It has been said that the investigation of Christian evidences is on the whole unsatisfactory, because the point to which it is intended to lead the inquiry is known beforehand. This objection is very much in accordance with the habit of mind which loves a considerable degree of uncertainty, and which wishes to make the first elements of truth a mere field for speculation. But if this objection be good, will it not apply to other subjects also? For instance, in mathematical studies we know very well as soon as a theorem is enunciated what the point is which the teacher intends to prove. We are not instructed how to demonstrate that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, in order that this should afterwards be in our minds a debatable question, but we learn the demonstration that this may thenceforth be held as an established and unquestionable fact. Just so is it as to the evidence for the records of our religion. We do not prove the genuineness of the New Testament books on any grounds of mere opinion, so that what seems established today by be overturned tomorrow, but we demonstrate it by evidence, which loses no part of its value by lapse of time, any more than time can weaken the force of a mathematical demonstration.
– S.P. Tregelles (from A Lecture on the Historic Evidence of the Authorship and Transmission of the Books of the New Testament, 1851)
The chief point to keep in mind about a hypothesis, or theory, is that it is to be cast aside for one that is better the moment the facts indicate the existence of a better. It is the traceless and eternal war of facts against superstition, predisposition, bias, and error which science undertakes to wage. This inductive method is pursued in physical science everywhere, and in the social sciences also, in economics, civics, sociology, and now at length in ethics and religion. Evolution and criticism both erect their intellectual structures with the stones blasted in the wary of the inductive method.
We have no option as defenders of Christianity. Of all people, we must not turn our faces away from an enterprise which first of all sets out in quest of facts. We hold that eternal facts, the most solid of all realities, are the contents of our Christian faith. We maintain that the only adequate hypothesis to account for a vast mass of facts is the Christian hypothesis, and that verification in all its legitimate forms in the personal and moral realm may be applied to the hypothesis successfully.
– Edgar Young Mullins (from Why Is Christianity True?, 1905)