…we have been too unwilling for too long to talk about what is right and what is wrong. We have too often avoided saying what needs to be said—about everything from marriage to welfare to common courtesy.” -Prime Minister David Cameron
Over the past two weeks we have looked at reasons for the urgency to have all Christians get basic training in defending the faith. Depending on how you did on last week’s test (7 questions most commonly directed towards Christians), you are either in need of further training or ready to be a trainer. You cannot sit on the sidelines, as Christians in the ‘West’ have been able to do over the past few centuries, we do not have that luxury nor did Jesus give us that option (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15). Christians today need to be “case-makers” for the faith and whether you are in training, or are ready to train others, stay with us throughout this series and add to your tool bag (or armor, if you will – Ephesians 6:10-18).
To be thoroughly equipped as a “case-maker” it is important to first have a solid foundation in these four areas:
1) Prayer (Matthew: 6:8-13, 11:25-26, 26:39, 27:46; Luke: 10:21, 22:42, 23:34, 23:46; and John: 11:41-43, 12:27-28, 17:1-26)
2) Bible study (Deuteronomy 6:5-7; Proverbs 7:1-2; Matthew 22:36-40; Acts 17:11; Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:16;1 Peter 1:22-25)
3) Apologetics (see below)
4) Discipleship (Hebrews 10:23-25; The book of Acts and most of the Epistles gives us a glimpse of how early Christians lived in community and how they shared their faith with others)
In this series we will be focusing mainly on Christian Case-Making (Apologetics) with the assumption that you are practicing the other three areas as well, because you will not be an effective case-maker for the LORD if you are not spending time in prayer, Bible study and discipleship.
Why is there a need for Christians Case-Making?
As we find ourselves in a post-Christian culture (and some would argue anti-Christian culture), more and more young people have begun to identify their religion as None. 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 basic training 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?
Scripture teaches us to be prepared and to be able to defend the faith. 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 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 as they were beginning to face persecution:
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do no fear their threats; do not be frightened” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:13-15
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 2 Peter 3:3
Toward the end of the first century, the Apostle John wrote this warning to believers who were being infiltrated by false teaching and Gnosticism:
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
To follow the commands given in Scripture and heed the warnings of Jesus and the Apostles we need to get basic training in the form of Christian Apologetics. Watch this 2 minute introduction to Apologetics from apologeticscanada’s “Think For A Minute” series:
- 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.
- Today, Christian Apologists (Case-Makers) put together evidential cases for: 1) truth (vs. relativism and secular ideology); 2) The Creator (vs. random evolutionary models); 3) the historicity, reliability and inspiration of the Bible (vs. human invention and philosophies); 4) Jesus and the Resurrection (vs. mythologies).
Watch Doug Powell’s 12 minute presentation that breaks down what Christian Apologetics is all about into three main categories:
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!
Teaching apologetics to the next generation is critical:
Dr. Sean McDowell shares these five important reasons for teaching Apologetics to our young people today.
- Apologetics can give students more confidence: When confronted with tough issues concerning their faith students will know how to respond and where to get answers.
- Apologetics can help 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 and answers to use in this age of technology where false statements and accusations are often made against the Christian faith or God Himself.
- 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.
Watch Dr. Sean McDowell’s insightful presentation showing how we can put apologetics into action from real life situations (28 minutes presentation):
We need to start training at an early age because statistics overwhelmingly show that ages 14-17 are the most decisive years.
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
For those of you who follow Christian Apologetics on deeper level listen to Dr. William Lane Craig who, according to most in the field, is in the top one percent of philosophers and debaters of all time. Here is a 45 minute presentation on Christian Apologetics:
************Continued prayer request: Please join me in prayer for Nabeel Qureshi and his family. Pray for God’s healing hand to work a miracle in Nabeel’s life and for God’s peace and comfort that passes all understanding for him and his family. In God’s will and Jesus’ Name always we pray, Amen
Join us next week as we continue our case-making 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.