I. THE DEFENSE OF OUR FAITH IS KNOWN AS APOLOGETICS.
A. And where does the word Apologetics come from?
The English word, “Apologetics,” comes from the Greek word, apologia, which means “to give a reason, an answer, or defense.”
In 2 Timothy 4:16 - At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.
In 1st Peter 3:15 - But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
1. The word “answer” means to give a defense, a verbal defense, a speech in defense or a reasoned statement or argument.
a. So with these two words, it is to define what I believe or represent what I know and believe to be true.
We are living in an era when apologetics is much needed, and at the same time, we need a Christian that is not merely heard, but must also be seen living what they believe and in the field of apologetics which deals with the hard questions posed to the Christian faith, the apologist must be seen and heard.
B. Christian Apologetics - is knowing how to proclaim a defense of the supernatural claims of Christianity to somebody who has other assumptions,
2. It is giving out to somebody
a. Who does not believe,
b. Who does not understand,
c. Or somebody who does not agree with me.
3. And we must do so in a logical, rational, and coherent way.
a. We must do so gently
b. But finding a way for common ground, to be able to build a true foundation into their lives.
4. Without provoking someone,
a. But by ministering in such a way to find common ground.
Remember 1st Peter 3:15 - talks about doing our reasoning with people in a gentle manor because many people have a misunderstanding of what historical Christianity is.
1 Peter 3:15 - But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
II. HISTORY OF APOLOGETICS
A. Theologians called the first apologists Classical Apologetics.
1. It was the Apologetic method practiced by the first thinkers
2. Classical Apologetics shows arguments for the existence of God, as well as the historical evidence supporting the truth of Christianity.
3. And these pioneer apologists included
a. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Augustine, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas
B. And they dealt with those
1. Who were unwilling to repent of their views of God and false teachings.
2. And those who created counter movements against Christianity.
C. In Apologetics, there are many types of apologetics.
1. But according to classical apologetics, there are certain logical steps in the overall argument in defense God and the Christian faith.
2. Since each step can be treated in detail, only the logic of the arguments will be written here.
D. Historical fact – Why was there a need for theology to be documented through history?
1. It was for the defense against false teaching that had come against the church.
E. Warning in the bible against false teachings. (26 books of the bible give warnings to false teachers).
1. It was the works of the Apostle Paul
2, Remember this – It is faith that makes the church, but it is doctrine that created the church, and it is doctrine that holds the church together.
III. WAYS TO SHARE OUR FAITH
Titus 1:9 - holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
A. There are many types of apologetics, but we will focus on four (4) types of Apologetics that can be used to share our faith.
1. Positive Apologetics - men like Billy Graham. He does not focus on the faith of others, but he focuses on what he believes.
a. The person engaged in doing positive apologetics might attempt to provide proofs or arguments for the existence of God.
b. Or the apologist might direct the attention of the unbeliever to something he already knows and help him see how such a belief supports in some way the existence of God.
2. Negative Apologetics - attacks the lies and other systems or beliefs in light of the gospel.
a. The person who does this is a Polemicist – (po-lem-a-sist).
A po-lem-i-sist is a person who attacks someone else with written or spoken words. It is a person who engages in controversial debates and a heated debate is the perfect venue for a polemicist.
b. If you're a polemicist, you have very strong opinions, and you're not afraid to state them — even if they hurt other people. He is someone who attacks the lies in another system or belief.
c. So in negative apologetics, the apologist is playing defense. In positive apologetics, the apologist begins to play offense.
d. It is one thing to show (or attempt to show) that assorted arguments against religious faith are weak or unsound,
e. It is a rather different task to offer people reasons why they should believe.
3. Cultural or Conversation Apologetics - And this is a majority of us.
a. It is someone who takes anything at around them,
b. A building, a book, or even a child,
c. And you use it to bring a conversation to your favor.
d. Paul did it to the men of Athens. Acts 17:22-25
4. Pre-Evangelism (My favorite)
a. This type of evangelism is done by someone who is witnessing to a person of a cult.
