Why is there a need for Christians to make a case?
We find ourselves in a “post-Christian,” and some would argue “anti-Christian,” western culture today, and the fact that more and more young people are identify their religion as “none” is alarming. Major research groups are now reporting that “nones” have taken over as the third largest group in the religious preference category worldwide (just behind Christianity and Islam). This statistic alone should be cause for Christians to get equipped because the battle is growing and we are losing the most important asset: The hearts and minds of the next generation.
Western Christians have become way too comfortable, to the point of apathy, and we are now reaping the result of that attitude. In growing numbers, in other parts of the world, we hear of Christians giving their lives for the hope that they have in Jesus, would we?
Jesus and his disciples warned that even believers would fall for deceptive teaching, twisting of doctrine, and philosophies promoted by men that run contrary to the Word of God, and we see this happening today, especially in western culture.
Jesus gave this warning as he taught His disciples:
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. …For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:4-5; 24
The Apostle Paul warned the believers in Colosse:
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
The Apostle Peter warned the early Church that was beginning to face persecution:
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. 2 Peter 2:1-3a
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 2 Peter 3:3
The Apostle Paul also wrote this warning to the young pastor Timothy:
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 Timothy 4:1
Toward the end of the first century, the Apostle John wrote this warning to believers who were being infiltrated by false teaching (Gnosticism) and those who were experiencing persecution by both the Jews and the Romans:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17
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
False teaching and twisting of Scripture, as well as persecution, has been happening to Christians since Jesus and the Apostles walked this earth. However, today we see it happening in greater numbers and with greater intensity worldwide. To follow the commands given in Scripture and head the warnings of Jesus and the Apostles we need to get equipped by practicing the art of Christian Apologetics:
Where did the name “Apologetics” come from?
- Apologetics=apologia (ap-ol-og-ee’-ah) in the original Greek means to give a verbal defense, like one would do in a court of law.
- It is used eight times in the New Testament: Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 10:5 and 6; Philippians 1:7; 2 Timothy 4:16; and 1 Peter 3:15.
- Jesus, his disciples and the early Christian martyrs gave us many examples of how to use apologetics: They proved from Old Testament Scripture who Jesus was; they confirmed it by providing evidence through miracles in Jesus’ Name; and they won arguments against the philosophies of the day with truth and reason.
- Christian Apologetics today makes evidential cases for truth (vs. relativism and secular ideology), a Creator (vs. random evolutionary models), the historicity, reliability and inspiration of the Bible (vs. human invention), Jesus and the Resurrection (vs. myth).
Watch Doug Powell’s 12 minute presentation that breaks down what Christian Apologetics is all about:
Apologetics in action:
Apologetics helps us do pre-evangelism and tear down roadblocks to the Gospel. It helps weed out false claims the culture makes about Christianity. 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 truth—God’s Truth.
Apologetics helps us point out wrong thinking and direct us to objective truths held in a Biblical Christian Worldview, the only worldview that helps us understand reality (the way things really are)!
Watch Dr. Sean McDowell’s insightful presentation that shows how apologetics is put into action: (28 minutes presentation):
Teaching apologetics to the next generation is so critical:
Dr. McDowell shares these five important reasons for teaching Apologetics to our young people today:
- Apologetics give students confidence: When confronted with tough issues concerning their faith students will know how to respond and where to get answers.
- Apologetics helps students hold on to their faith: Even though emotional situations may play a role, students can hang on to truths they know when they go through times of doubt.
- Students have genuine apologetics-related questions: They will be confronted with questions about the reliability of the Bible; the problem of evil; Heaven vs. hell; and social issues like homosexuality and marriage. Apologetics will help them articulate answers from the Christian worldview.
- Students will be involved with social media: Here we find that everyone is an apologist for some cause or belief, Christian Apologetics will equip students with tools to use in this age of technology.
Os Guinness says it well…
“From the shortest texts and tweets to the humblest website, to the angriest blog, to the most visited social networks, the daily communications of the wired world attest that everyone is now in the business of relentless self-promotion–presenting themselves, explaining themselves, defending themselves, selling themselves or sharing their inner thoughts and emotions as never before in human history. That is why it can be said that we are in the grand secular age of apologetics” –Os Guinness (Fool’s Talk, 15-16)
- Students need to see that Christianity is objectively true: Many have bought into the secular worldview that defines faith as a matter of feeling and experience in opposition to fact and reason. Apologetics training helps students see that there is an objective truth that can be known.
We need to start training at an early age because statistics overwhelmingly show that ages 14-17 are the most decisive years concerning truth and faith.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7
We are in a battle for the hearts and minds of our young people as they too will set the standards for future generations. As God’s representatives we are called to teach them the truth, God’s truth. This battle can only be won through prayer and by example.
What example will you set?
For a more in-depth treatment of what Christian Apologetics is all about, watch world renowned Apologist Dr. William Lane Craig speak on this topic:
Join us next week as we continue to build a case for Christianity.
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.