Case-Making 101: Why Do Christians Need To Understand and Practice Apologetics?

Why Do You Believe What You Believe

What is Christian Apologetics?

  • The word “apologetics” comes from the Greek word “apologia,” pronounced “ap-ol-og-ee’-ah.” It means, “a verbal defense.” It is used eight times in the New Testament: Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 10:5-6; Philippians1:7; 2 Timothy 4:16, and 1 Peter 3:15.
  • Apologetics is the Biblical call to all Christians to give a defense of their faith. Apologetics, apologia in the Greek, means to give a defense, like one would do in a court of law.
  • Christian Apologetics seeks to address misconceptions and defend the Christian faith from an intellectual point of view along with a Biblical worldview. It deals with the pursuit and defense of GOD’S TRUTH.
  • Apologetics helps point people to truth found in Scripture and the ultimate truth that came in the person and teachings of Jesus.

Is there a Biblical Model for Apologetics?

Jesus used apologetics:

Jesus disclosed His fulfillment of the Old Testament Law and prophecy:

  • “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  Matthew 5:17-18

Jesus defended the importance of understanding the Scriptures:

  • “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”  -Matthew 22:29

Jesus provided evidence for His identity through His miracles:

  • Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”  Luke 5:18-26

Paul used Apologetics during his mission trips:

Yet Saul (Paul) grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.  -Acts 9:22

Apollos used apologetics:

For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.  -Acts 18:28

Peter: used apologetics it in Acts chapters 2, 3 and 10 and in both of his letters.

Stephen: used apologetics it in Acts chapter 7 before they stoned him and he became the first Christian martyr.

John: used apologetics throughout the entire Gospel of John and his 3 letters.

Most of the New Testament is written to provide evidence for what had happened through Jesus and to refute false teaching in the early Church.

The early Church fathers (disciples/leaders of the Church in the first three centuries like Justin, Origen, Ignatius and others) used apologetics defending the truth of Scripture.

Is there a reason Apologetics is so important?

In today’s culture Christianity is under attack spiritually and from secular humanistic philosophies. Christians need to be equipped to answer questions, correct misconceptions and defend the faith.

Warnings from the Apostles Paul, Peter and John:

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.  –1 Timothy 4:1

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  -2 Peter 3:3

I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.   -1 John 2:21-26

 

Watch this twelve minute video for an overview of Christian Apologetics by Doug Powell, M.A. Christian Apologetics and Author of eight “iwitness Apps” for mobil devices.


How can we use Apologetics today?

THE APOLOGETICS ROADMAP

  • This roadmap models what top Christian Apologists are using today—many people specialize in one or more of the roadmap points.
  • The roadmap is based on the most important questions asked by people, at least at some point in their lives.
  • The roadmap is for both Christians and non-Christians who are, as Dr. Frank Turek says, “looking for the box top to the puzzle of life.”

Roadmap point #1:  Truth is absolute and knowable

God has not made truth hard for us to find, He has made it plain (Romans 1:18-19). Truth can be found in…

  1. God’s natural revelation (His creation)
  2. God’s special revelation (His Word)
  3. Jesus’ revelation (His teachings)
  4. The Holy Spirit’s Revelation (the Spirit of Truth)
  5. Reality: What is true will always match up with reality (the way things really are)

Roadmap point #2:  It is true a theistic God exists

There is overwhelming evidence for an intelligent Creator vs. the theory of Darwinian evolution. Evidence can be found in…

  1. The beginning of the universe (Cosmological Argument)
  2. The design of the universe (Teleological Argument-the Anthropic Principle)
  3. The design of life (Teleological Argument-the Biochemistry Principle)
  4. The universal moral law (Moral Argument)

Roadmap point #3:  God exists and miracles are possible

Miracles are possible because God exists and miracles can be used to confirm a message from God.

  1. Miracles are rare and can be used to communicate a message from God in addition to providential intervention.
  2. The Bible is God’s message where He communicates to His creation about human history, human purpose, human destiny and His unconditional love for us.
  3. The most important communication He gives us in His Word is that of the Scarlet Thread of His Son Jesus, whom He promised from the beginning.

Roadmap point #4:  The Bible is the Word of God

The Bible is historically reliable and is God’s inspired and inerrant Word. This is evidenced by… MAPS-S

  • Manuscript evidence
  • Archeological evidence
  • Prophecy fulfillment
  • Scientific reliability
  • Saved lives and testimonials over the centuries

Roadmap point #5:  The New Testament says Jesus is God

The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God, and this was miraculously confirmed by:

  • God’s promises (covenants) in the Old Testament fulfilled in the New Testament
  • Jesus fulfillment of the prophecies from the Old Testament
  • His sinless life and miraculous deeds
  • His prediction of crucifixion and death to save us, and His physical resurrection defeating death to provide eternal life for those who follow Him

 Making the Connection:

Notice how truth (Roadmap point #1) connects to what Jesus taught:

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”  –John 8:31-32

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”  –John 14:6-7

Conclusions drawn from these premises in the roadmap:

  • Jesus is God and therefore whatever Jesus teaches is true, this includes the promise of His second coming and the promise of an eternal home with Him.
  • Jesus taught the Bible is the true Word of God and therefore anything opposed to it is false.
  • The Bible is the Word of God and therefore a Christian worldview based on the Bible is the correct worldview.

For a more in-depth look at Christian Apologetics watch this forty-five minute video by one of the top Christian Apologist, Author and Debater of our time, Dr. William Lane Craig:


Join us next week as we begin to explore Apologetics’ Roadmap Point #4 to try to answer the question: How Do We Know That The Bible is the Word of God?


You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in!

Join us this year as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.

Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.

Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.

Teri Dugan

TeriDugan@truthfaithandreason.com

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