Should Christians Use Evidence and Logic to Proclaim the Gospel?
by Daniel Carrington
For those of us in the subculture of Christian apologetics (that is, defending one’s system of beliefs usually using logic, evidence, etc.) we are often looked down upon by some members of the Church. Much of this has to do with the perception that one should not rely on logical argumentation and evidence as this is seen to diminish the role of the Holy Spirit in a person’s coming to faith in Christ.
The main problem with this line of thinking is that it is actually highly unbiblical. If you are one of the people who believe that apologetics diminishes the power of the Holy Spirit (and if you are, I’m a little surprised you’re reading this to begin with, but please keep an open mind), that statement is probably going to sound somewhat offensive.
I certainly do not intend to be offensive in any way, but upon looking at the New Testament, it seems to me that there was a great deal of logical argumentation and evidence being used, particularly by Paul in the book of Acts, but even by Jesus and the apostle John. In addition to that, the very term “apologetics” is derived from the apostle Peter when it is used in what has become the “war cry” verse of apologists, 1 Peter 3:15:
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense [apologia] to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence
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In the Gospel of John, chapter 20, John states that the entire reason for writing his book was “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…” (John 20:31). In Matthew 11, John the Baptist sends messengers to Jesus to ask Him if He is the Christ “or shall we look for someone else?” (Matt 11:3) Jesus responds in verses 4 and 5 not by simply answering John’s question, but presenting evidence (“the blind receive sight, the lame walk…”).
In the book of Acts, I’m not even sure how many times Luke writes that Paul “reasoned with them from the scriptures” and “as was his habit.” Paul was in the synagogues every week presenting logical arguments, evidence and even using pagan societies’ own writings and mythology to bring them the Gospel. Paul was a consummate apologist.
I could go on and on with regards to showing apologetics being used in the New Testament, but I think a more important question to be answered is not so much just “Should we use apologetics?” but a better question to me would be “Why should we use apologetics?” Of course, the first and most immediate answer is, as I have demonstrated, because it is biblical to do so.
There is more to it than that, however. There are a couple more practical reasons that are perhaps even more pressing today…
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