Defending the Christian Faith Part 2- Practical Advice
PRACTICAL DEFENSE OF BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY
Practically applying truth doesn’t require great intellect, but it does require biblical understanding. In 2 Peter 3:1 we read, “…I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.” How can we bring to remembrance an appropriate defense if we have not studied? Consider the following scenarios that Christians are likely to experience at some point in time:
- What do you say to your coworker who asks how you know the Bible is true?
- How do you answer your college student who has heard in Philosophy 101 that faith is a sign of weakness and an excuse for a lack of self-confidence?
- How do you answer your neighbor who claims that Jesus never really arose from the dead?
- How do you answer your child who comes home stating their friend says that Allah and God are the same but just have different names in different religions?
- What do you tell your child whose friend is a Mormon and believes that the Book of Mormon overshadows the Bible?
- What do you tell your dying friend who doesn’t believe in life after death?
- How do you respond to Satan when he questions your faith?
When defending the Christian faith keep the following helps in mind: Grow your relationship with Jesus through consistent study of the Word and time in prayer. Gain understanding of Christian apologetics. Apologetics is less about debating beliefs within the Christian faith and more about defending the existence of God and who He is described to be in the Bible. Consider how Christian apologetics are relevant to you and your life. Get equipped with helpful knowledge in areas of interest.
Engage, Be Present, or Disengage
There are times to engage dialogue for the purpose of defending the Christian faith, times to silently hurt with those who are wrestling with difficult questions, and times to walk away from these situations. Below are some things to consider.
Realize emotions, both yours and theirs, are potential obstacles to engaging a productive conversation on truth.When your belief system comes under fire from others it will raise strong emotion. It is helpful to recognize these emotions and not let them dictate your response. Often emotions of anger or fear are evoked when questions about biblical truth arise. Anger can lead to becoming aggressive whereas fear can lead to disengaging. Keep this in mind and recognize when you are responding from your emotions and when you are responding from biblical principles.
Know others’ salvation is not based on your ability to respond perfectly or at all. We are to be concerned about the salvation of all men, but we are not to feel responsible for the conversion of anyone. Not having an answer is ok. If an answer is available, search for it and be prepared for the next time the topic arises. Not all questions have direct answers; this is part of living a life of faith.
Remember the biblical principles of kindness, patience, love, gentleness, giving a soft answer, etc.
You will become more comfortable with defending the Christian faith as you practice.
There will be those who attempt to discredit biblical truth by pointing out wrong behavior of those who are Christians or claim to be Christians. Remember, you do not have to defend others’ actions; you are defending the Christian faith and not the actions of others.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Defending Christian beliefs is sometimes referred to as “Christian apologetics.” The English word “apologetics” comes from the Greek word apologia and related words that are used in the New Testament and mean “in defense of.” Put simply, apologetics means defending biblical Christian beliefs.
Philippians 1:7 “Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.”
Apologetics is about teaching and defending truth. It uses both faith and reason to defend and explain Christian beliefs. This document and accompanying annotated bibliography are designed to serve as an introduction to the biblical basis of apologetics and as an explanation to why this topic is so important for believers and servants of Christ. The annotated bibliography contains descriptions of selected books and resources that have been reviewed and found to be helpful. The reviews include a summary and audience recommendation that can help the reader decide which books or resources are most helpful or interesting.
RESULTS OF APOLOGETICS
Sanctified believers: Through a deeper understanding of God and His Word, believers can more distinctly recognize Christ working in their lives, setting them apart for His service as a holy people.
Steadfastness in afflictions and suffering: By understanding Who God is and who they are in His sight provides believers with courage and faith as they persevere in trials and tests.
Spiritually growing and energized believers: In reading and applying God’s revealed truths, believers can grow in grace and faith unhindered by the expectations of others or the deception of Satan.
Stable families: Through Bible study and application, parents can lead the way by example for their children to learn biblical precepts and to seek their own souls’ salvation.
Younger believers are discipled to mature in their walk with Christ: Young believers who put their spiritual “roots” deep into the word by knowing what they believe and why they believe it eventually grow into mature Christian pillars in the church.
Implementing the Great Commission: Christians appropriately taught in the Scriptures can be effective in spreading the Gospel message to the lost.
To view the complete PDF and an annotated bibliography of recommended resources, click here.
For Further Information:
The Case for Faith
The Case for Faith Student Edition (Ages 13-17)
The Case for Faith for Kids (Ages 8-12)
Author: Lee Strobel
As a former atheist, the author conducts interviews with many to investigate why a loving God would allow suffering and evil and could condemn souls to hell. He weaves together a convincing argument for having faith in God and Jesus Christ His Son as Lord and Savior. He discredits the theory of evolution and provides solid support for faith in a Creator. His approach in the book is to take a statement of doubt and expose the fallacies of it, effectively leading the reader to a greater confidence in choosing to believe. In fact, the author’s conclusion is that it takes more faith to not believe in God than to simply accept His sovereignty.
5 Minute Apologist
Author: R. Cornish
5 Minute Apologist provides a brief overview of several important areas of apologetics. This book is meant to help equip the believer with a quick understanding of important areas that are often questioned in the Christian faith. Areas covered are as follows: Recognizing and defending truth in thinking; logic and philosophy; understanding what worldviews, other religions and cults are and recognizing how they differ from a Biblical Worldview; identifying questions, confusion, and arguments about the Bible, God, Jesus, the resurrection, and miracles and finding truthful ways to address them; and understanding common questions and arguments from the scientific world and revealing what is true in science and what is not.
The Apologetics Committee of the ETR exists to raise awareness of what apologetics is, why it matters, and provide entryways into major apologetic questions. Every year the Apologetics Committee of ETR hosts a conference, visit the ETR website to view past conference and information on upcoming conferences.