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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Case for Christianity

Don Stewart :: Apologetics

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Chapter 1 – Apologetics

The Defense of the Christian Faith

Our first section introduces us to subject of the defense of the Christian faith. In this chapter, we first demonstrate the need for making such a defense. We begin by pointing out the various belief options which are available to humans. Some people believe in God, others don’t. Some people believe in many gods while others worship only one God. To many, the one God who exists is an impersonal being while others view Him as personal. With so many options, the Christian must have an explanation, as well as a defense, as to why one should believe in the God of the Bible.

In our next section, we move to the subject of defending the Christian faith. We examine all the passages in the New Testament where the word “defense” is used. Our study will discover that it is a biblical practice to defend the belief in Jesus as the Christ. This includes presenting evidence as well as answering objections.

Our final section looks at the ways in which Bible-believing Christians go about defending the faith. Believers fall into two basic categories; those who do not think we should provide any reasons for our belief in God and in the trustworthiness of Scripture and those who do believe that we should give reasons for faith as well as answer objections. We examine each perspective and conclude that the biblical practice is to proclaim the message of Jesus, give reasons for belief, and answer any objections which may arise.

As we begin our examination of the claims of the Christian faith we must first look at the need to make such an inquiry. Why should anyone investigate the evidence to see whether or not Christianity is true? The answer to this question can be simply stated: There are varieties of choices that we, as human beings, have with respect to the existence or non-existence of God or gods. Christianity is only one of these many options.

In addition, the Christian faith makes some unique claims about itself; it claims that only one God exists and that it is the only way to reach the one God. For these reasons, it must be carefully examined along with the other belief options of humanity.

The Choices That All Humans Have

Humanity has the following choices when it comes to believing in the existence or non-existence of God or gods.

Agnosticism – I Do Not Know If God or Gods Exist

Agnosticism says, “I do not know if God or gods exist.” Some agnostics believe that it is not possible to know if a divine “being” or “beings” exist. Their view is that one cannot know anything about these matters. On the other hand, there are those agnostics who think that knowledge about God is possible, yet they are not convinced that there is enough evidence to prove the case. Whatever the exact position may be, an agnostic claims no knowledge, one way or the other, about the existence of God.

Atheism or Theism – I Know Whether God or Gods Exist

Contrary to agnosticism, which says it does not know are theism and atheism. Both of these groups claim to have knowledge about the existence of a supernatural being or beings. The atheist knows that God or gods do not exist. The theist knows that God or gods do exist.

Of course, the atheist cannot really know for certain that God does not exist. Only someone who has all knowledge or is everywhere present in the universe could know this. The only being who has these credentials is God Himself!

Polytheism or Monotheism – Does One God or Many Gods Exist?

Those who believe in the existence of God must decide whether they believe in polytheism or in monotheism. Polytheism believes in the existence of many gods, though a polytheist may choose to worship only one of these gods (this is known as henotheism). On the other hand, a monotheist believes only one God exists—no other so-called gods have any real substance.

Pantheism or a Personal Being – Is the One God Personal or Impersonal?

If only one God exists, then it must be determined whether that one God is a personal or impersonal being. Pantheism (God is equal to everything) believes that the one God who exists is impersonal—he has no personal existence apart from creation. Creation and God are basically one-in-the same. Those who believe in a personal God make a distinction between God and His creation—God exists separately from that which He created.

Deism or a Personally Involved God – Is the One God Involved with Humanity?

If only one God exists, and this one God is a personal God, then our next question considers His involvement in our world. Is the one God intimately involved in the affairs of humanity? Deism says that God is not involved with humanity. God started everything in the beginning and then backed off from His creation; He is no more than an onlooker. This is opposed to a God who is personally involved in the lives of the beings He created (such as the God revealed in the Bible).

Unitarianism versus Trinitarianism – Is the One God Only a Unity or a Trinity?

We now come to our final option. If there is one personal God who exists, and He is intimately involved in the affairs of humanity, is this God a unity or a Trinity? Is there only one person, or is there a plurality of persons within the nature of the one God?

