How Do We Use Apologetics?
Welcome back my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We will now take a look at a few foundational ways on how we are to use apologetics and some of the different types of people we may encounter that will prompt us to use apologetics. In addition, we will also discuss how we are to respond to people and the questions/arguments they may present (this will be done through the rest of the posts in this series). Before we begin, I would like to point you to a few verses in Scripture that I feel are very important to grasp and understand when engaged in apologetics.
1 Peter 3:15 NLT: Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
2 Timothy 4:2 NLT: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
James 1:19-20 NLT : Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT: But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:25-26 NLT: Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
The above verses help govern our approach and actions in many areas of our lives as Christians. This is especially so in apologetics. As we look into apologetics, there are a few limitations that we should be aware of that will save us some frustration.
- Apologetics can not save
- It can not conclusively answer all questions
- It can not argue someone into the kingdom. (Remember, you can only show them the truth.)
When someone is giving you their reasoning for not accepting or believing, we must keep in mind these key points:
*Everyone uses logic
*Not all “logic” is logical
*Certain arguments can be fallacious
So how do we use apologetics? Well, we do not initially “beat” the listener with Scripture, because some may not have even touched a Bible. What you do is to get them to question what they believe. By doing so, you have an open door to plant the seed of God’s Word. During your conversation, you will know when it’s time to quote a verse from Scripture. But first, you have to spark their attention and curiosity. The same principle behind Jesus’ statement, “I’ll make you fishers of men."
Regardless if we are sharing the Gospel or defending Christianity, if we go into our ministry using words that are not commonly used, it has a way of sparking the curiosity and attentive ear of the audience. I personally know this works because Crystal does it to me when she learns new things in her Seminary classes. It’s how I came to find out about apologetics (LOL).
If after attempting to share the Gospel you receive a response that prompts you to go into apologetics mode, take a brief pause and smile. Then make an attempt to say this statement, “That’s quite interesting. May I ask how did you come to that conclusion?” The more you get them to talking, the more time you have to find a common ground or understand their mindset and can approach with a more surgical response, tailored to that individual.
One thing I failed to mention earlier is to not water down the Gospel. There are several reasons why. One in particular is that by not watering down the Gospel, we encourage and prompt people to research the words and things we are saying. Develop your vocabulary. When defending Christianity, we will eventually encounter people who will use words that are not familiar to most.
When the skeptic or nonbeliever does this, it usually causes a believer to shift from his/her toes to rocking on their heels and stopping prematurely with their apologetics. DO NOT BE SHAKEN OR INTIMIDATED. Instead, stand flat footed and ask the speaker if they could explain further. By doing this, you will be able to better grasp what they are trying to convey. And once again, it’s buying you more time to find a common ground and new approach to defend Christianity to the individual. In addition, the longer you’re engaged in conversation, the more seeds you can sow.
When using apologetics, we must remember the fruit of the Spirit. It’s not fruits! It’s just one. Example: an orange is round, orange in color, has seeds, juicy, etc. All these are included in the orange. Be mindful to speak to each person, rather they be a skeptic or nonbeliever, with patience and gentleness among all things. We are a representative of our Holy King and must demonstrate Christlikeness.
Some of the things or people that raise up against the Spirit of God are Hindu, Mormonism, Gnostic, postmodernism, Buddhism, atheism, humanism, evolution, and double minded individuals. In addition, some of the people we encounter may simply be victim themselves of false teachings and beliefs dating from childhood to adulthood. So, it may be difficult for them to grasp what you’re saying and be a huge shock to which they may reject your evidence at the first sowing of the seed. However, do not be discouraged, friends. Being led by the Holy Spirit, our job is to either sow or water the seed, not harvest. It is the Holy Spirit who does the rest.
Think of it like this. How shocking is it to a 7-year-old to hear that Santa Clause doesn’t exist when he or she was told all their life that Santa does exist and watch TV shows, movies and cartoons that says otherwise? How much convincing will you have to do to get the truth to that 7-year-old? How likely are they to accept the truth when told the first time? How would you approach the child with the truth? You would use the fruit of the Spirit.
During my research of apologetics, I came across this. Jesus is the door. The Gospel is the path. Apologetics is the sign pointing to Jesus. When showing that Jesus is the only way, you have to prove/show how the other ways are invalid. By doing this, “We are destroying every principalities and evil things that are against the Word of God. Not through violence but Spirit of speech.” – Dr. John Stevenson
As we go where the Lord tells us and do what He says, let’s not forget the following (feel free to laminate it on an index card and keep with you)
- Divorce our emotions from the challenge
- Assume the Bible is true
- Carefully analyze each critical allegation against the Bible
- Get help from Christian scholars
- Be patient
May God bless each and every one of you with strength, wisdom, protection, and endurance as you go and do for His kingdom.