3 GOOD REASONS TO MAKE THE CASE FOR CHRISTIANITY.
We live in a culture where people are skeptical of Christianity. They have many questions. Young people in this generation are honestly seeking rational explanations to things they have heard. Unfortunately, many Christians are not prepared or equipped to answer questions relating to the Bible, God, science, ethics or other worldviews.
We need to equip this generation with rational, intelligent and reasonable explanations that show Christianity is true and provides the best answers when we consider all of the cumulative evidence. If we do not provide answers and make the case for Christianity, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will continue to be undermined.
So why is apologetics important? Do you think it is important? Some argue that all we need is faith. Let’s explore these and other important issues surrounding this subject. I would like to consider 3 good reasons to make the case for Christianity.
But before we look at why Christian apologetics is important, let’s define what we mean.
The term apologetics comes from the Greek word “apologia” which simply means to make a defense for what you believe is true.
So an apologist proclaims and defends the truth of Christianity.
While this is not an exhaustive list, I believe these are 3 broad and very good reasons to make the case for Christianity.
1. IT IS CRITICAL TO SHARING THE GOSPEL
2. IT INCREASES YOUR FAITH
3. IT’S NOT AN OPTION – THE BIBLE COMMANDS IT
1. It is critical to sharing the gospel.
I know of nothing more important than sharing the life transforming power of the gospel. As Christians, we should be highly motivated to share this “Good News” to a lost and dying world.
However, many times we run into roadblocks or obstacles. Many people have honest questions or doubts that they have been struggling with. They have various misconceptions about the Christian worldview. I have experienced this firsthand as I have witnessed to many young people. It is evident to me that evangelism and apologetics complement each other. I think those who regard apologetics as not very important, probably have not been engaged in the culture trying to evangelize and share the Gospel.
Being able to make the case for Christianity helps remove some of these roadblocks and causes people to be more receptive to the Gospel. Apologetics is really pre-evangelism to our culture.
We live in a dominant “post truth” culture that to a large degree has embraced philosophies such as relativism, pluralism, and naturalism. We need to be equipped to lovingly break down these barriers with the truth and ultimately plant seeds of truth with the goal of leading them to Christ.
Many Christians shy away from sharing the good news of the gospel because they are afraid of being challenged. They are not prepared to be able to articulate and defend what they believe and why they believe it. And sadly, some just do not see the need.
Many young people cite these as some of the reasons they walk away from their faith. They have also had bad experiences with the church and Christians. The hypocrisy and the lack of satisfactory answers have contributed to their indifference.
This needs to change! This does not mean we need to just gain knowledge for the sake of intellectual pursuit. We know Scripture admonishes that “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” We must speak the truth in love.
My experience has been that most young people respond to relationships and reasonable answers.
We must be prepared! Being able to make the case for Christianity is critical to sharing the Gospel.
2. It increases your faith.
The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. We are also told that Scripture “thoroughly equips us for every good work.” When a Christian is grounded with a Biblical worldview and learns the evidence and how to articulate it, they gain confidence and their faith is strengthened.
This has certainly been my experience.
Christianity is supported by evidence, and when you are prepared it will give you a confident faith you want to share.
Think about when you are in school and you have diligently studied for the upcoming test. You put in the time and effort and feel very confident. You are almost looking forward to taking the test to demonstrate your diligent study paid off. The converse of this scenario is also true. When you do not do your homework, and you neglect to study and prepare, the last thing you want to do is take a test. You are not equipped.
But some will say, “Well if you know everything, then why would you need faith?”
Maybe a parent or even a pastor will respond to young people’s questions with “just have faith”. I believe many honestly express this view, but it is a faulty description of faith. Many translate this to “in order to be a Christian, you shouldn’t use your brain.” This blind faith approach is very unbiblical.
Does this mean we can know everything? Of course not. The Bible tells us to walk by faith and not by site. However, this does not mean I believe God exists without any evidence or reason. It means I can trust Him based on past experience even when I do not understand or know what plans He has for me. When I am struggling or have doubts these are the times I can have faith or TRUST that His plans are for the ultimate good.
We are never encouraged to have a blind faith.
The Apostle Paul commended those in Berea for having an open mind and being receptive AND for checking the Scriptures daily to see if what they were being told was the truth.
Paul also said to “Test everything, hold onto the good”. 1 Thessalonians 5:21. This would indicate we are not commanded to have a blind faith.
In the first book of Acts, Jesus Christ presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them for forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. What a faith builder that must have been!
In Hebrews 11:1 we are given a Biblical definition of faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Consider the following quote from Galileo Galilei:
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
I would like to share two more quotes from a couple of respected Christian apologists that I have had the opportunity to sit under their teaching:
"As I speak around the country, I often encounter devoted, committed Christians who are hesitant to embrace an evidential faith. In many Christian circles, faith that requires evidential support is seen as weak and inferior. For many, blind faith (a faith that simply trusts without question) is the truest, most sincere, and most valuable form of faith that we can offer God. Yet Jesus seemed to have a high regard for evidence. In John 14:11, He told those watching Him to examine 'the evidence of miracles' if they did not believe what He said about His identity. Even after the resurrection, Jesus stayed with His disciples for an additional forty days and provided them with 'many convincing proofs' that He was resurrected and was who He claimed to be (Acts 1:2-3 ). Jesus understood the role and value of evidence and the importance of developing an evidential faith. It’s time for all of us, as Christians, to develop a similarly reasonable faith'." —J. Warner Wallace
“The ‘I just take Christianity on (blind) faith’ attitude can’t be the right approach. It leaves the Bible without defense, yet Peter directs us to make a defense for the hope that is in us. Also, the biblical word for faith, pistis, doesn’t mean wishing. It means active trust. And trust cannot be conjured up or manufactured. It must be earned. You can’t exercise the kind of faith the Bible has in mind unless you’re reasonably sure that some particular things are true. In fact, I suggest you completely ban the phrase “leap of faith” from your vocabulary. Biblical faith is based on knowledge, not wishing or blind leaps. Knowledge builds confidence and confidence leads to trust. The kind of faith God is interested in is not wishing. It’s trust based on knowing, a sure confidence grounded in evidence.’ – Greg Koukl
Christianity is supported by evidence. When you study and are prepared, it will give you a confident faith you want to share.
3. It’s not an option – The Bible commands it
Lastly and probably the most important, is the third reason to make the case for Christianity.
Jesus Christ said in John 14:15, “If you love Me keep my commandments.” Yes, the Bible commands ALL Christians to be a case maker for Christ. It is not optional.