The Task of Apologetics
by R.C. Sproul
Exodus 3 narrates the well-known account of God’s revealing Himself to Moses in the burning bush and commissioning him to tell Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. But that was only part of Moses’ mission. The other task to which the Lord called Moses was to address the Israelites. He was to command the Israelites in the name of God to engage in the largest strike in history. In absolute defiance of the power and authority of Pharaoh, they were to leave Egypt and go out to the desert to worship God at His mountain. And, of course, these events ended in the exodus.
Just think of Moses’ task. Moses, an old man who had been tending sheep in the wilderness for years, was to somehow get an appointment with Pharaoh, the most powerful ruler on earth in that day. But in many respects it was even more difficult to go to the people of Israel and say, “Never mind the chariots of Egypt and the armies of Pharaoh. Follow me and I will lead you to the Promised Land.” What slave in his right mind would take Moses at his word? And that is the problem that is addressed particularly in Exodus 4, where Moses says to God, “They will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’ ” And the Lord gave Moses many proofs to show the Israelites that his claims were credible.
In this encounter, Moses raised the question of apologetics, the question of how the believer is to defend the faith as reasonable. He had to convince the Israelites of the truth of the mandate and that it came from God. He was dealing with the in-house problem of apologetics, namely, that he had to persuade the church—the people of God—of the veracity of the Word of God and its claim on their lives.
The task of apologetics, of defending the truth of Christianity, has at least three main aims. I think most Christians are familiar with two of these…
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