by Casey McFall
There is a war being waged for souls, and the battlefield of this war can be found in our colleges, universities, workplaces, churches, homes, and even in the hearts of believers (Eph. 6:12). Unfortunately, the majority of Christians are unprepared for this war! The devil has a wide range of strategies and weapons to throw at Christians. Defend successfully against one and he will simply try another! One of his favorites, however, and the one that is absolutely destroying Christians, is doubt.
Doubt negates faith. Christians often pray for more faith, or seek to increase their faith, but God said that faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to move mountains! (Mat. 17:20) If that is true, then why are we so powerless? It is because of the doubt in our hearts! Peter in faith was able to walk on water and he still had that faith even when he began to sink. Peter sank not from a lack of faith, but because of the presence of doubt! (Mat. 14:31). Again, in Mark 9:24, the father of the child understood that his faith was sufficient for healing. His doubt was the only thing standing in the way.
The problem is that we as Christians know what we believe, but do not know why we believe it. We believe that the Bible is true and that God is God, but we are not prepared with an answer when that belief is challenged!
How would YOU answer these questions?
- If God is love, why does He let so many bad things happen in the world?
- God says that murder is wrong, yet He commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son! Even if this is not a contradiction, do we really want to serve a God who would demand that?
- The Bible is full of contradictions. If the Bible cannot even stay consistent with itself, how can we trust anything it says about life and death?
All too often, Christians fall back on half-hearted responses such as, “Well, God’s ways are not our ways,” or “God said it, and I believe it!” If a Christian’s faith is solid and unshakeable even in the face of challenging questions or supposedly “scientific facts,” that is awesome! However, what does that do for the faith of our children? Nearly 75% of all college professors admit to being politically liberal and a full quarter (25%) profess to be atheist or agnostic! These are the people who will be teaching these children for four or more years while they are on the very cusp of adulthood! These children will be challenged daily by both their teachers and their peers; and statistically speaking, these children are not prepared! Research shows that a full 70% of all Christians who go to college walk away from their faith.
Not only will those kind of answers not help these children, but they will also not persuade the challenger! Granted, there will always be people who challenge simply in an effort to make one question his faith. They are not actually interested in the truth. However, there will also be those who are truly unable to believe because of their own doubts and who could be persuaded toward the truth. We as Christians have a duty to persuade them and show them the truth!
The solution to this problem is biblical apologetics.
In spite of how this word sounds, it has nothing to do with apologizing or being sorry. Apologetics is derived from the Greek word apologia which was a legal defense of oneself. Essentially, apologetics is the reasoned arguments one gives to: prove the truth of the Christian faith, defend against accusations made against the faith, or refute beliefs that oppose the truth.
Apologetics is the exact method that Paul used for his evangelism. This can be seen primarily in Acts 17 when Paul was conversing with the philosphers of Athens; but it is also visible throughout the New Testament. When discussing his faith with Jewish leaders, Paul relied on Jewish history and the Old Testament to persuade them of the truth of his words. When talking with the Athenians however, he made reference to their altars and their poets. He always used the listeners’ own belief systems combined with logical reasoning in order to persuade them of the truth of the Gospel!
How do we accomplish this? First, we must study the Word of God. II Timothy 2:15 commands us to study in order to not be ashamed and to be able to rightly divide the Word of Truth. This is not only reading the Bible but also really digging deep into it and seeking to understand it from all directions and contexts. The next step is to challenge ourselves and our faith. We should ask ourselves, “Why do I believe this? How could I respond if someone presented proof to the contrary?” Never fear to question the Bible because it will always be able to hold its own! Finally, discuss those ideas with other believers. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Through biblical conversations with other believers, we can gain a unique perspective regarding things that we would not see by ourselves. These conversations are beneficial for others as well, since it will challenge them to also begin digging deeper into the Scriptures.
How will we respond next time someone tells us that there is an irrefutable error in the Bible or points out the fact that Genesis says Salah is the son of Arphaxad while Luke says Salah is the son of Cainan who is the son of Arphaxad? (Gen 11:11-13 & Luke 3:35-36). Hopefully, we can be prepared with apologetics answer.
Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”