I’m often asked “What is the best apologetic argument?”, and in almost every case, after a few questions, it’s clear that the real question is “All of this apologetics stuff is just too overwhelming. Can you give me a single, easy to remember argument that I can use whenever I have to defend the faith?”
Before I give you the answer that I’m sure most of you expect, please read this post to the end; there is an apologetic argument that you MUST use in EVERY defense of the Gospel, but I don’t think it is what you expect me to tell you.
I’ve been seeing a couple of trends lately both online and in the ‘real world’ that I think are related in that both have a foundational misunderstanding of the purpose of Christian apologetics.
One is the tendency for Christian apologists, video posters, and blog commenters to portray an attitude of “win at all costs; crush your ‘enemy’ and his argument to dust” as if the purpose of apologetics is to ‘put those heathens in their place and show how stupid they are’. The other is for Christian leaders as well as laypeople to dismiss the study and presentation of apologetics as unfruitful, unnecessary, and needlessly confrontational. Unfortunately, it appears that the two viewpoints in some weird, twisted way actually feed upon and amplify each other!
As I’ve said, i believe that both wrong-headed attitudes stem from a false view of the two primary purposes of Christian apologetics.
One of the two primary purposes of Christian apologetics is to provide evidence, reason, and experiences that will give both new and seasoned believers confidence in the truth of the Gospel. I firmly believe that the reason that most teens and young adults ‘walk away from the faith” or refuse to seriously consider Christ is because the majority of Christian leaders, parents, and mentors fail (some even actively oppose) in presenting evidences for the faith (apologetics) to our young people.
(Note: instead of citing Scripture throughout this article as usual, I will list relevant passages at the end)
The comment I hear quite often about Christians is that we are bigoted/intorlerant/hateful just because we refuse to condone and enable a lifestyle that we disagree with.
Granted, there are a few “Christian” groups and quite a disturbingly large number of people who claim to be Christian that oppose the LGBT supporters and practictioners in ways and with words that are hateful or demeaning in tone. Some of that is in response to the hateful, derogatory, and malicious rhetoric that constantly flows from the LGBT activist community, some out of personal animosity – but all wrong and unChristlike.
The other extreme of Christian response is to either remain silent (and by doing so giving tacit approval) or to actively approve the lifestyle. This approach is often taken out of fear of reprisal or public disapproval, sometimes out of a belief that the LGBT stand is appropriate – but this response is equally wrong, and equally (perhaps even more) unChristlike.
Unfortunately, the constant LGBT rants and name-calling, setting up straw men to knock down, and focusing on the extreme opponents that descend to their methods of public discourse is quite effective in drowning out those of us who attempt to share Christ’s view of this matter in a gentle but firm way.
I’ve noticed that there is a basic reluctance on both sides of the fence to try and really understand the worldview and perspective of the other side. I expect that from the LGBT support side; I find it disturbing from the Christian side. How can we hope to have any kind of an impact, or expect the other side to even consider our view if we refuse to listen to them?
So, here’s a short summary of what I understand both sides to believe. Keep in mind that these are general statements. Continue reading
You may notice that I’ve slightly reordered our list of essential Christian beliefs. I’ve done so because in this revised order, the first eight in our list now (as one of our more logically-minded readers suggested) makes a progressive path of doctrine that makes number 9 on our list much more understandable once you grasp these first eight. Here’s the reordered list:
1. The infallibility of the Bible in the original manuscripts
2. God’s sovereign rule over all creation
3. Human depravity
4. The necessity of God’s grace
5. The virgin birth
6. Christ’s sinlessness
7. The full humanity and deity of Christ
8. The triunity of God
9. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ
10. The necessity of faith
11. Christ’s second coming, final judgement and reign.
This makes this installment all about one of the most ridiculed and misunderstood of our core beliefs. The doctrine of the Trinity has been debated for millennia, and yet it is impossible to deny the triune nature of God without denying both essentials #1 and 7.
Recently, I was posed this question:
You often go on about the ‘essentials of the faith’ or ‘core Christian doctrine’ but you never really give an explanation of what these are OR why they are considered essential. Can you at least give me some kind of explanation about this?
So, the next few articles are going to do exactly that. With this article, I’ll define just what an essential doctrine is, give a list of the absolutely foundational Christian beliefs, and go into a bit of detail about why number one on the list is so important. In future posts, I’ll take a closer look at one or two of the core beliefs.
What is a doctrine, and what makes one essential?
A doctrine is simply a statement of belief or truth. Therefore, even if your belief statement is ‘I don’t believe in the value of doctrine”, you have just made a statement of doctrine! Make no mistake: EVERYONE HAS A DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIANITY.
Doctrines (truth statements) that are essential or foundational to the Christian faith are those doctrines that cannot be denied and still be considered a disciple of the Christ. In other words, if you deny these truths, you cannot be Christian. Continue reading
One of the most difficult core beliefs of the Christian faith is the doctrine of the Trinity. Not only do skeptics and adherents to major religions misunderstand it, but many followers of Christ do as well!
The objections to trinitarianism, in simplest terms, come in one of two forms:
1. The doctrine of the Trinity is false because nowhere in the Bible is the term ‘trinity’ used. It is nothing more than something made up at the Council of Niceae to solidify Church power and serve the political ends of Constantine.
2. Belief in the Trinity is nothing more than polytheism, and is clearly condemned in the Bible (or Koran, if the objector is Islamic).
I will grant that the doctrine of the Trinity is difficult to understand; the concept that there is only one God, and that the one God is made up of three distinct Persons who are also wholly one being appears at first glance to be self-contradictory. Continue reading
This is a very interesting question: “Is the church age over i.e. what about church purity Gods plan? (sic)”
Since there are two ways to approach this question my first thought was to ask for clarification. But, after some more thought I decided that it is probably more beneficial to address both possible issues. Of course, I’ll save the one I believe most relevant to the questioner for last!
I was rather surprised that the question of who is authorized to perform baptism came up twice in a matter of a few days recently. It is a question that I’ve never been asked before!
So, briefly, here’s my answer.
Although many denominations restrict ‘baptizers’ to clergy, in Scripture that isn’t the case. Baptisms are performed by priests, prophets, apostles, and those who have no specified leadership position in the church.
My conclusion from this is that any disciple of Christ is authorized to baptize anyone who wishes to publicly proclaim their allegiance to Our Lord and King by following the Biblical directive to ‘repent and be baptized’.
This question deals with Matters of the Church.
A question I often get asked is “Since God knows everything and is in control of everything, why bother to pray? He’s going to do whatever He wants anyway.”
There are many reasons to pray,and more books than I can count have been written on the whys and hows of prayer. I’ll give some of the most compelling here, starting with what I consider the most important: