Sunday, July 10, 2016

In Brief - Four purposes for doing Christian apologetics

Matthew 22:37 "And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’


Yesterday I gave a very quick introduction to Christian apologetics by both defining the discipline itself and its role in the Christian life. Today we will keep the post brief so that readers can be introduced to this vital tool for communicating and defending the Christian worldview. Today we will briefly list four purposes for doing Christian apologetics. 

The four purposes served by Christian apologetics
Dr. William Lane Craig's book: "Reasonable Faith" spells out four main purposes for Christian apologetics. I will list what they are and then offer a brief exposition of each:

a). Express our cognitive love to God (Mt 22:37).

We should not only love Jesus with all our heart, but also our minds. In as much as the spirit of a man is instantly converted at saving faith, the mind ought to be the subject of progressive, ongoing transformation as the Christian grows in their faith. Both heart and mind are essential in the cultivation of Christian spirituality.

b). Explain/defend Christianity to unbelievers

This second purpose reveals how apologetics functions as a form of "pre-evangelism". Apologetics ought to lead us to a deeper burden for sharing the Gospel. Often we must knock down the intellectual barriers and opposing arguments to get to the root of a person's rejection of Jesus Christ. The Bible uniformly describes mankind's rebellion against God as moral and spiritual. Apologetics aims to eventually expose this root while also addressing the intellectual branches that issue forth from the trunk of unbelief. The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 that we aim to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 

c). Confirm our faith to Christians

I have found that Christian apologetics can strengthen the Christian's faith. There are those seasons where all Christians have doubts or struggle in the midst of great difficulties. Christian apologetics can function alongside the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit in verifying to the Christian that following Jesus is worth it all.

d). Explore connections to Christian doctrines and other truths

As one engages in Christian apologetics, growth in understanding how the Christian worldview fits together comes as an added bonus. Key doctrines that typically comprise any Christian apologetic includes: the doctrine of creation, the doctrine of sin, the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of salvation and the doctrine of last things. When you think about it, these five classical "key points of Christian doctrine" provide a broad outline of the Bible. Throughout every age, these five key areas have been attacked and have needed to be repeated and communicated. Other doctrines are appealed to along the way as one grows in their understanding of the Christian worldview. 

Closing thoughts
Today we looked at four main purposes for doing Christian apologetics. My hope is that the reader has been inclined to increase their knowledge of what they believe, why they believe and how to defend what they believe. 

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