Apologetic Evangelism 101: Readying Ourselves to Engage the World
by Fred Butler
It is my contention that Christians lack the motivation to evangelize because they lack confidence confronting unbelievers with the Gospel. That lack of confidence, I believe, is due largely in part to the lack of proper theological and biblical grounding on the subject of evangelism and apologetics.
As I noted in my last couple of posts on this subject, doing apologetics and evangelism requires a good defense for the faith and a good offense to challenge the hearts of unbelievers.
Defending the faith begins with a life saturated in God’s Word that shows forth godly character submitted to Christ’s Lordship. Challenging the unbeliever involves directly assailing the worldview he has created for himself by confronting his heart and mind with the truth of God revealed in Christ.
Hence, effective apologetics and evangelism will utilize both defensive and offensive tactics to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.
With that bit of background, I want to become more practical with the principles I have been outlining so far. In order to ready ourselves to engage the world with the Gospel, I have three primary areas I would like to address: Our preparation, our practice, and our pitfalls. I will consider the first point with this post, and the final two in the next one.
There are two important points we need to grasp in order to get prepared,
First, Know Your Faith
That is an unspoken given. So why even mention it? Simply because evangelical Christians are spiritually illiterate when it comes to their faith. Some folks even seem to be willfully ignorant. It’s as if they don’t really care about learning the Bible, or key doctrines, or any theology at all. I find that attitude of self-imposed ignorance mystifying.
I would think any person who genuinely experiences a spiritual awakening would immediately desire to know the faith he or she just embraced. That was my experience when the Lord saved me. Yet sadly that is not the case for many Christian. Older, more seasoned Christians are often times even more ignorant.
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They tend to only listen to CCM and rarely if ever think to listen to good biblical preaching. They may attend a weekly Bible study, if one is even offered, but the study is superficial. Church has become a routine done on Sunday mornings. A good service is judged by how well the pastor captivated the audience, or perhaps how much the music moved the people to experience “glory bumps.” Now, there are probably legitimate reasons why this lazy attitude exists in Christians, say for example, poor pastoring from the pulpit or insufficient discipleship, but whatever the case, a Christian must stir from his spiritual stupor and begin knowing his faith. How can this be done?
Begin first by regularly reading the Bible.
The Christian must get into the disciplined habit of reading the Bible daily. Cultivating a habit with reading the Scripture is an absolute, a “no other options” must for a Christian’s life.
You can never defend anything you know nothing about, and you will certainly never proclaim it to others with any authority. Neglecting the reading of Scripture is inexcusable, because there are many helps available in our day and age to aide a person in this area…