The Scriptural Case for Apologetics: 7 Quick Points
Saints and Sceptics
1) Every Christian is an apologist, for every time we clarify our beliefs to a sceptic, we are defending it from misunderstanding and misrepresentation. Every time we explain why we believe we are offering an argument for the faith. The only question is “will we do apologetics well or poorly”?
2) Is it really so surprising that God would want to engage our minds? After all, he calls the whole person – body, mind and soul, if you will – to submit. Rational argument alone cannot deal with the deep biases against God’s truth, but evidence has its place in commending the word of God to the unbeliever, and in convincing him to repent.
3) Only God can effectively call someone to faith. But how does God call us? Typically, through his word; and it is astonishing how often God’s word reasons with unbelief. For example Paul opens his chief theological statement, the book of Romans, with a critique of idolatry and polytheism. The creator’s eternal power is revealed through the natural world; the author of this creation must be far greater than anything in the created realm. Yet, even though everyone instinctively searches for God, pagans worship with pieces of wood and stone. This is foolishness, for they should know that something even more beautiful lies behind the beauty of nature.
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Romans 1 v 19 ...what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
4) Paul makes a similar argument to the Athenians in Acts 17. The ‘world and everything in it’ reflects the power of one creator. If everything in this world depends on a creator, then it follows that the creator cannot depend on anything in nature. It is madness, then, to bring food to idols as a means of honouring the divine. Furthermore, it is absurd to suggest that anything fashioned by human hand could contain or convey the majesty of the creator. These arguments would have been familiar to the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers of Athens. They might even have been sympathetic to Paul’s argument that because all men searched for the same thing, it was more reasonable to believe in one creator. Creation, after all, testified to one designer and one providential plan…