These are the various belief options that humans have. Each human being will basically fit into one of these categories with respect to his or her belief about the existence or the non-existence of God or gods.

With so many belief options that are possible, certain questions naturally arise for the Christian: Why believe in Jesus Christ? What makes Christianity different than these other possibilities? It is, therefore, the responsibility of the Christian to respond to these types of questions.

Apologetics – The Christian Response to Objections

The job of defending the Christian faith, and answering questions such as these, is known as apologetics. One person has defined apologetics as “proving what you never doubted by arguments you don’t understand.” This, however, is certainly not the case!

Our English word “apologetics” comes from two Greek words—the noun apologia and the verb apologeomai. In the New Testament era, these words meant, “to give a defense or a reply.” They are found some eighteen times in the New Testament.

The Noun “Defend” as Used in the New Testament

The noun apologia is used eight times in the New Testament. These references are as follows.

First, we find Paul offering a defense concerning accusations against him. The Bible says,

“Brothers and esteemed fathers,” Paul said, “listen to me as I offer my defense.” (Acts 22:1 NLT)

The Apostle Paul is offering a defense to certain things he was wrongly accused of.

In another instance, Paul is defending himself against false charges. He said,

“I told them that it was not the custom of the Romans to hand over anyone before the accused had met the accusers face to face and had been given an opportunity to make a defense against the charge.” (Acts 25:16 NRSV)

Here the word is used in the technical sense of making a defense against accusers.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul makes another use of this word. He wrote,

My defense to those who examine me is this... (1 Corinthians 9:3 HCSB)

Paul again is using the term in the legal sense.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul uses the word in the sense of clearing oneself of charges. He wrote,

For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. (2 Corinthians 7:11 ESV)

Here Paul is using the term with reference to the Corinthians defending or clearing themselves from charges made against them.

Paul Defended the Gospel

When he wrote to the Philippians, he emphasized his role as defending the gospel. Paul said,

...just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. (Philippians 1:7 NKJV)

The scope of Paul’s ministry concerns both the defense and confirmation of the good news. This implies that his response, or apology, was closely linked with the gospel. He also wrote to the Philippians,

...the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel... (Philippians 1:16 NASB)

This clearly points out his purpose—he is set for the defense of the gospel.

When he wrote his final letter, he spoke of his defense before his accusers:

At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. (2 Timothy 4:16 NKJV)

This could mean defend or support oneself in front of hostile witnesses. In this context, it is used of an actual trial.

Peter Spoke of Defending the Faith

We also find Peter using the word “defense.” He wrote,

...but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you... (1 Peter 3:15 NRSV)

This is a key verse with respect to the defense of the Christian faith. Here it is in the context of persecution. When asked, as believers we are commanded to have an answer as to what we believe as well as why we believe.

The Verb “to Defend” as Used in the New Testament

Now we will look at the verb translated, “to defend.” The verb apologeomai is used ten times in the New Testament. The references are as follows.

The Use of the Word Defense by Jesus

Jesus gave instructions to His disciples in speaking in their own defense in front of the authorities. He said,

“When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say...” (Luke 12:11 NASB)

Jesus uses “defense” here with the idea of defending the faith before institutions and authorities. Later, He said,

Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time... (Luke 21:14 HCSB)

This could be a formal defense before those who were making a legal charge.

Alexander Wanted to Make His Defense

In the Book of Acts, we are told of a man named Alexander who wanted to make a defense in front of the people. The text says,

And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense to the people. (Acts 19:33 NKJV)

Alexander was attempting to respond to the charges made against him.

Paul Defended Himself before the Governor

When the Apostle Paul appeared before the governor, he made his defense. The Bible says,

When the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: “Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense...” (Acts 24:10 NASB)

Again, we have Paul’s defense to charges that were brought against him. In this case it was before the governor.

In another instance, the Apostle Paul defended himself. The Book of Acts records it as follows:

Paul said in his defense, “I have in no way committed an offense against the law of the Jews, or against the temple, or against the emperor.” (Acts 25:8 NRSV)

Paul is responding to the specific charges that he has committed offenses either against the Jews, their religion, or Rome.

