Always Prepared...

"Apologetics is Biblically commanded of every Christian."

Prof. Craig Parton, J.D. began the first session yesterday with this statement. I had never seen apologetics (defending of the faith) as something Christians are commanded to do but here he was stating this as fact. Then, he opened the Scriptures and read the following,

...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, ESV)

As believers we are to know the faith so that we may proclaim the truth to the unbeliever. I'm not just talkig about know the basics but to, as the Bible says, "study to show yourself an approved worker..." (2 Tim. 2:15) However, those who want to engage often feel they are not prepared or equipped with the tools they need to actively answer the questions of unbelievers. Not only are many believers ill-equipped but they fear saying the wrong thing. They want to make an impact but just don't know how.

So, rather than running into an intellectual retreat, we should be equipping others with the tools necessary to help them answer the questions of unbelievers. Just think the value we place on training others for various tasks such as a roofer or builder, doctors and lawyers, those in the military or security vocations. If they were not properly trained would you trust them to do their vocation well? You probably would not take medical advice from someone who knows nothing about the inner workings of the body and you would not take a child to court as your attorney. No, you want someone who has had training, been prepared for the task ahead. In the same way, believers are to be prepared and trained in order to answer the questions of the unbeliever.

We don't answer their questions as if that will change their mind. What we do in apologetics is remove, one by one, that which hinders them from believing, the hurdles they put up to be able to excuse themselves from trusting in Christ for salvation. As we answer their questions removing those obstacles we bring them closer to the house of salvation to the very Door and they either walk through it or turn around and walk away.

Always presenting the Gospel first and then answering their questions we proclaim to them that their sins have been forgiven, that Jesus has died for them and that they may have eternal life. We don't answer their questions with our testimony, except to say that you too are a sinner saved by grace alone, but we bring them the message of the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. Then we answer their rejections in love, with grace and tenderness.

Some gems from yesterdays lectures are:

  • Testimony is a starting point, if need be but the down side is that its ever enough because a change of life is not enough. They need the Gospel first.

  • Apologetics is about defending Christ...not your denomination

  • Answer their questions. Don't answer questions you think they have or objections you may have had but answer their questions with gentleness.