Thanks for tuning in to “Apologetic Wednesday” for this week. We have a thought provoking article by our friend Greg West. He does some amazing things to further the intellectual side of Christianity. If you haven’t checked out the resources he brings to the table you definitely should. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.thepoachedegg.net.
There have been quite a few articles written on the need for apologetics as of late, but just in case you’ve not read any (or enough) of them, this happens to be another one.
My pastor always says that every Christian who thinks about God (which should be all of us) is a theologian; I believe that every Christian who thinks about the reasons why we believe that Christianity is true (which, again, should be all of us) is an apologist.
Now I’m not saying this means that every Christian needs earn a degree in theology and apologetics, but what I am saying is that every Christian should at least know some of the basic reasons for why we should believe the truth claims of Christianity, because if our faith is not built upon a solid foundation, then like the man who built his house upon the sand, our house of ‘blind faith’ will fall with a great crash!
You might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t need to have reasons for my faith because my faith is already strong”. If that’s the case, then it’s very possible that you are confusing the biblical concept of faith with how the world sees faith—as belief without evidence. Faith, in the biblical context is simply reliance, or trusting in God. Never in the whole of scripture are we told or asked to believe or trust God without evidence, or to have ‘blind faith’. Jesus asked his disciples to believe in him, but he also gave them many reasons to believe in him—his fulfillment of prophecy, his miracles, and most of all—his bodily resurrection from the dead!
When I was a teenager, having been raised in the church and in a solid Christian home, I had as much zeal for Christ as anyone. I was even planning to attend Bible College and study for the ministry. To make a long story short, circumstances kept me from entering college right away, and by the time I was in my mid-twenties I had become a professing agnostic who had no reasons to believe that Christianity was any more or less true than any other religion, or no religion at all for that matter. I spent more than ten years as an agnostic before I began to discover the reasons for faith and finally rededicated my life to following Jesus Christ.
My story is even more common today, where according to the statistics gathered from several independent studies, 50 to 70 percent of young people (or even more) are waving goodbye to Christianity by the time they reach their mid-twenties, and the majority of those will never return. Having reasons to believe, or learning apologetics, helps us have a more confident faith, not just for our own edification when adversity comes along, which it most certainly will—but it can also help us build up other believers who are struggling with doubt.
Another of the many reasons we need to learn apologetics is so that we can have more confidence when sharing our faith. One of the most common excuses Christians give for not sharing their faith with non-Christians is fear; fear of not having the answers to tough questions. I can tell you from experience that having answers for some of the most common objections to Christianity will give you more confidence to witness than you’ve ever had before—not confidence to win arguments, which should never be our goal, but confidence for sharing Christ, and helping unbelievers overcome obstacles to placing their faith in him.
It’s possible that you might already be familiar with some of today’s great Christian thinkers and apologists such as, William Lane Craig, Paul Copan, and Gary Habermas, just to name a few—but if you’re not familiar with any of these or others, then you should look them up and begin investigating the many reasons and evidences for Christianity that they have to offer.
Among others, the three I just mentioned would be what I would consider to be, ‘Million Dollar Apologists’. These guys are so smart that it makes my brain hurt just thinking about it. They’ve spent most of their lives learning to defend and commend the Christian faith. If you’re looking for answers to tough questions about Christianity, these guys would be on the ‘dream team’ of go to guys—and by the way, I know I say ‘guys’ a lot, but there are plenty of other great apologists who happen to be women as well—it’s not a ‘men’s only’ club.
What do I mean by a ‘Million Dollar Apologist? Imagine that a million dollar theologian might be someone who could quote hundreds of Bible verses from memory, the one dollar theologian might only be able to quote John 3:16 and a just few others—which may not qualify you as a seminary professor, but it’s more than enough to be able to share the gospel.
These learned million dollar apologists are a wonderful thing to have around, and we could always use more, but what we really need more than more million dollar apologists is a million more, ‘one dollar apologists’ (a term coined by J. Warner Wallace, founder of PleaseConvinceMe.com), and a million more on top of that and a million more… well, you get the idea.
If you, like most of us, fall into the category of one dollar theologians, you wouldn’t any Bible verses at all if you’ve never studied scripture. It’s the same with apologetics—you’ll never learn if you don’t study, and no one needs a degree or a desire to earn one to be able to study, and if you’ve never attempted studying apologetics and find it an intimidating, there are about a gazillion introductory level articles and books out there. A few great places where you can start online are, PleaseConvinceMe.com, Apologetics315.com, www.ThePoachedEgg.net (shameless plug), and of course, Josh Fults’ own Apologetics Wednesday column right here on Walk Good.
I challenge you to start learning today!