For the next few weeks I want to explore a topic that has always intrigued me – apologetics. Christian apologetics is defined best by the Bible in I Peter 3:15, “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.” There are three parts to the Bible’s guidance. First, you must start from a place of strong faith. Jesus is Lord of all, and what you learn is not Biblical and it is not truth if it weakens your faith.
Second, you should have the knowledge to form rational arguments to defend what you believe. You will find that this endeavor will allow your faith to mature as you grow in wisdom and understanding about what you believe. You will also grow in Biblical knowledge, learning what is actually in the Bible and what is not.
Third, this is to be done with gentleness and respect. Too often Christians end up beating people up with their Bibles, rather than showing love and compassion for people that disagree with us. Showing gentleness and respect is not easy when we are talking about such important matters as salvation, holiness, and our eternal destiny, but the Bible tells us to do so, and we know from experience that Christians who demand others recognize they are right rarely persuade others to come into the light of Christ.
One of the common objections that non-Christians have about Christianity is that God doesn’t care which religion a person chooses. We must always be careful when we claim to know what God cares about, and what God does not care about. If we carefully look at the world religions, and religious books that people believe were given to them by God then this statement is not true at all. Not only do all the religious books claim God cares very much about what religion you choose, they all claim that their faith is the one God wants all people to believe.
The modern mind then makes the incorrect assumption that since all of them have the same claim, and they all teach different things, then they must all be wrong. So we can make something up that makes us feel good. For example, one of the most common solutions is the mountain of faith. All faiths are trying to help us get to the top of the mountain (heaven), and it doesn’t matter which path we take. A loving God is going to welcome everyone once we get there.
Instead of jumping to the conclusion that all religions are wrong, and we can make one up, I would think that all should be tested so that a person can discover which one is right. If God is indeed loving, and cares at all about His creation, it is much safer to assume that God would take the time to properly reveal Himself to us, and one of the world religions would in fact prove itself to be true.
Of course, I believe that such a search will lead you where it led me, to conclude that the Bible is God’s one, unique, and authoritative revelation of who He is, what His desire is for our lives, and what His plans are for eternity. In both Old and New Testaments, we are constantly warned against worshipping other gods, and having any idols. The first two commandments deal with this directly (Exodus 20:1-6). Jesus consistently taught that there is no other way to the Father, and therefore to salvation and eternal life then through faith in Him (John 14:1-7 and many others).
Do you think it is important to be able to defend what you believe? Do you know where to start learning and growing in your ability to defend your faith? What are the benefits to being able to talk about your faith with others who may disagree with you? Are you confident in what you believe so that if someone rejects you and your faith you can still remain gentle and respectful?
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