Come Let Us Reason Together: Why We Need to Practice Apologetics
by Don Johnson
Should we even bother trying to reason with people about Jesus? Absolutely. We are rational creatures and, as we saw in the previous post, God certainly tries to use apologetics with us. He presents evidence that is intended to lead us to certain conclusions. “Come, let us reason together,” says the Lord in Isaiah 1:18. As J.P. Moreland writes,
Regularly, the prophets appealed to evidence to justify belief in the biblical God or in the divine authority of their inspired message: fulfilled prophecy. The historical fact of miracles, the inadequacy of finite pagan deities to be the cause of such a large, well-ordered universe compared to the God of the Bible, and so forth. They did not say, “God said it, that settles, it, you should believe it!” they gave a rational defense for their claims.
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Doug Groothuis adds that Jesus himself was a brilliant thinker and an apologist who debated his interrogators with exceptional intellectual skill and acumen.
Jesus deftly employed a variety of reasoning strategies in His debates on various topics. These include escaping the horns of a dilemma, a fortiori arguments, appeals to evidence, and reductio ad absurdum arguments. Jesus’ use of persuasive arguments demonstrates that He was both a philosopher and an apologist who rationally defended His worldview in discussions with some of the best thinkers of His day.
The apostles also made great use of apologetics. They worked hard to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5) and make sure no one was taken captive by “hollow and deceptive philosophy” (Col. 2:8-9). They also admonished their followers to contend for the faith entrusted to them (Jude 3). Paul’s discourse on Mars Hill (Acts 17:13-15) is considered by many to be a blueprint for apologetics.
Those who object to apologetics often assert that no one gets argued into Christianity. People believe based on their hearts, not their head, it is claimed, or based on a direct experience of God. They never get reasoned into the kingdom…