A Pastor of a popular local Church was asked by some of the members for a Christian Apologetics’ class. The response was pretty shocking. The Pastor told them that such a class was not needed because defending the faith and interpreting the Bible was for theologians, not everyday Christians. He assured them that the teachings in the pulpit were enough to cover what they were requesting.
WHAT?! That is so far from Biblical teaching and could not be further from the truth. From early on the Jews were taught the responsibility of learning the Scripture, memorizing it, and defending God’s Word from Pagan philosophies:
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
This command is found in both the Old and New Testament Testaments:
Jesus gave it to us in what is known as the Great Commandment: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Notice Jesus uses the word mind and the emphasis is on using our thinker. We are not to rely on others’ opinions and teachings without checking it out for ourselves in Scripture. And, we are not to rely on our feelings which is often taught today.
Red flag: If our feelings don’t match Scripture then we need to ask where the feelings are coming from!
All Christians need to be trained to understand and defend the truth of the faith so that we will not be deceived. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Colosae:
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
And, Paul wrote directly to Timothy who was in training to be a pastor:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. -2 Timothy 2:15
History shows us that the Church has gotten in trouble by not equipping everyday Christians with the truths of their faith and how to defend it. It is important that we learn from our past. Let’s look at what happened historically when people were not able, nor allowed, to read the Scriptures for themselves:
Fourth through Fourteenth Centuries:The Church of Rome
The Roman Emperor Constantine became a Christian in the fourth century. Church and State were now blended and for the next one thousand years the Church of Rome ruled religiously, and had major political influence worldwide. However, the Bible was not easily available for the average person to read, and many people were illiterate. They were also subjected to Church and political leaders who began to corrupt the message of the Scriptures, twisting the teachings to benefit the state. Many of the rules that were imposed on the people were added by Papacy and were not actually supported by the Bible. Critics of Christianity will cite this period of time when wars and oppression started in the name of Christ (Crusades and Inquisitions). However, the true teachings of Jesus, when finally revealed, never promoted such things.
Note: Over the centuries whenever there have been times of crisis whether it be wars, famine, or plagues, we find real Christians, followers of Jesus, running in to help those in need while everyone else is running out. This is what Christianity teaches at its core because that is what Jesus modeled.
Fifteenth through Sixteenth Centuries:The Protestant reformation
It was during this period of time Martin Luther and others began to translate the Bible into common languages and, because of the invention of the Printing Press, for the first time people could acquire and read the Bible for themselves. Some of the false teachings and interpretations by the Church of Rome were now exposed. Unfortunately Christian oppression will happen again in places like England. The Pilgrims and others would soon be leaving in hopes of finding religious freedom in a new world.
A thought: Since the people could now read and study Scripture for themselves it would make sense that the “enemy” would begin a different tact in deception, and it is around this time that science and philosophy began to take a turn away from the pursuit of God.
Join us next week as we continue to explore the history of Christianity from the seventeenth century on!
- Read Acts 17 with a focus on verses 10-12. Who were the Bereans and what did they do? How should that apply to us today?
- Satan is the great deceiver and would like nothing more than to have uneducated Christians. Read Matthew 4:1-11. What did Jesus use to respond to the deceiver’s requests? What does this tell us about the importance of knowing and using Scripture?
- Read Ephesians 6:10-18, then write a prayer asking God to help you use Scripture in times of fear, doubt or need.
*******Prayer request: Please join me in prayer for Nabeel Qureshi’s family. Pray for God’s peace and comfort that passes all understanding at this time of great loss in this world, and great rejoicing in Heaven. In God’s will and Jesus’ Name always we pray, Amen
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.