1 Peter 3 : 15

According to 1 Peter 3 : 15, Christians are commanded to always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in us. The Christian discipline of apologetics is learning to explain and defend why we believe what we believe. God does not need anyone to defend Him, of course. What Christians are called to defend is the hope that is in us. There are good reasons for believing in God, and Christians are commanded to have them at the ready.

All Christians are commanded first of all to proclaim the good news that “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God,” in the glorious words of C.S. Lewis. Sometimes, all unbelievers need to hear is “a simple gospel presentation” to believe. In this increasingly antichristian era unbelievers are skeptical of the gospel and question the truth claims of Christianity. That is why all Christians are also called to defend the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Apologetics is nothing new. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell on the first Christians, some were amazed to hear God praised miraculously in all the languages of the Roman world. Others mocked, saying the Christians were only drunk. Peter defended the outpouring of the Spirit by quoting the prophet Joel. He pointed out the miracles of Jesus, and boldly testified that he had witnessed the risen Savior. Fulfilled prophecy, miracles, the eyewitness testimony the Apostles, and the resurrection of Jesus remain key points for Christian defenders today. Peter used apologetics, and God used Peter to save about 3,000 people on that day.

Do you want to lead people to Jesus? Ground yourselves in the redemptive message of the Bible first, and learn apologetics second. It’s a wise person that wins souls (Proverbs 11:30).

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Will They Not Say That Ye are Mad?

Christian Scholar vs Muslim. SHOCKING ENDING & Fu…: http://youtu.be/Y0_iluq6uus

I first saw this video on The Dividing Line webcast with James White. I do not want to simply repeat the same points which Dr. White made, so I suggest readers watch or listen to this episode of The Dividing Line for themselves.

Suffice it to say, this video is embarrassing for Daniel. It clearly demonstrates the vital need for Christians to be well versed in apologetics, sound doctrine, and most of all the Bible. I am not sure where Daniel received his religious education, but if they taught him apologetics he either forgot or never caught on. He clearly learned a little church history from somewhere, but fails to use his knowledge to make any cogent rebuttal to the Muslim, Dr. Fazal Rahman, in the video. He gets his theology wrong too. But as I said, this is addressed in greater detail by James White.

The Bible does not merely suggest, but commands Christians to be, “…prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV). Unfortunately, many Christians would not do any better than Daniel did in this situation. I could stand to be better versed in witnessing to Muslims myself.

I also want to address the end of the video, in which Daniel got rather emotional, and began to preach badly, and (allegedly) speak in tongues. The preaching was bad because Daniel failed to make any coherent point. The biblical passage read seemed to have stirred Daniel up into a passionate frenzy, but he failed to convey any substantive reason for Dr. Rahman to trust in Jesus for his salvation.

I am also not convinced that the tongues were genuine. I do not say this because I believe the gift of tongues ceased at the close of the Apostolic age. I am a Pentecostal, and I believe that tongues and all the other spiritual gifts listed in Scripture are functioning today. I doubt it was genuine because it failed to match any description of tongues described in the New Testament. At best, even if Daniel’s outburst was the manifestation of a true gift of the Spirit, Daniel was out of order.

Writing of the gifts of the Spirit, Paul advised that “…all things should be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40, ESV). This is because tongues, and the other gifts of the Spirit, are not toys to be played with, but tools God has given for specific purposes.

In the first biblical instance of tongues, when the early Christians were baptized in the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (or Shavu’ot), they supernaturally spoke in the languages of Jews who had traveled from around the world to celebrate the festival. The Galilean followers of Jesus did not know or speak these languages previously (or afterward as far as we know). As a result, thousands of Jews experienced conviction, repented, and put their trust in Jesus Christ.

The unknown tongues referred to by Paul in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14, also had a purpose, and Paul wanted to ensure the gift was used correctly. For starters, when speaking tongues in a public setting, Paul warned the Corinthians of the futility of speaking in an unknown tongue without an interpreter.

1 Corinthians 14:6-13 ESV

Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret.

