Peas and carrots, apologetics and evangelism
by Chuck Edwards
Sometimes I run into Christians who have the impression that apologetics does not relate to evangelism. But actually, apologetics and evangelism are two sides of the same coin. In fact, when a Christian understands basic answers to questions that non-Christians have regarding Christianity, they are in a much better position to point others to Christ.
There are two reasons that apologetics and evangelism go together like, as Forrest Gump’s mom said, “peas and carrots.”
First, a biblical reason. Whenever Jesus’ disciples shared the “good news,” they used reasoned arguments and evidence, particularly related to the Scriptural prophecies predicting Messiah and the eye-witness accounts of Jesus’ resurrection (see Acts 1-2).
Also, the Apostle Paul “reasoned” with the Jews and used logical arguments with Jews and Gentiles (see Acts 17-19). For example, we read that Paul “reasoned with them [in Thessalonica] from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead” (Acts 17:1-3). Later, in Athens, Paul “reasoned in the synagogue… as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:16-17). It’s interesting to note that in the context of speaking to the philosophers and leaders of Athens (who were not Jews), Paul refrains from quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures, but instead, used Greek concepts and analogies and quotes from their own pagan philosophers and poets! He understood the mindset of his audience and crafted his speech accordingly.
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The second reason for combining apologetics and evangelism is that it emboldens Christians to be more proactive in talking with others! Dr. J. P. Moreland, Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and author of over 30 books, puts it this way: “I have trained people to share their faith for over twenty-six years. I can tell you from experience that when people learn what they believe and why, they become bold in their witness and attractive in the way they engage others in debate or dialogue.” (Love Your God With All Your Mind, p. 31-32)
Dr. Moreland then gives a personal illustration of this principle…
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