My Favorite Christian Apologetic Method


apologetics

Three hundred years of persecution was not able to stop the spiritual and physical growth of the church. Who does not get excited when reading the book of Acts? The sound doctrine, the power, the signs, the wonders, the love and the sense of family! As a pastor I prayed many times to see these characteristics manifesting in our local churches.

         The history of the church shows us that the enemy came up with a very effective system; a system that was able to do what persecution did not. That system is the mixing of the church with secular things, concepts, philosophies, ideologies and yes apologetics.

         I believe we need Christian apologetics today like never before. Our core belief are being challenged and mocked by friendly fire; a fire from within. I believe the focus should be internal apologetics for we are consumed with much confusion. The minimizing of the authority God’s Word is rampant. It seems like we have enter the season of, what I like to call, the Hippie Gospel.

         So I look at our apologetic ministers who fearlessly and humbly defend our dogmas and I look for our pastors and teachers in our local churches to dig deep and explain those core values through the uncompromising teaching of the sound doctrine of the apostles.[1] But what do I see? Many of us, from within, have embrace the demonic trap of mixing God’s truth with the devils lies. The Babylonian system is alive and well today, but God’s cry continue to be the same, “Come out of her…”[2]

         Why should I even attempt to convince a lost soul of God’s truth through reasoning? This was the devils successful attempt to deeply affect the ministry of apologetics. This approach opened door for the era of The Enlightenment and we allow that worldview to deeply affect us. The seventh and eight century was an era of great apologetics, as explained by Beilby. However, look at the results of mixing with worldly ideas;

         “Nevertheless, this period is known as a time when the opponents of orthodox Christianity belief began to get     the upper hand on Christian apologist.”[3]

         Why was this taking place? How did the opponents of orthodox Christianity were able to start turning the tide? Beilby gave us the answer in a very clear fashion. Beilby tells us that the first thousand years apologetics was between Judaism and Islam. However, for the first time we had skeptics and freethinkers in our camp. We now have a group of very smart people who recognized the existence of God, but rejected, and continue to so today, any divine revelation. This group is known Deist.[4] These folks were and are the worst, because they openly recognize the existence of God, still rebel against Him; his plan of salvation and their conditions as sinners.

         We are lost without God; we are lost without salvation and salvation will never be achieved through reason. Salvation is not an intellectual thing. We are save by grace alone; through faith alone.[5] We are dead in our sin.[6] John Locke goes as far as stating that “reason is the sole arbiter of truth and that faith is unnecessary when rational arguments are present.”[7]

         As of this point in my life I don’t have the time nor the intelligence to go back to school and study the cosmos, physics, mathematics, philosophy, history and all of these wonderful disciplines that are able to equip us to defend the faith against the enormous wave of skepticism we have in our society today. The reality is that it will take me too many years to be able to compete with these highly educated atheist and deist. But is God requiring from every believer to be highly educated on these different fields in order to be able to fulfill First Peter 3:15? Is that is so, we are greater trouble.

         As I look at the evidentialist strategy and as it seems like C. S. Lewis is their best ambassador[8]; I am trouble by the idea that we must present a well-reasoned and well-supported response. The trouble that I have with C. S. Lewis is that after you finish being mesmerized by his great presentations and arguments and you look deeply into his theology you are left with a very disturbing theology. I believe strongly in Lewis’s contemporary theologian, Karl Barth when he states, “The best apologetics is good theology.”[9] The Scripture tells us that God’s attributes are clearly seen; God has left mankind without excuse; we all know that He exists.[10] Using evidence is a good approach, but it cannot be the main approach of my apologetics.

         I find the experientialist strategy noble, but ineffective. Our experiences with God have a place when addressing the lost and as a tool of encouragement for one another. It is a powerful tool indeed that helps us overcome the discouragement of this sinful world.[11] But as a formal strategy for apologetics it can be easily dismissed. The reality is that when faced with unbelievers in general, especially skeptics, atheist, etc., we are dealing with folks that want nothing to do with God.[12] Like us before we got saved, they need a personal encounter with Jesus.

         Does this means that I don’t believe in the ministry of apologetics? I do believe in this ministry, but I will personally embrace the presuppositionalist strategy. I strongly believe that God will confirm His Word[13], not my reasoning, my knowledge or how good of an argument I was able to present. This goes in great harmony with what Beilby states concerning the presuppositionalist strategy,

         “Consequently, the authority of Scripture and of Jesus Christ must be presupposed before sense can be made of arguments for the truthfulness of Christianity”[14]

         Some evangelists today are preaching a different Gospel; a gospel that does not require repentance or even believe. Preachers are reading one Bible verse and then go on for an hour talking about thinks that have nothing to do with Scripture. Teachers are introducing appealing teachings, making outrageous statement with no Biblical backing. The apologetic ministry is the backbone that brings us back to the core, to the center, to what sustain our belief. The apologetic ministry is not afraid of the tough questions; they study, they read and show themselves approve as they rightly divide the Word of truth[15] and, most importantly, the apologetic ministry goes the extra mile by standing strong and ready; defending the hope that is in us to whomever ask.[16]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] 2 Timothy 4:3

[2] Revelation 18:4

[3] James K. Beilby, Thinking About Christian Apologetics: What it is and Why We Do it, (Downers Groove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011) 61

[4] Ibid. 62

[5] Ephesians 2:8-9

[6] Ephesians 2:5

[7] James K. Beilby, Thinking About Christian Apologetics: 88

[8] James K. Beilby, Thinking About Christian Apologetics: 96

[9] James K. Beilby, Thinking About Christian Apologetics: 76

[10] “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world           His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” Romans 1:18-20 (NKJV)

[11] Revelation 12:11

[12] James K. Beilby, Thinking About Christian Apologetics: 99

[13] Mark 16:20

[14] James K. Beilby, Thinking About Christian Apologetics: 99

[15] 2 Timothy 2:15

[16] But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 1 Peter 3:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

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