When Paul came before Agrippa the King, he was allowed to defend himself. Scripture says,

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You may speak in your defense.” So Paul, with a gesture of his hand, started his defense... (Acts 26:1 NLT)

He then began his legal defense before King Agrippa. He said,

“In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today...” (Acts 26:2 NASB)

Again, we have another use of the term in the sense of a legal defense. Paul makes his defense before Agrippa. Verse twenty-two is the key to understand of what his defense consisted. It says,

“God has been helping me to this day so that I can stand and testify to important and unimportant people. I tell them only what the prophets and Moses said would happen.” (Acts 26:22 God’s Word)

Paul argues that he is teaching nothing different than what is found in Moses (the Law) and the Old Testament prophets. His defense received the following response:

Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” (Acts 26:24 NKJV)

Here Paul is interrupted by Festus as he is making his defense.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he speaks of the law of God which has been written on the human heart. He said,

They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them... (Romans 2:15 NRSV)

The thoughts of humans can either bring an accusation or a defense.

Finally, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the apostles defending themselves:

Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves before you? We are speaking in Christ before God. Everything we do, beloved, is for the sake of building you up. (2 Corinthians 12:19 NRSV)

This refers to specific attacks against Paul from certain people in Corinth.

Summary to the Use of the Word Defense in the New Testament

From these verses we learn that an apologist is one who gives a defense or reply to questions about the Christian faith. This is true whether it is answering a simple question or responding to some type of accusation. Twice, this defense was carried out in a court of law. Thus, defending the Christian faith is a New Testament practice.

There Are Other Verses That Speak of Defending the Faith

There are other verses in Scripture that speak of defending the faith. They include the following references.

1. The Faith Has Been Once-and-for-All Delivered

Jude wrote about the need for defending the faith. He said,

Dearly loved friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the truth of the Good News. God gave this unchanging truth once for all time to his holy people. (Jude 3 NLT)

The same idea is here. The faith that has been once-and-for-all delivered needs defending. Jude emphasizes that we should earnestly contend for the faith. Elsewhere he wrote,

Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. (Jude 22 NLT)

We are to be merciful, not judgmental, to those who have honest doubts about the faith.

2. Church Leaders Are to Teach the Truth and Refute False Doctrine

In Paul’s letter to Titus, he lists the traits of a church leader. He said,

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. (Titus 1:9-11 TNIV)

The qualifications of those who lead the church include teaching sound doctrine and refuting those who disagree by defending the faith.

3. The Defense of the Faith Is to Be Done in Love

Paul stresses the personal qualities that Christians are to have as they defend the faith. He wrote the following to Timothy:

The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will believe the truth. (2 Timothy 2:24-25 NLT)

This is so important to realize. Any defense of the faith must be done in love.

The Job of the Apologist Is to Remove Objections to Christianity

The apologist’s job is to remove roadblocks that keep people from believing in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, people grow up with certain misconceptions about Christianity and Christ. These may include: Jesus never existed; the Bible is unreliable; the records about Jesus have been changed throughout history; miracles have been disproved, etc. These accusations must first be answered before these people can hear the gospel. Apologetics, therefore, is not the gospel, but rather consists of answering questions and objections so that people are then able to hear the good news of Christ.

Of course, if someone does not have these objections and wishes to hear the gospel, then, by all means, the gospel should be preached to them. In these cases, it is not necessary to provide reasons for belief if the person is ready to believe the message of Jesus.

1. The Goal – Bringing People to Jesus Christ

The ultimate goal in answering doubter’s questions is to bring that person to faith in Christ. We want the unbeliever to see themself as a lost sinner needing a Savior. This is what the apologist is trying to accomplish. It is not attempting to win arguments or to prove how smart we are.

2. The Apologist Defends the Central Beliefs of Christianity

The defense of the faith also consists of the clarification of the gospel message and the belief system of Christians. There is a core belief system that needs to be defended. These beliefs include: salvation by grace through faith; Christ is the only way to know God; and the Bible is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice. The apologist proclaims these beliefs and defends them against attack.

