his face turned white when he saw me.

And I said, “Wayne, what you did to me was evil. Very evil. But I’ve come to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, and I’ve come here to tell you.” And what I told him, guys, I didn’t want it to be true. 

Intellectually, I knew what I was going to say was true, but emotionally, I did not want it to be true. Because I didn’t want to forgive him. I said, “Wayne, I’ve come to one conclusion. 

Jesus died as much for you as he did for me. I forgive you.” And I turned around and walked away 

Ryan Henry: Wow.

Josh McDowell: I never saw him again. he died seven years later. But you know, if I hadn’t been obedient and gone and forgave him, It would have haunted me to this day.

The power of forgiveness. I meet these people that hate their dad, and find out he died ten years ago! And I said, isn’t that interesting? Your father is dead, and he still controls your life from the grave. How stupid can you be?

Josh McDowell: To let someone, anyone, let alone somebody who has died, control your life. No one is going to control my life except Jesus and my wife. I hope in that order. 

But that’s the story of how I dealt with some of these things in my life. and it’s the power of forgiveness, whether my father or Wayne who sexually abused me for years. 

Ryan Henry: Josh, I so appreciate you just like opening up on it. Obviously you’ve had time to heal from that. And and it could be hard for listeners especially in this world that in the culture that we’re in, which is very, very justice heavy, and, uh, I’m all for justice. 

But what would you say to anybody who would say, “How could you forgive him or he really deserves hell.” And, and what would you say about that? Cause that’s an emotional thing. That’s a hard thing to hear what happened to you.

Josh McDowell: Well, I would probably say this, which I said to myself way back then. How can I not forgive Wayne when Jesus did? Because if I fail to forgive anyone, then I’m saying I have a higher standard than Christ has. 

Ryan Henry: Whoa. 

Josh McDowell: And hoo hoo, I don’t want to say that. I had no good feelings about it. It was by faith.

I didn’t have a good rush of emotion in my life and a joy. I need to do this. It’s the right thing to do. I just did it out of obedience that it was the right thing to do.And so I did it by faith. 

Ryan Henry: I love it. 

Yeah. Yeah. 

So Josh, last question. What would the Josh McDowell now say to the younger Josh McDowell before you accepted Jesus? What advice would you give? 

Josh McDowell: Probably what the Pastor, Factoryville Bible Church said to me when he came to the home of a young lady I was dating from the church to, see me. And he knew where I stood and everything. He never had any education or anything, but he had wisdom. And wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge in a righteous way. And boy did he know how to do that. And he said, Josh. Check it out intellectually.

At least if you reject Christ, know why you’re rejecting it. He didn’t say if you believe in Christ, you know why you believe. No, he said if you reject Christ and walk away, at least intellectually know why. Well, boy, that appealed to me. Because I thought, yeah, man, Pastor, I’ll really put you to shame and everyone else.

And I’d probably say that to someone today.. Intellectually, check it out, and if you reject Christ, at least know why you’re rejecting it. I don’t think intellectually could have some good reasons to, but that’s what I would say today.

I always tell people, check it out with your mind before you check it out with your heart. 

I challenge you to check it out intellectually. I really do. Because you might have the same experience that I had. When intellectually, I finally concluded Christ not only claimed to be God, but he had the evidence to support his claims. And I would say, That was the biggest surprise of my life, when I knew intellectually I was wrong about Christ.

And maybe you will have that same experience of finding out that you are wrong about Christ, no matter how smart you are. 

Ryan Henry: Wow, wow.

Josh McDowell: I mean, I’ve been doing this almost 60

years now and given 27, 000 times. Hey folks, thank you for this opportunity. I really appreciate it.

Ryan Henry: thanks Josh. Yes, Josh, thank you so much, for being on the show. Uh, it’s very, very clear that your life has just really impacted so, so many people. And so we are just thankful for the Lord, for your testimony, for your willingness, come on in and be with us.

Josh McDowell: God bless. Take care.

