I live in Lilburn, GA, with my wife and two young kids. I am a pastor at Oak Road Lutheran Church. I've written a book called, Contradict - They Can't All Be True. Be sure to visit my other website: https://www.contradictmovement.org.
View all posts by Andy Wrasman
16 thoughts on “Why use apologetics and how should Christians prepare for apologetic encounters?”
Did you know that Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah? Where does that fit into John 14:6?
See you can’t speak for all Muslims. Some do believe Jesus is the Messiah, others believe he was just a prophet who died, etc. What does the word Messiah mean to Muslims?
It’s part of their doctrine. Mainstream Muslims say to not believe Jesus sits even now at the right hand of God and will come again is not to be Muslim. They believe Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. Look it up. It’s in the fundamentals of Islamic doctrine.
Sacred Struggler, I know that you are right that Muslims believe that Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary.
I also know that they don’t believe he died. That is clearly stated in the Qur’an. If he did not die, then the doctrine of his atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind is not within Islam, which means that Muslims reject the prophesies of Isaiah 53. Muslims believe that each man must pay for his own sin, that they cannot stick their sins to someone else. This means Christians have quite a different understanding of who Jesus is and what he did for mankind than Muslims do.
The following page shows the verses from the Qur’an that support that Jesus was born of a virgin, did not have an earthly Father just as Adam, and did not die:http://www.islam-guide.com/ch3-10.htm.
Help me out, please, Sacred Struggler. Where do you find that Muslims believe that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father and that he is the Messiah. Also show me what Muslims believe concerning the Messiah. I know that Christians recognize that Messiah means “anointed one” and that prophets, priests, and kings were anointed in ancient Israel. Christians believe that Jesus as the Messiah fulfills all three offices in such a way that no other person possibly can because Jesus is fully God and fully man (another Doctrine that Muslims reject).
And also many atheists I have had a dialogue with have said they would only convert based on a personal experience. They say of course they couldn’t win others based on it, but it would win them. No one ever converted because they lost an argument.
I also think that you skip over very important questions. but to be fair, I am not a fan of apologetics in general.
something un-Biblical it should have been poetnid out so we could all learn. I never used any inappropriate language and I made no threats so i guess it was taken down because the truth hurts. Ok now to your point. I am not trying to argue with Eric. I like Eric. Eric is pretty clear in what he is saying as I always try to be BUT in Christianity today there is a big push on to never judge lest you be judged and that is not correct. The only people who need to worry about being judged are the ones with something to hide. We must not judge hypocritically (you know the speck and the log). John 3:20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. Of course this can get taken to the extreme and I know it has but that doesn’t make it not true. I wrote 3 posts to Eric and deleted each one because I didn’t want to come across like I was attacking him. I guess I did not do well at that and for that I am sorry. I also waited 4 days to respond to Bo because I did not want to write with the wrong attitude. It’s nice to be nice and sometimes I have to work at that (ask my family).Here is the bottom line. You cannot do/teach the things TB does and be a Christian. Think about it when God saves a person he gives them a new nature. We do not instantly become perfect but we do become forgiven. So a baby Christian can get some things wrong. As I did, but when God opens your eyes to his truth you get a desire to learn about your Creator. We can learn about God’s power and imagination thru nature but you can only learn about God’s mind thru the Bible. You won’t find the name of Jesus in nature only the Scriptures. This is why he gives us the desire to dwell in the Word. Well one of the side effects of that is you actually learn what God says is true and what is not. God is pretty clear. TB knows his miracles are not real or they would all be out on the sunlight. How fast would Foxnews show up if he called and said I am going to grow a new arm on a child tonight? Or if it actually happened once they would camp out forever. He knows he is a false teacher because he does it for the money just like the Bible says the false teachers will and other false teachers will affirm him because they make money. If you could heal people and you don’t march thru Children’s Hospital and empty it out you are the meanest person the world. Jesus and the Apostles healed entire cities and it was in front of EVERYONE. When he said rise and take up your mat the man did not limp out of a wheel chair and shuffle along. Emotions can make someone do that. He jumped up and walked. That is what a Biblical miracle looks like.Christians need to contend for the truth and not let people like TB be taken serious. This is all about God’s glory not ours. All I was after with Eric besides interesting discussion was to show it is ok when we have irrefutable DNA evidence to call a criminal a criminal. As a Christian we should not want anyone to think that these types of people speak for the one true and living God. They are robbing him of his Glory every time they do this stuff. I will strive to be more clear in the future.Thanks for the heads up.God BlessRay Johnson
This is a good introduction, I think.
I’d have to disagree with SacredStruggler, however. While very few come to Christ as a direct response to a logical defense, a culture filled with Christians who have shown that they have strong, rational arguments for what they believe is a culture where missionaries encounter much more openness to the gospel.
This is over and above the vast personal growth those who study apologetics consistently report.
Have you ever been on a mission trip? I’m curious because when I used to go, we had far more “success” in the poorer and less educated villages. If the people wanted to argue they often simply wanted to waste our time. Of course, we don’t know how the holy spirit works after we leave. But when it came to apologetics, the people were simply patronizing us.
To be simple, we “win” more souls where we show the love of Christ not pander with logic. They want to See us live Christ. not hear it.