3. The Attacks against Christianity Are Ever-Changing and Growing

In addition, each generation of believers must respond to the attacks of their own particular generation. For example, the first Christians were accused of atheism because they did not worship the gods of Rome as well as being cannibals because they “ate the body of Jesus” at the Lords Supper! They had to respond to those accusations. Today, believers do not have to defend themselves against these specific attacks but rather we have to respond to new and ongoing attacks.

The attacks change from generation to generation, yet the doubts continue to surface in the form of the same question, “Has God really said?” This question, originally asked by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, is still being asked today in one form or another. Has God really spoken to the human race and are His words recorded in the Bible? This is the question that Christians must answer!

The Two Approaches to Defending the Faith

Among believers, there are two different approaches to the way the Christian faith is defended; the presuppositionalist and the evidentialist. They can be summarized as follows.

The Presuppositionalist Approach: No Defense Is Needed

The presuppositionalist defends the Christian faith by first making several assumptions that are not up for discussion or debate. They assume that the God of the Bible is the only God who exists and that the Bible is His sole revelation to the human race. These truths are assumed to be true; they cannot be tested or challenged. Rather, they are to be believed as a starting point for all discussion. Thus, the presuppositionalist will not attempt to answer any objections to these truths, nor will they give any reason as to why they should be believed. The reason why this position is taken is due to the way the presuppositionalist understands human beings and our sinful nature.

The presuppositionalist holds to the view that the fall of humanity, as is recorded in Genesis chapter three, made human beings incapable of responding to God. Therefore, God must regenerate, or save them, before they can understand anything about Him. Unbelievers, by definition, are not capable of responding to the evidence for the Christian faith because of their fallen nature. Evidence for the Christian faith can only be understood after someone has trusted Christ, not before.

Furthermore, giving evidence for faith places human reason as the final determiner of what is true. We should place God’s Word as the final standard and not allow humans to determine whether or not the Bible is true.

Thus, the presuppositionalist preaches the gospel to unbelievers. Those who are the elect will respond in faith. Those who are not the elect will not. Consequently, the presuppositionalist does not bother giving any evidence or answering any objections.

The Evidentialist Approach: Answers Should Be Given

The evidentialist sees things differently. They believe that the non-Christian can respond to evidences brought forward to show the reasonableness of the Christian faith. Non-believers should have their objections answered. They deserve to hear the clear and convincing evidence that is available to substantiate the Christian faith.

The evidentialist like the presuppositionalist assumes that God exists and that the Bible is His sole revelation to humanity. But unlike the presuppositionalist, the evidentialist will provide reasons as to why these truths are to be believed and will answer objections brought forward by skeptics.

The evidentialist believes that the Holy Spirit takes the arguments used to support the gospel while the presuppositionalist uses the Bible alone. The evidentialist believes that giving reasons for faith is not fighting against the work of the Holy Spirit.

Simply stated, the evidentialist will answer the questions of unbelievers; they will start with where the unbeliever is at and attempt to answer their objections with the goal of leading them to Christ. On the other hand, the presuppositionalist will make the unbeliever accept the existence of the God of the Bible and the truth of the Word of God before any discussion can begin.

Obviously, the way in which we preach the gospel and tell others about Jesus will depend upon which of these two positions we hold. The evidentialist will preach the good news and answer questions while the presuppositionalist will merely preach the good news without answering any of the objections of the unbelievers.

The Evidentialist Approach Is the Best

Therefore, we must make a choice between the evidentialist and the presuppositionalist position. Why not, like the presuppositionalist, just proclaim the gospel? Why bother with arguing with people and presenting evidence? The presuppositionalist would say that giving reasons for the faith is a waste of time. The best option is to just preach the gospel and pray for that person to respond to the simple message. However, this is not the biblical approach for the following reasons.

1. God Gave Us Our Minds to Think and Reason

The Bible says that God created humans with the ability to think and reason. If we devalue the use of the mind then we are despising one of the gifts that God has given humanity. Jesus emphasized that we are to love the Lord with our entire mind. Matthew records him saying the following:

He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37 NRSV)

We are to use our mind in our love for the Lord. This includes weighing and evaluating the evidence for the Christian faith.