Margaret Ereneta: Thanks for listening to 180 today. Help us spread good news like this on social by joining us on Instagram and share this show with a friend, it might be the best news they hear today. Today’s sendoff is from TC Boyd the Artist who did a rap about Josh’s life. Please enjoy. 

TC Boyd the Artist: This is my story Josh McDowell 

 Growing up in a broken home/
 Abused by a farm worker/
 Feeling so angry inside/
 My pain could make me hurt ya/
 Dad was the town drunk/
 He beat my mom like a punk/
 I had to tie him up in the barn/
 To keep him from doing harm/
 I felt broken inside/
 Not knowing who I was/
 So angry and depressed/
 Suicide I thought of/
 Thank God I didn’t achieve it/
 So much pain you wouldn’t believe it/
 Who am I, why am I here/
 I needed something to believe in/
 Thought church might help/
 But religion made it worse/
 If God is so good…/
 Why does this world have hurt/
 So I turned to knowledge/
 Wanted to be the best in college/
 I would debate any Christian/
 To shut them down in an instant/
 Professors didn’t like me, because of the questions I’d choose/
 I then thought prestige was what I need, so I tried to be cool/
 A popular guy on campus, a leader, and a partier too/
 But all of this left me empty, still in need of some truth/
 Then some Christians whom I considered unthinking weaklings/ Seemed to be so happy, that it really got me thinking/
 So I challenged their beliefs, what’s the source of their peace/
 They told me not religion, but Jesus was all that I need/
 I refuted, but they concluded I haven’t looked at the evidence/ Challenged me to intellectually examine if Jesus’ claims were relevant/ Challenge they gave, I didn’t know would change my life/
 This is my journey of how I finally came to Christ/ 

 Can I begin again/
 Can I find a life made new/
 I’m on a quest for knowledge/ God will it lead me to you/
 Can I begin again/
 I’m on a search for truth/
 I’ve been traveling down this road/ All I’m seeing is you/ 

Can I begin again 

Can I begin again 

 ….During school I decided to take some time off/
 Traveled Europe’s historical libraries, to prove Christians false/
 But the more I started digging, I then started seeing/
 That the claims that Jesus made man were really intriguing/
 The writings of the Old and New Testament I just couldn’t beat/
 I found them the most reliable writings of all antiquity/
 Despite my efforts to refute, I started to conclude/
 That Jesus was not a myth, he is real, and he spoke the truth/
 Plus the scriptures gave answer to my biggest questions which include/ Who am I, What is my purpose, and what is my destiny too/
 It took a while for me to commit, but I finally committed/
 I said a simple prayer one day and I finally admitted/
 Saying, thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for me/
 I confess those thing in my life displeasing you to Please/
 I ask for your forgiveness and please cleanse me of my sins/
 I open the door of my heart, so Lord gone head and walk in/
 After some time I started changing, felt more relief and peace/
 My bad temper got better, and my anger finally started to cease/
 Then one day filled with compassion, I told my father that I love him/ And I forgive him, and I believe that Jesus is really thinking of him/
 My father said “if God can change my life like he did yours/
 Then I want to trust in this Jesus as my savior and Lord”/
 My dads life then changed, he never drank alcohol again/
 For the rest of his life he served Jesus until his very end/
 I share my story because I know so many people are searching/
 One of the reasons I wrote Evidence That Demands A verdict/
 See people have been mistaken, taught lies for ages/
 When you research without bias though, you find Jesus is the way its/ Truly remarkable, he is who he said he is/
 Anyone humbly seeking will conclude as I did/
 There is only one God, one faith that’s leads to eternal life/
 And that path, is truly only found in Christ/ 

Hook Switch:
 You can begin again/
 You can find a life made new/
 You’re on a quest for knowledge/ God lead them to you/
 You can begin again/
 You’re on a search for truth/
 You’ve been traveling down this road/ God let them see you/
 You can begin again…. 

 Say… Can I begin again/ Can I begin again
 You can begin again 

Kate Kavanaugh: One80 is brought to you by OneWay.