Since Daniel made no attempt to interpret the language he spoke, according to the Apostle he was pointlessly “speaking into the air.” Some might object that it was not pointless to the extent that Daniel was edifying himself (per 1 Corinthians 14:4). But was Daniel there to edify himself, or defend Christianity and hopefully lead the Muslim to faith in Jesus? Was Daniel’s “tongues” directed at himself or an audience? For the purpose of apologetics and evangelism, Daniel may as well have been responding to the Dr. Rahman in Mandarin Chinese, a Native American tribal language, or Klingon for all the impact it made. Also, as I previously stated, I am not convinced that Daniel was moved in his behavior by the Holy Spirit. I have no good reason to believe Daniel was edifying anybody, including himself.

Paul even warned the Corinthians that unknown tongues spoken without interpretation would only convince non-Christians that Believers were crazy.

1 Corinthians 14:23-25 ESV

If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

The reaction to Daniel’s “tongues” was that Dr. Rahman declared, “It looks like the Muslims have won!” Regrettably, in this instance he was right. It was apparent to Dr. Rahman, as well as the YouTube viewers that Daniel was not equipped to respond to Dr. Rahman’s dawa tactics. When he failed to refute Dr. Rahman, he began to shout and spew meaningless gibberish, ultimately blaming his carnal tantrum on the Holy Spirit. This was compelling evidence that Daniel was not acting according to the leading of God’s Spirit, but according to his own vanity.

Manifestations of the Spirit can be emotional, but never ineffectual. When the Spirit moves, He moves with purpose and is always victorious. Hopefully, Daniel was humbled and learned something from this exchange. At the very least, may it be a lesson for the rest of us.

Nature of Apologetics, Douglas Groothuis (S.S. Part 1) | Religio-Political Talk (RPT)

http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/nature-of-apologetics-douglas-groothuis-s-s-part-1/

One of these days, I may just post something of my own again! Do you ever reach a place where you realize you need to study more and say less? I feel like I am currently in such a place. For now, please follow the link to a great (Part 1!) post by Sean Giordano, which is actually a breakdown of lectures given by Douglas Groothuis, my favorite Christian philosopher and apologist.

Ecclesiastes 7:19 ESV

Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.

Doug Groothuis: How Jazz Can Shape Apologetics – DEFEND Mag

http://www.defendmag.com/jazz-can-shape-apologetics

This article is by my favorite Christian philosopher and apologist, Dr. Douglas Groothuis. In it, he provides some excellent advice for defenders of the Faith in his unique way. One of the reasons I am such a fan of Dr. Groothuis’s work is that he obviously puts a lot of work into his writing. It is apparent from the quality of his writing that he not only takes great care in choosing the right words, but that he loves to read and write as well. Instead of just regurgitating dry facts, I believe it is important for a Christian apologist to have a unique, creative, and well-crafted apologetic. As Dr. Groothuis says, we must spend “time in the woodshed” (study hard), but also learn to improvise and express “truth through personality”

Just as jazz musicians, apologists need to “know their charts” by having spent much “time in the woodshed.” That is, they need to master the standard apologetic arguments on the nature of truth and faith, the arguments for God’s existence (natural theology), the reliability of the Bible, the deity and resurrection of Christ, the case against rival worldviews (atheism, pantheism, polytheism, Buddhism, Islam) and much more. However, knowing the arguments (the charts) is not the same as offering the arguments in various interpersonal settings. These include one-on-one, in a small group, in a larger group, in a lecture, in a sermon, on line, in a postal card, and more. This demands inventiveness, being prepared “in the moment” to size up the scene, seize the moment, and jam accordingly. Apologetic witness should never be stilted or clichéd, just as jazz is never hidebound to one way of playing a tune. As Phillip Brooks said of preaching long ago, apologetics is “truth through personality.” No one else has your personality and every situation is unique. So make music—in your solos and through group dynamics.

Ecclesiastes 7:19 ESV

Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.

How Apologetics Saved My Faith | Pastor Matt

http://pastormattblog.com/2013/07/24/how-apologetics-saved-my-faith/

The linked blog by Pastor Matt Rawlings really encouraged me to continue studying and using apologetics in my Christian witness. It really is important that we provide outstanding answers to tough questions about the nature of God, the Bible, and the world around us. If you need some evidence that apologetics works, or if you are a Christian apologist in need encouragement, please read.

Ecclesiastes 7:19 ESV

Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.