2. The Gospel Message Itself Causes Us to Think

The message of Christ is addressed to the minds of its listeners. We must use our minds to weigh and evaluate the evidence concerning Christ. God does not bring anyone into His kingdom by bypassing the mind.

3. The New Testament Is Carefully and Logically Written

We also find that each New Testament book has been carefully written and thought out. The arguments for Jesus being the Christ are not emotional but rather are reasonable and logical. The expectation is that the reader will be able to follow the line of argumentation and then respond in belief.

4. Experience Must Be Based upon Truth

While emotions do play an important part in Christian experience they are always linked to a sound mind and to sound preaching. Nowhere do we find the writers appealing to experience alone as the test of truth.

5.We Are Commanded To Honestly Investigate The Evidence

In fact, the Bible encourages honest investigation of the message of Christ. When people have legitimate questions concerning the Christian faith, they deserve to be given honest answers. We should not tell them, “Just believe,” or “You have to take it by blind faith.” The Bible never encourages this type of response. Paul wrote,

...but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21 NLT)

Another New Testament writer, John, put it this way:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1 NKJV)

The Apostle Paul encouraged the church at Corinth to judge, as wise men, the things that he said. He wrote,

You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am about to say is true. (1 Corinthians 10:15 NLT)

Notice that Paul said they were reasonable people who could make their own decisions.

An important verse with respect to defending the faith is 1 Peter 3:15. It reads as follows:

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. (1 Peter 3:15 NLT)

This verse commands Christians to know what they believe about God, why they believe it, and then be able to give an answer to those who ask questions about what and why they believe.

6. The Pattern of the New Testament Is to Give Intelligent Answers

Furthermore, we find those in the New Testament giving intelligent answers to the questions asked about Jesus Christ and the Christian faith. In the Book of Acts we read,

As usual, Paul went into the synagogue. On three consecutive days of worship, he had discussions about Scripture with the synagogue members. He explained and showed to them that the Messiah had to suffer, die, and come back to life, and that Jesus the person he talked about, was this Messiah. (Acts 17:2, 3 God’s Word)

This passage tells us that Paul reasoned from the Scriptures with the unbelievers. He took the time to listen to their questions and then give them answers.

When the Apostle Paul was in Athens, he went to Mars Hill. At that place he gave answers to the honest questions of the skeptics (Acts 17:16-34). Nowhere do we find him encouraging people to embrace the Christian message with blind faith or merely upon some religious experience.

In another example, we find that the apostle Paul spent a year and a half teaching the people at the church in Corinth. In the Book of Acts, we read the following:

Paul lived in Corinth for a year and a half and taught the word of God to them. (Acts 18:11 God’s Word)

When Paul brought the good news to Ephesus, he hired a lecture hall. Then for two years he taught the people daily, proclaiming the message of Christ and answering the people’s objections and questions. We also read in the Book of Acts,

When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord. (Acts 19:9, 10 NRSV)

In the Book of Acts we read the following about the Berean Jews. It says,

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11 TNIV)

The biblical writers applaud this type of behavior—the searching of the Scriptures to find out the truth. Furthermore, this type of response to unbelievers is the job of every believer; not just the specialist.

7. The Example of Jesus with Doubting Thomas

We also want to look at the way in which Jesus dealt with those who had doubts. The Bible says that when Jesus first appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, Thomas was absent. When the other disciples told Thomas they had seen the risen Lord, he wanted more than their word. The Bible says,

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (John 20:25 ESV)

When Jesus appeared eight days later, this time with Thomas present, He offered to show Thomas His scars. The Bible says,

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” (John 20:27 ESV)

We note that Jesus did not rebuke Thomas for wanting to see the risen Lord with his own eyes. Rather, Jesus offered to Thomas the opportunity to touch the imprints of the wounds. Jesus gave Thomas the evidence which he wanted. In the same manner, we should offer for those who doubt, the evidence which God has provided for us. It is not lack of faith to ask for sufficient evidence to trust Christ.

