That’s not Faith. This is Faith!
by Marilyn Stewart
“Faith is not the opposite of knowledge,” Doug Groothuis, author and Christian apologist, told the record crowd in the opening plenary session at the 2014 Defend the Faith conference, Jan. 5-10, at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
More than three hundred attended the week-long conference sponsored annually by the Institute of Christian Apologetics, NOBTS, and directed by Robert Stewart, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and theology, and Greer-Heard Chair of Faith and Culture.
Faith is too often defined by today’s culture as “believing something without evidence or pretending to know something you don’t know,” Groothuis said. Instead, faith is “true, rational, and pertinent.”
There is good evidence to support the Christian faith and Christians must learn how to use it, Groothuis said. Believers can with confidence defend the Christian faith as objectively true, supported by evidence and argument, and existentially compelling, Groothuis said.
“Christianity does not call you to deny knowledge for the sake of faith,” Groothuis said.
Groothuis told of Steve Jobs, computer tech entrepreneur and founder of Apple, Inc., who came to his pastor as a young teen disturbed by the horrific famine in West Africa. Did God know ahead of time this would happen? Jobs asked. The pastor said only, “Yes, we can’t understand it, but God did.”
The pastor’s scant answer left Jobs dissatisfied and done with Christianity. Jobs then turned elsewhere for answers.
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Groothuis also told of the book A Manual for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian, in which non-believers are called upon to demand evidence from Christians and to challenge Christians to give reasons why they believe.
“Boghossian is confident Christians cannot do this,” Groothuis said. “But I submit that we can have solid, compelling, rational arguments for why we believe what we believe.”
Apologetics—explaining and defending the faith—is “not an option for eggheads only,” Groothuis said. Every Christian must know how.
Making the Case for Christianity
Groothuis said the resources and materials in apologetics available to Christians over the last decade is encouraging, but challenged students not to rest on the victories of their apologetic heroes and not simply “to talk to each other.”
“The purpose of this teaching on apologetics is to mobilize you,” Groothuis said.
Groothuis said the first step is learning how to summarize the essential concepts of the Christian worldview…