Skip to content

Today's Creation Moment

Oct
20
Smart Sharks
Psalm 148:7
"Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:"
Sharks have larger and more complex brains than fish. In fact, in learning tests they score about as well as rabbits. That won't get them into college, but it does show that they are not some...
RSS

Apologetics ... God’s Way

The origin of Christian apologetics lies in the beginnings of Christianity. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). And the Apostle Peter, speaking to the persecuted churches, counseled, “In your hearts set apart 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” (1 Peter 3:15). 
St. Paul was a master apologist. He knew his faith was defensible. He knew that spiritual warfare is often fought in the battleground of our minds. He also knew that divine power is available to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” – when we “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). If we are to obey our Lord’s command, we need to know what to say and how to respond to questions and challenges to our faith. It’s our duty.
The first condition of effective Christian apologetics is reverent love for God and the humble acknowledgement of our deep dependence on God’s power to change men’s hearts. When we proceed to “witness” on our own strength, we lose. Each response, each defense of our faith, is to be couched in love. Peter calls for an inner reverence for Christ as Lord. This means that we must know Christ and God’s Word in order to lead others to Him. Knowing what to say comes from a close relationship with Jesus and a commitment to knowing His Word. We need to be in Bible class all our life long. There’s no graduation; there’s no end to learning to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind.
Knowing how to respond when challenged is vital. Most people will resist a harsh, academic response, which makes us sound rude and defensive. But when we respond “with gentleness and respect,” we are more likely to be heard. Apologetics is more about honoring God than winning an argument. Biblical apologetics must somehow always link back to Christ and acknowledge Him as Creator and Lord [Colossians 1:16-18]. A reasoned defense is directly connected to the hope we have as followers of Christ. 
Connecting our intellectual arguments to Christ takes special effort. Paul knew the need to “take captive every thought” and turn them over to Christ. Before we witness,
should we not pray, “Lord Jesus, I need Your help with this, and I submit my thoughts to You”? Do we have the prayer discipline we need for effective witness?
Today's guest blogger is Richard Rothermel, a long-time friend of Creation Moments and an avid creationist who teaches biblical creation to the members of his church through a column in the church's newsletter.  

The origin of Christian apologetics lies in the beginnings of Christianity. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). And the Apostle Peter, speaking to the persecuted churches, counseled, “In your hearts set apart 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” (1 Peter 3:15). 

St. Paul was a master apologist. He knew his faith was defensible. He knew that spiritual warfare is often fought in the battleground of our minds. He also knew that divine power is available to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” – when we “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). If we are to obey our Lord’s command, we need to know what to say and how to respond to questions and challenges to our faith. It’s our duty.

The first condition of effective Christian apologetics is reverent love for God and the humble acknowledgement of our deep dependence on God’s power to change men’s hearts. When we proceed to “witness” on our own strength, we lose. Each response, each defense of our faith, is to be couched in love. Peter calls for an inner reverence for Christ as Lord. This means that we must know Christ and God’s Word in order to lead others to Him. Knowing what to say comes from a close relationship with Jesus and a commitment to knowing His Word. We need to be in Bible class all our life long. There’s no graduation; there’s no end to learning to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind.

Knowing how to respond when challenged is vital. Most people will resist a harsh, academic response, which makes us sound rude and defensive. But when we respond “with gentleness and respect,” we are more likely to be heard. Apologetics is more about honoring God than winning an argument. Biblical apologetics must somehow always link back to Christ and acknowledge Him as Creator and Lord [Colossians 1:16-18]. A reasoned defense is directly connected to the hope we have as followers of Christ. 

Connecting our intellectual arguments to Christ takes special effort. Paul knew the need to “take captive every thought” and turn them over to Christ. Before we witness, should we not pray, “Lord Jesus, I need Your help with this, and I submit my thoughts to You”? Do we have the prayer discipline we need for effective witness?

Today's guest blogger is Richard Rothermel, a long-time friend of Creation Moments and an avid creationist who teaches biblical creation to the members of his church through a column in the church's newsletter.  

Comments

Yes, we must proclaim creation and seek guidance on how it is to be done. I would like to share with you what me and my family experienced one morning- on Dec. 25, 2002. On this morning that we celebrate the birth of Christ, I was thinking: "Show us some sign that you see all this." Well, lo and behold, as we sat on the sofa there, through the living room window we saw two beautiful JEWEL HUMMINGBIRDS hovering at my hanging flower pot and wow, what a moment, what a moment. YES, THERE IS A HIGHER POWER! YES, THERE IS A DIVINE KING.

Good post. Methods of apologetics can be a hotly debated issue but I think we can all agree that if it doesn't connect with Christ and ultimately glorify the Lord it's kind of missing the point. IMO, the method known as Presuppositional Apologetics does this the best. For anyone interested in this method there are many books on the subject but one book that is short and an easy introduction to the method is, "Every Thought Captive: A Study Manual for the Defense of Christian Truth" by Richard Pratt available for less than ten bucks. I have no connection to the author or the book but just think it's a great place to start when it comes to a God honoring apologetic.

I'm going to have to take an unpopular stance on this. Wickedness needs to be rebuked, not patted on the head and told it is okay. In order to rebuke people for wickedness, you cannot always use words that sound soft to their ears. Paul did not. He pointed out to members of the House of Israel that they had wickedly slain the Lord:

Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.

Is there a way to ameliorate this? No.

Sometimes to express your love you have to warn of imminent danger with sufficient force, as when a child reaches its hand out to a hot stove. Do you say, "Oh, honey, I love that you want to make your own decisions, and I support you fully in your lifestyle and your choices, and I love you unconditionally, but perhaps the stove is not really something you want to play with right now"? Or do you shout, "Stop!" and even forcefully remove the child from danger?

The Lord was never one to mince his words. He warned Israel that if the people sinned, they would be destroyed. And he didn't make it look pretty, because it wasn't:

Deut. 28:26 And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.

So, while there's a time and place for reverence, we really should reserve it for God, not for each other. In short, I am saying that unless you agree with God, you are out of line, and you can't agree with God if you aren't plain about the foolishness of trusting in the wisdom of men.