This past week we began a new class in our 2017 Case for Christianity series called “A Case for the Creator and a study in Genesis.” Why should every Christian be a student of their faith and attend classes like this one? I’ve had people tell me that classes like these are too hard, or only for Pastors and Theologians, but is that true? Absolutely NOT! There is even more urgency today for Christians to know what they believe and why they believe it because we now live in a post-Christian and post-truth culture.
Did you know that Oxford Dictionary’s “word of the year” for 2016 is ‘post-truth’? Many Christians today are confused over truth because they are not grounded in a Biblical worldview and they end up blending secular philosophies with Biblical truths. We are bombarded in the media with rapid changes and inconsistent views on truth more so than ever before.
Just think about what was considered to be true 20 years ago! Even in the last 5 years we have seen such swift change in attitudes and beliefs, but should cultural shifts dictate changing the truth of Christianity? Truth, by definition is based on reality and reality is what you run into when you find out you were wrong!
This is what Christian Apologist Greg Koukl says:
“Biblical Christianity is more than just another private religious view. It’s more than just a personal relationship with God or a source of moral teaching. Christianity is a ‘picture’ of reality. Christianity is a true story of how the world began, why the world is the way it is, what role humans play in the drama, and how all the plotlines of the story are resolved in the end.
Our story begins with God. He created everything, but something went terribly wrong. So God initiated a rescue plan and entered the world that he had made by becoming like us in Jesus Christ. Jesus saved us from the wrongness in ourselves and in the world through his death on a cross and subsequent resurrection. How people respond to what he did will determine their future in the end.
If you are already a Christian, this is your story. If you are not a Christian, this is still your story because it explains the world in a way that nothing else will. It is a true story, the ‘real’ story behind every other story we hear.”
Greg Koukl has written a new book called “The Story of Reality.” This is his area of expertise and I highly recommend reading it. Watch and listen to Greg present the story of reality in this 50 minute video:
For those of you who are following along either in our class or on this website we are committing 2017 to growth in these four areas: Prayer, Hermeneutics, Apologetics and Discipleship.
- Prayer: Talking to God
Jesus taught his disciples to pray:
Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
This is a model for prayer not a formula and we can meditate on this passage as an example of how we should pray. The Bible gives us many models for prayer. Jesus’ prayer in John chapter 17 gives us insight to his heart for the Father and his disciples. The 150 different Psalms show us that the human heart can speak to God in praise, lament and petition.
- Hermeneutics: A Bible Study skill
Not Herman who, Hermeneutics! Follow these two basic principals:
Principal #1: Never Read A Bible Verse By Itself
- Reading a Bible verse by itself and trying to interpret what it means based on “what you feel” can be dangerous.
- If you do this in a group study you will most likely get a wide range of opinions and trouble may arise.
- Many cults have begun this way because of twisting the Scriptures to fit a personal agenda.
- Stick to the plain reading of the text unless otherwise indicated—the Bible interprets the Bible!
Principle #2: Use Hermeneutics
A Basic Hermeneutic’s study would go something like this:
After reading a passage, chapter or book of the Bible determine the following things in this order:
- Who is the author of the book and who is speaking in the passage?
- Who is the original audience and what is going on in the culture at that time?
- What is the Genre’ or Literary style of the book? (For example, It is important to distinguish historical narrative versus poetry)
- What is the purpose for the writing of the book or passage?
- What is the context or flow of thought in the book or passage? (You may need to re-read the passage by expanding your reading to sections or chapters before after the text you are studying)
- You can now make a summarization or interpretation of the passage.
- It is only after doing this preliminary work that you can accurately make a personal application for the passage.
*It is important that you study in this order and not in reverse.
- Apologetics: Defending and answering questions about your faith
What is Christian Apologetics?
- 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.
- Christian Apologetics defends the Christian worldview in various areas that can include: Science, philosophy, history, literature and the arts.
The call to practice Apologetics:
1 Peter 3:13-17 (NASB)
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
- Discipleship: Sharing your faith with others and living a Christian life out with them
It is through relationship with other Christians that we can grow, gain confidence, and feel supported in our faith, and it is through relationships that we can meaningfully share our faith with non-Christians. We can only be effective as his ambassadors if we know what we believe (through the study of the Bible) and why we believe it (apologetics)!
The Great Commission:
Matthew 28:17-20 (NASB)
When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Watch and listen to Greg Koukl present insights to the hermeneutical principal of never reading a Bible Verse by itself:
Join us next week as we begin our Case for the Creator!
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 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.
1 Peter 3:15