5 Reasons why Christians should learn apologetics
Several months ago, when my Sunday school class learned that we were going to study apologetics, there was an audible groan in the room. Most people were less than enthusiastic.
I just don’t understand it. Maybe I am a nerd, but I am excited about apologetics!
Can apologetics be boring? Sure. But so can anything else. Literature, politics, science, current events, even music or movies can be boring. Heck, this blog post is probably boring!
Often, it isn’t the subject that’s boring, it’s the delivery.
I’m not a big fan of history. However, I have watched some fascinating documentaries. And, lo and behold, I learn something! Also, historical movies that are true stories are some of my favorites.
So, when it comes to apologetics, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater!
Why do you believe in God? Why are you a Christian? How would you answer these questions if you were asked? Most of us would be stumped.
What if someone called you closed minded for believing that Christianity was true and all other religions were false? The exclusivity of Christianity is its greatest criticism today. How would you defend a faith that claims there is only one truth?
The majority of us would have difficulty addressing these subjects.
As followers of Christ, most of us tend to have an experiential and emotional relationship with God. We feel Him. He is in us.
However, feelings tend to be hard to articulate, and, they are less than convincing to an outsider. Answering skeptics questions based on feelings or an experience might not always be effective.
There are 5 reasons why Christians should study apologetics
1. We are told to do so in scripture
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. 1 Peter 3:15
2. To defend Christianity & spread the Gospel
It is crucial for us to respond to attacks on our faith. We must be able to answer the skeptic’s questions. We must have a defense.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. 2 Corinthians 10:5
The Great Commission commands us to go out and make disciples. But, what kind of witnesses will we be if we look like bumbling idiots when we are challenged?! Who would want to join a religion full of dummies?
We must explore fundamental questions.
- What evidence is there that God exists?
- What evidence is there that God created the universe?
- How do you explain evolution or the big bang?
- How can one address the problem of suffering?
Emotional and relational people may be won over by loving relationships with people they trust. However, most likely, intellectuals will need to hear arguments for the existence of God, Creation or the resurrection of Christ.
Arguments such as . . . .
- The Cosmological Argument
- The Fine Tuning Argument
- The Moral Argument
- The Contingency Argument
And we must always remember to present arguments with gentleness and respect.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6
3. To have a strong foundation
Between 50 & 75% of young people raised in a Christian family leave the church after they leave their home. There is an abundance of research on this topic. The numbers may vary slightly from one study to the next. But they all come to the same conclusion. We are losing our kids.
The daunting reality is that a majority of youth group graduates lose their faith when they leave home. Why? Our kids aren’t developing a personal faith in Jesus Christ. They don’t leave home with a firm foundation.
Many of them don’t know why they believe in God or Jesus Christ.
We all need to know why we believe what we believe. That is our foundation. And, kids need to know why they believe, apart from their parents.
(there may be a book coming . . . . )
4. To love God with our minds
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind Luke 10:27
Are you using your whole heart, soul, strength and mind to love God? I ask myself this question frequently. I know that I often fall short.
Loving God with all our minds means keeping our mind sharp. It means discovering all that God has for us. It means meditating on scripture, not just reading it. It means spending time pondering the things of God.
He gave us minds so we could love Him through our intellect. After all, all knowledge comes from God.
Here are some stimulating topics that may peak your curiousity.
- What does the Second Law of Thermodynamics have to do with the existence of God?
- How do Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the expansion of the universe, and the red shift point to a Creator?
- Why does the existence of God explain intentional states of consiousness in the world?
- What are some of the fundamental constants and quantities of the universe that seem to have been carefully dialed by a Creator to an astonishingly precise value that falls within an exceedingly narrow, life permitting range? (reasonablefaith.org)
Discovery is a gift that can enrich our faith, and cause us to fall more deeply in love with Elohim, the Creator God.
5. To see more of God’s character; to know Him more
While on the treadmill in the morning, I listen to William Lane Craig’s Sunday school class called Defenders. In the first class, he said that they would be exploring the attributes of God. I thought to myself, that sounds kind of elementary!
I know that God is good, gentle, merciful, compassionate, just, powerful, full of grace, and loving. He is the Mighty God, Prince of Peace, and Wonderful Counselor. I am aware of His omniscience, omnipotence, and that He is omnipresent.
However, I had never thought about His eternity, His aseity (self existence), His foreknowledge or middle knowledge (hypothetical knowledge), fore ordination, and immutability (changelessness), to name a few. The philosophical study of God is fascinating!
Have you heard of the Euthyphro dilemma? I hadn’t until recently. It basically asks the question, ‘Is something good because God wills it? Or, does God will something because it is good?’ Crazy stuff!
There is so much to learn about our God. We could spend a lifetime and only scratch the surface of the complex and multifaceted nature of God.
So, I challenge you as I challenge myself to think about and write down answers to the following questions.
Why do you believe in God?
Why are you a Christian?
Why is your faith important in your life?
What exactly do you believe?
What evidence is there for the existence of God?
What evidence is there for the resurrection of Christ?
The following are great resources for the study of apologetics:
I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, Frank Turek & Norman Geisler
Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, William Lane Craig
I can hardly believe that any thinking Christian would groan at apologetics. ApoloI suspect that people just don’t understand what it is.
Why is apologetics so critical? Let me attempt illustrate with an analogy.
Bob: “I believe I’m the right choice for the job.”
Rachel: “Ok. What makes you think so?”
Bob: “Well, I just MUST be right for the job. I can’t imagine taking another job.”
Rachel: “Alright… can you explain to me why you think you would do well?”
Bob: “I just know it! Every fiber of my being tells me so.”
Rachel: “Bob, I’m trying to get some specifics. Can you tell me your strengths, what you’re good at?”
Bob: “Look, it’s a heart thing, not a head thing. Don’t you see how enthusiastic I am about this?”
Rachel: “That’s not much to go on…”
Bob: “You’re eyes just haven’t been opened yet.”
Rachel: “Can you list for me your qualifications?”
Bob: “You can’t choose good employees based on qualifications! Just have faith that I’ll work out!
Rachel: “Ok, Bob. Thanks for coming in. Oh– and don’t call me, I’ll call you.”
We’ve got to give the world good reasons that they should believe in the Christian worldview!
Personal experience, emotion, and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit are all good reasons to believe in God personally– but those reasons aren’t going to convince others. We as Christians need to be aware that there are a multitude of solid philosophical & scientific reasons to believe that God exists, and that Christianity is particular makes the most sense among existing worldviews. THOSE types of defenses of the faith are going to be much more convincing to an unbelieving world, as they remove the intellectual barriers that exist in the world today about Christianity. We’ve got to give the world good reasons for our faith that will lead them to Christ!
Keep up the good writing Kim!