Charlie had grown up going to Sunday school. He had heard all the stories about the Christian faith. But when he got to university, he began to hear objections to the Christianity that he had never considered. How could a good God command genocide in the Old Testament? How could people who have never heard about Jesus face eternal punishment? How could a good God allow evil? Suddenly, Charlie’s Sunday school faith and Christian experience was withering away.
Christians have understood that there must be reasonable answers when objections are raised. Simple Sunday School answers don’t cut it in a complex world. For this reason, Christians have practiced apologetics: answering difficult questions, thinking about different religions, challenging assumptions. Coupled with evangelism, apologetics seeks to defend the faith while preparing a way for belief.
Someone has said that the heart will not accept what the mind rejects. People may hear the gospel, but they may have objections that seem to defeat the gospel. Answering difficult objections can provide a means to presenting the gospel. Apologetics in evangelism is like filling the big pot holes that keep someone from moving forward to the Gospel.
When properly used, apologetics functions as a servant to gospel proclamation. In other words, by having reasonable explanations for why Christians believe, we trust that God can prepare the listener to be more receptive to the truth of God’s word. Apologetics is not the power of God unto salvation – only the gospel can save (Romans 1:16). In fact, apologetics is powerless unless it is accompanied with the power of the good news. This is why apologetics isn’t about winning an argument but presenting a reason for belief in Jesus Christ so that people might be saved.
Paul says it this way: “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Let us love people from a heart that wants to win people to Christ rather than win an argument for our pride’s sake.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll consider some of the tough objections to the Christian faith and consider short answers that will help us to love people to Christ.
Aiming to love others,
Missional Action Plan: consider what objections you hear from people about Christianity and consider how you might answer them.
Missional Action Prayer: Lord, help me to love people enough to give a reasonable defense of the faith but never to merely make a point or win an argument but to win a soul for Christ’s sake, Amen.
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.
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