Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics: Chapter 1 - What is Apologetics?
guest blog by David Stoecker*
For this series we will be looking at the Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics by Doug Powell. Each week we will examine a chapter of the book and look at what I have learned. My hope is that you will receive a little education and at the same time want to learn more. That thirst for knowledge will lead you to purchasing not only this book, but many more and through studying them and the Bible you will become an Apologist. That is my hope!
You may be wondering what is an Apologist. An apologist is one who delivers a defense. A Christian Apologist is one who delivers a defense of Christianity through Apologetics. What is Apologetics? That is the question of Chapter 1, which tackles that very question.
Imagine you are in an emergency room seriously ill. The doctor says that unless you get the right antidote, it is always fatal. He than says that all who receive the antidote have a perfect recovery. Perhaps you do not like to take pills or get shots. Your preference is not relevant. The doctor is telling you that the sickness you have only has one remedy and only one way to administer said remedy. Your only choice is whether you live or die, based on your answer to the doctor.
Being misdiagnosed here is deadly. Getting the wrong medication is fatal. Not liking the treatment is not going to change anything. I had a colonoscopy because they I was having some internal issues. It was painful, inconvenient and quite offensive. That said, it was what I needed. Just because it was uncomfortable and drinking the stuff the day before was a huge inconvenience made it no less necessary.
Christianity is an antidote if it is properly understood. It is not a life style choice or a religious view, but an antidote. It may be inconvenient, socially unacceptable, offensive and even painful at times. But above all if these, it is necessary. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the truth is the truth. You do not have to believe it to make it true. That is why we need to gain an understanding of the situation to understand the antidote's necessity. Doug says, "Jesus is not a cherry flavored cough syrup that works just as well as the lemon flavored Buddha. Belief in Jesus is an extremely invasive heart procedure that brings people to life. And it is the only procedure that will work."
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As humans, we have trouble sometimes going to the emergency room. We may have misconceptions, barriers, biases, preconceived notions and objections. "It is the goal of Christian apologetics to remove the hindrances that stand between a person and the cross of Christ." Apologetics is seen by some as pre-evangelism preparing the soil for the gospel and others see it as deeply entwined with the gospel. Regardless of how it is seen, apologetics is a great way to equip the Christian with the tools to answer the tough questions about Christianity. Listed below are a few assumptions you can argue with apologetics:
- Jesus never lived.
- Miracles don't exist.
- There is no proof Jesus was resurrected.
- Why were books left out of the Bible?
- Christianity is not reasonable.
- All religions basically teach the same things.
- If God is love how can He allow evil?
These are several of the myriad of assumptions and arguments that apologetics will equip you to answer. There are two things that need to be clear about apologetics. First, the goal is not to win at all costs. It is possible to win yet lose by behaving badly. We are to speak truth yet speak it with love. Second, the Holy Spirit saves people, not us. We are to bear witness. The Spirit can then use our witness to open the mind and heart of those who listen.
To begin our apologetics training, we start by making no assumptions. We can't even talk about Christianity yet. We must first be able to PROVE the existence of God. If we can prove God exists, then we can begin to see which religion has the most accurate description of Him. That is where we will pick up next.
*Written for TPE by David Stoecker of Spiritual Spackle.
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