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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is Apologetics a Biblical Mandate? You Tell Me!

We are living in the Golden Age of Christian apologetics. 

Never before in the history of the Church have believers had more access to in-depth, comprehensive materials (available through every conceivable form of media) which we can use to better understand and defend our faith.

Yet, in a sad twist of irony, it seems too many of us in Protestant evangelicalism are completely unequipped to give a rational defense of the Christian faith.

Before the 2009 "Does God Exist" debate between Christian apologist William Lane Craig and the late "New Atheist" proponent Christopher Hitchens, I was completely unaware there were any deductive arguments for the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus, much less good ones!

Many Christians are struggling with profound doubts and questions that might be availed if they were only exposed to some of the sound apologetics material out there, written by solid Christian men and women. 

However, defeating ignorance is the easy part, what is more difficult is convincing those who are sure that they don't need to defend their faith.

I've often heard complaints such as:

 ....God doesn't need us to defend Him!
 Apologetics isn't necessary. We ought to just love people...
...Everyone already knows God exist, in their hearts. 
You can't argue someone into the faith!...

These misguided sentiments do much harm, as they prevent people from benefiting from biblical mandate that is apologetics.

There are ample apologies for apologetics, like those from Norman Geisler and Ravi Zacharias Ministries, so I won't retread that ground.

 The sole purpose of this post is to highlight the passages of Scripture that can be used to show that defending the faith is a Christian discipline expected of Christians, in both specific and general contexts:

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,  with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,  and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. -- 2 Timothy 2:24-26

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. -- 2 Corinthians 10:5-6
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect -- 1 Peter 3:15

 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. -- Philippians 1:7

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.-- Titus 1:9

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. -- Jude 3-4

  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. -- 2Timothy 4:2
I encourage the reader to examine these verses in context and see if what I'm saying is true.
It is time time to recover an interest and appreciation for this God-ordained privilege of defending the Christian faith!