How do we assess whether a doctrinal claim is true? To keep the discussion simple, here are two ways to answer this question. The first is the “Show Me” approach. This approach is characterized by a desire to persuade others based upon the logic and evidence of the Bible. So, for instance, if I try to convince you that God never changes, I will show you from the Bible that this is the case. With the “Show Me” approach, the authority for doctrine is the Bible.
The second is the “Trust Me” approach. This approach is characterized by a reliance upon people’s perceptions. With this approach, Christians persuade others by referencing some authority that they and only they can access, rather than appealing to some external authority. “God told me so” is a classic “Trust Me” approach to proving doctrine. Another classic example of the “Trust Me” approach is the numerous stories of people dying, going to heaven, seeing Jesus, and returning to normal life. The “Trust Me” approach troubles me, since false religions originate from people who teach this approach. Islam and Mormonism serve as examples of this. In both religions, their founders, Muhammed, and Joseph Smith, “received” privileged revelation from God that led them to create new religions.
Because of this, I am very skeptical of the “Trust Me” approach. If someone tells you to accept what they say because God told them, run for the hills. Ultimate authority resides in the Word of God and not in the minds of men (Jer 23:16). Therefore, we must be “Show Me” Christians and not “Trust Me” Christians.