I have been on a mission trip. In fact, I worked as a missionary for six years.
I completely agree with you that, when speaking to people on a short-term trip, answering their needs is much more important than discussing intellectual issues. I also agree that most people who want to debate points are simply hostile, and are not, therefore, open to the gospel.
In the long-term, however, there are people who are legitimately interested, but simply have questions. There are also people who are committed Christians who struggle with whether or not Christianity is actually true. As one who has been both of these people at different times in my life, I can say that apologetics is useful in these situations (as well as in some other ways).
But none of this means that I think anyone should be reviewing apologetic arguments in street evangelism or on a short-term mission trip. I completely agree that this wouldn’t be the appropriate time. Loving people is paramount, and apologetics should be used only insofar as it is loving someone (taking real questions seriously, if that is what is called for in a particular moment), not to argue with hostile people.
I agree that the latter isn’t helpful.
Exactly. You say that we should not argue with hostile people. To me, that is the purpose of apologetics otherwise we would simply say having a discussion and wouldn’t need so much strategy and what not. There is a huge difference between being able to share your faith and being able to argue it along the apologetic framework.
I completely agree that, if that were the purpose of apologetics, it would not be helpful. But I simply don’t see that as the purpose; nor do I see that having a strategy means we plan on arguing. Many people have strategies in their ministry. This is simply part of good planning.
Rather, the purpose of apologetics is helping people who have genuine questions (whether they are already Christians or genuine seekers) to see the truth. This person may even be you; I personally have had my faith and understanding greatly increased by studying apologetics. It was completely worth it for that alone.
Apologetics renders the atheists strongest rhetorical weapon (implying that Christians are all idiots) useless. That does a lot to make people open to the gospel, even if it doesn’t directly convert them, and it probably does even more to keep the converts already made.
So, again, I completely agree that apologetics is not the thing to jump into in a street-evangelism type situation. It should never be taken as a replacement for sharing your faith. But this doesn’t mean that it isn’t something that Christians should learn. It is very helpful for other tasks.
Well, I know some people are very passionate about apologetics and it’s glories. I am simply not one of them. Sometimes I feel we are trying to corner people into seeing things our way, when we should be showing them Jesus. And others I feel we are strangling the Holy Spirit by making a battle plan to convince others. But I do think it’s important for us to always be ready to give an answer. So if some people genuinely use apologetics only to share and not to coerce, I support it. The others, I oppose. Sadly, I feel that most use it for the latter. And I also think most miss the getting in the muck of their own questions because they think they need to have the answers.
Anyway, I hope you find many blessings on your path.
I posted the comments from this blog on the Contradict Facebook page and here is one of the replies that I received on the Facebook wall, I believe to be added to this comment thread about why Christians should prepare to defend the faith and to actually defend it through reason, logic, and evidence:
“Simple answer, apologetics is commanded in scripture.
“always be ready to give an answer…” 1 Peter 3:15
“…demolish arguments” 2 Cor 10:5
We are told to discern true from false.
“test the spirits to see if they are of God…” 1 John 4:1
Jesus corrected error. Matt 22:29
Jesus refuted false teaching. Matt 15:6-9
“…Paul reasoned” or “…come let us reason” Acts 17:16-17
Paul refuted those who opposed truth. Titus 1:9
Paul tells us to rebuke false teachings. Titus 1:13
“…defending and confirming the Gospel.” Phil 1:7
Jude urged us to “contend for the faith”
“love the Lord your God with all your…mind”
“test, weigh, and examine all things before accepting them…”
Paul speaks quite a bit on these things, but it’s also referred to in other parts of scripture
The main reason is to encourage, enlighten and strengthen believers in the faith AND to answer the questions and objections that people may bring to them regarding Christianity & God’s Word.
Arguments may happen yeah, but to avoid the type of “arguments” Sacredstruggler is probably referring to you have to withdraw when the a person starts bringing emotional arguments into the conversation rather than rational ones….once they start with emotional objections, argumentative-anger usually ensues…If the people involved in the discussion can keep there emotions in check and not allow them to over-rule then usually they can have a good and insightful conversation.
Also arguments and emotions aren’t all bad, Paul heatedly argued with Peter regarding correct doctrine, etc.
God is a God that ministers to the fullness of man mind, body and spirit…that includes the areas of logic & emotion. We have to be able to discern how to minister to certain people, depending on their temperament and tendencies. Also we are not all able to minister to every single type of person, we each were designed to reach different types of people.”
That answer actually came from one, Josh Moore, not myself.
I worked in cauutrll marketing for over 30 years. This is my advice. Aim especially at the multipliers , those people and organizations that would use your book as a tool to further their program by bringing it to others. Think: who needs this book in their toolkit? Try to write your book with these readers in mind. Look at your competition, and see where the holes are. And write with your target audience in mind. This should have an impact on the tone of your argument. For example, if you are writing for a young college crowd of religiously illiterate youth who want to know what Christianity is, you would right differently than if your target market were died in the wool Evangelicals. Knowing your reader and writing with that reader in mind, will help you to target your marketing. That will define where you go and what you do to promote the book.
[…] sins and is coming again to take us into glory gets tacked on. Sometimes apologists such as this fine gentleman say that the gospel is what saves. Then there’s general revelation to contend with. The world […]