A Look at Some Obstacles in Getting Apologetics Into the Local Congregation (Part Two)

by Eric Chabot

In our previous post, we discussed some of the hindrances and obstacles that we face in attempting to implement apologetics into the local congregations. I will go ahead and list a couple of more obstacles or misunderstandings about this issue here:

#1: We should just give people the Gospel

Response: This is true. By all means, “Preach the Gospel!” But guess what? What do you do when you try to open the Bible and use it with someone who doesn’t think the Bible is an authoritative or inspired book? This happens all the time to Christians. And did you know Muslims and other people think their holy book is just as inspired and authoritative as the Bible? If you keep trying to quote the Bible, you would be “begging the question.”

One of my favorite texts in the Bible is the following:

“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”- John 17:1-4

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Eternal life is something that involves both quality and quantity. It is a quality of life that starts in this life and extends through eternity. While I am excited that John has recorded what Jesus has told us about ‘what’ we need to believe to have eternal life, it will most likely lead to what Tim Keller calls the ‘why’ question:

“I’ve heard plenty of Christians try to answer the why question by going back to the what. “You have to believe because Jesus is the Son of God.” But that’s answering the why with more what. Increasingly we live in a time in which you can’t avoid the why question. Just giving the what (for example, a vivid gospel presentation) worked in the days when the cultural institutions created an environment in which Christianity just felt true or at least honorable. But in a post-Christendom society, in the marketplace of ideas, you have to explain why this is true, or people will just dismiss it.” – Tim Keller

When I recently spoke on John 17 and talked about the relationship between the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ question, I quoted Keller. After all, to say to the average person that the ‘what’ involves believing in the one true God and Jesus for eternal life, it will lead to ‘why’ questions…

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