When dealing with a cultist: one of the first question I ask is “if you found out that your belief was not true, would you stay in your religion?”
b. Pre-evangelism is use to chip away at a bad foundation, and plant seeds in the heart of the person(s) you are witnessing too.
c. Chances are you will not win this person to the Lord that very moment,
1. But by chipping away at their foundation,
d. But you can encourage them to meet with you again.
1. Like Paul, who knew what these men of Athens believed.
Acts 17:32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” 33 So Paul departed from among them.
e. Or pray that someone else will also meet them and do the same thing to win them to Christ.
In 1st Corinthians 3:5-8 - Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
B. So great Apologetics is;
1. Sharing my faith in such a way because
a. I can understand their thinking or reasoning.
b. And their misunderstanding about who God is, and what is the gospel message.
Remember Evangelism is getting the person to the place where they can understand the gospel message!
c. And that I can best meet their needs in sharing the truth about God in an effective way.
2. Great Apologetics will allow me as a Christian to be assured of my faith by the historical facts we learn in taking the time to study.
IV. WHO WE ARE SHARING OUR FAITH WITH
A. When we study any religion or cult, each has this in common, and this is how most cults are started.
1. Because the founder had a misconception about the history of Christianity.
2. Because the founder had a false impression as to the philosophy of the Christian faith.
3. Because the founder could not conceive the doctrine of the only God-man and savior.
4. Because the founder struggled with the God breathed infallible word (the bible).
5. Because the founder struggled with the excessiveness of salvation only in Christ.
B. Seven (7) major reasons to the objections to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. Does it not matter what you believe in as long as you are sincere in what you believe because it is not about truth, but about sincerity.
2. All religions are basically the same.
3. If there is a god, why does evil exist? Why is there pain and suffering?
4. What happens to those people who have never heard the name of Jesus because they don’t have the gospel or bible in their language?
5. Isn’t the bible just a man-made book written two thousand years ago?
6. Isn’t Christianity just a crutch?
7. Isn’t it Arrogant to say that Christianity is the only way?
C. Almost every person you come in contact with will have one of these thoughts.
1. Except is the person born into the cult.
2. So as Christians we have to defend the faith that we believe in.
REMEMBER: All Cults are taught to have one motive, and that is an attempt to Correct Historical Christianity, and to change your worldview.
D. There are three (3) types of people that we will be sharing our faith with.
1. A skeptic - Believes that nobody has the right answer.
a. That man created all religions.
b. It is a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.
Agnosticism. Agnosticism comes from two Greek words (a, “no”; gnosis, “knowledge”). It literally means “no-knowledge,” the opposite of a Gnostic. Thus, an agnostic is someone who claims not to know.
As applied to knowledge of God, there are two basic kinds of agnostics, (1) those who claim that the existence and (2) nature of God are not known, and those who hold God to be unknowable
2. A critic – Believes that Christianity is wrong, usually that there is a type of conspiracy going on, or that Christianity has been corrupted.
a. It is a person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something.
b. And most of the time it is a person who has never checked out the facts for themselves;
c. But just believes everything they hear and watch on web sites like YouTube.
d. A cultic believes this view.
3. A cynic - Everybody thinks that they are right.
a. It is a person who believes that people are motivated purely by self-interest.
b. And that nobody acts honorable or has no unselfish reasons.
We have to know what all three mean and we have to know how to present the gospel to each one of them.
V. OVERALL ARGUMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
A. The overall arguments in defense of the Christian Faith can be put in twelve (12) Historical Basic Facts:
1. Truth about reality (the world) is knowable.
2. Opposites cannot both be true (LOGIC).
3. The (not a) Theistic God exists.
4. Miracles are possible.
5. Miracles performed in connection with a truth claim are acts of God to confirm the truth of God through a messenger of God.
6. The New Testament documents are reliable.
7. As witnessed in the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God.
8. Jesus’ claim to divinity was proven by a unique convergence of miracles.
9. Therefore, Jesus was God in human flesh.
10. Whatever Jesus (who is God) affirmed as true, is true.
11. Jesus affirmed that the Bible is the Word of God.
12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God and whatever is opposed to any biblical truth is false.
We must remember - We cannot and must not force faith, and we cannot force their hearts to believe, but we can plant seeds, pray and trust that God will water these seeds.