However, when the evidence is given, the person is then responsible to act upon it. It is proper for doubters to ask for evidence that meets a reasonable standard of proof. Unfortunately, many times, unbelievers ask for an impossible standard of proof before they claim they will believe. For example, they may say, “I will not believe in God unless He personally appears to me.” This will not happen; neither will it remove the responsibility of the doubter to believe in Christ. God has already provided sufficient evidence for humans to believe. It is now the responsibility of each person to act upon that evidence.

8. We Show The World That Christianity Has The Answers

Finally, giving reasonable answers to the objections of unbelievers is important because the world need to know that Christians do indeed have the answers. The agnostic, atheist, those of other religions, and the cultists all need to know that the answers to their deepest questions about God and themselves are found in the Bible and in it alone. To do this, we must take the time to demonstrate that the Christian faith is a rational, intelligent system.

Conclusion: God Does Not Need Our Defense However He Commands Us to Do It

God certainly does not need our defense of Him. In fact, God does not need anything. The Apostle Paul wrote,

He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him. (Colossians 1:17 NET)

The God of the Bible holds the entire universe together. He needs nothing. However, according to Scripture, we are commanded to give answers to the questions that people ask about His existence and His dealings with humanity.

To sum up, both the evidentialists and the presuppositionalists believe the same things about the nature of the Bible and the Person of Jesus Christ. Also, there is no difference in their ultimate goals; to preach the gospel, see people come to Christ, and ultimately give glory to God. The only real difference between these believers is the way in which these goals are accomplished. The presuppositionalist starts by assuming the existence of God and the truthfulness of the Scripture. All discussion with unbelievers must begin with these assumptions.

On the other hand, while the evidentialist believes the exact same thing as the presuppositionalist, the evidentialist will discuss evidence for God’s existence and the reliability of the Bible with the non-believer. Questions from the non-believer about these issues will be answered, not ignored.

Therefore, an apologist clarifies and defends biblical Christianity. On the positive side, it is the setting forth of evidences for the Christian faith; on the defensive side apologetics defends the gospel against the attacks of unbelievers. While some Christians do not believe in answering the objections of unbelievers this is not the biblical approach.

We are to tell people not only what we believe but also we are to tell them why they should believe. Unbelievers who ask honest questions deserve to receive honest answers.

Summary – Chapter 1
Apologetics: The Defense of the Christian Faith

In our first chapter, we have looked at some introductory issues with respect to the defense of the Christian faith. From what we have discovered, we can make the following observations.

  1. First, we have discovered that humans have different belief options about God. They include the following.
    • Agnosticism – I do not know if God or gods exist.
    • Atheism – I do know; God or gods do not exist.
    • Theism – I do know; God or gods do exist.
    • Polytheism – Many gods exist.
    • Henotheism – The henotheist worships only one of the many gods who exist.
    • Monotheism – Only one God exists.
    • Pantheism – All things that exist are part of God. Therefore God is impersonal.
    • Deism – The one God who exists is personal, yet He is not involved with humanity.
    • Personal theism – The one personal God is intimately involved with humanity.
    • Unitarianism – God is only one person.
    • Trinitarianism – The one God who exists, is, by nature, a Trinity—three distinct Persons within the nature of the one God.
  2. The Christian response in defending the faith is known as “apologetics.” It has an offensive and defensive aspect to it. There are a number of references in the New Testament to defending the faith.
  3. Apologetics has the idea of defending the faith that has been once-and-for-all delivered to the saints. There is a body of truth that needs to be proclaimed and defended.
  4. Apologetics is not the gospel, but defends and clarifies the biblical gospel.
  5. There are two basic approaches among Christians; the evidentialist and the presuppositionalist. The presuppositionalist does not believe in offering evidences for the truth of the Christian faith while the evidentialist does.
    According to the evidentialist approach, Christians must not merely preach the gospel without offering a reasonable defense when the faith is attacked or questioned. This is the approach which is consistent with the Scripture.
  6. Honest questions deserve honest answers. We should not tell people “just believe.”
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The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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