Is your faith shallow?

By Don Gentry

Many people say they are a Christian, but they can’t really explain it.  Simply put, their faith is shallow and ignorant.  Maybe yours is too.  If I said you need to have a better understanding of apologetics in order not to have shallow faith experience what would your response be?  Would you get mad and defensive or would you agree?

Many people resist the study of apologetics as if it somehow doesn’t apply to them.  Many also have a very poor understanding of what apologetics even is.

Every follower of Christ is and has been affected by apologetics whether they want to be or not.  And I strongly encourage every follower of Christ to have a good understanding of what apologetics is and how it affects their daily faith.  The question is, “do you care?”

Simply put, apologetics comes from the Greek word “Apologia” and it means to give a defense.  It was a common Greek word used for a formal speech, explanation, or rebuttal for charges being brought in a trial.  It is not a Christian word; it is a secular word used in law.

Our faith is put on trial by society every day. It is put on trial by family and friends, co-workers and peers.  We are expected as Christians to be able to articulate a defense for our beliefs.  Many Christians believe the lie that their actions are enough.  We need to be able to articulate why we act how we do with our words.  That is apologetics. 

Let me give you three extremely clear examples of apologetics in the scriptures.

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV2011)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Peter uses the phrase “be prepared to give answer”. This is the word apologia.  It is a charge to us as followers of Christ that we need to be able to give a defense of our beliefs with words. 

Paul also gives us examples of how he literally had to use the art of apologia in a judicial setting.

Read Philippians 1:7 and read all of Acts chapters 24, 25, and 26.   He was literally making a defense for his life in the court of man.  Every time you see Paul saying, “let me give an answer, or a defense.”  It is this idea of apologetics.

Many people’s faith is shallow and ignorant because if most people had to stand before a court of law and defend their beliefs they would give a very weak defense because they have not properly prepared themselves to speak.  Thankfully we don’t have to defend ourselves to live freely in our land like Paul. Because we have not had much persecution we don’t even train ourselves to explain to our friends what we really believe about Jesus and why HE is the only ABSOLUTE hope! That is why apologetics should matter to all of us.

Weekend Preview | Why Can I Trust The Bible? Part 2

By David McNeely

Is there any reason to believe the Bible when some of it’s claims seem so outrageous?

Last year, I met with a 29 year-old engineer for dinner over the course of 4 weeks. He was and still is brilliant. He’s also compassionate, kind, and respectful. It was a joy to meet with him. He stills comes to our church. He enjoys coming and learning. Last year when we began meeting, he was unconvinced of the truthfulness of the Bible. He was stuck on two issues: Creation and Jesus’ resurrection. He is not alone.

Many people struggle to believe the validity of a book that makes claims that the earth was created in six days and that a guy was dead on Friday but came back to life on Sunday. The reason it is hard for many to swallow is obvious– we just don’t see that happen today.

This weekend, we will look at two differing ways to apply apologetics. We’ll ask these kind of questions.

  • Was the earth created in six 24 hour days? Can one believe something different and still say the Bible is without error?
  • Was Jesus really physically dead on Friday, Saturday, and into Sunday?
  • Did he physically rise from the dead sometime that Sunday morning?
  • Can one believe something different and believe the scriptures are reliable?

We’ll use these two issues and see how to give a reasonable argument for the validity of God’s Word.

Can you trust the Bible? Yes, you can. See you on Sunday!

What Are Apologetics & Why Should You Care?

By Zack DeBerry

As we talk about why we can trust the Bible, it is important to know that much of history is written about in the texts of the Bible. However, just as much that is revealed in the text, there are still many things that are open to interpretation. It is in this interpretation that some people may be led to believe things that aren’t always true. Whether they get their information from the latest Bible series on network television or just trust the first blog that appears after a Google search, people will always have questions about the things that aren’t addressed in the Bible.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to always be ready to give an answer as to why we believe what we believe. We see this in 1 Peter 3:15 where Peter writes, “And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.”  What Peter is referring to here is a word we call Apologetics.

Apologetics is a term that can take on a life of its own at times, but essentially Apologetics is defined as a reason or reasons why you believe what you believe. That’s what Peter urges all of us to do in the above verse. Some folks may think that Apologetics are best left to the “Professional Christians,” but it’s my belief that we should ALL know what Apologetics means and why it should be important.

Here are a few reasons why I think Apologetics should matter to us ALL:

1. People Have Questions

This should be motivation enough for us to care about Apologetics and be ready to give a reason for why we believe and have the hope that we do in Jesus. I know that it can be daunting to feel like you have to have an answer for every question. The truth is that you may not have all the facts and information about a literal 6 day creation theory, but you should be able to tell someone WHY you believe what you do. That is the first step in helping answer someone’s question. Give them a reason to continue to seek the answers they need. Tell them why you believe.

2. Bad Information is Everywhere.

It’s cool to see that Bible stories and themes have made it into mainstream media, but we must make sure that we realize there could be some creative liberties taken at times. As a follower of Jesus Christ, we must have enough knowledge of Biblical events to be able to offer correction where it is needed when Hollywood gets it wrong. There are many people who will trust what they see on television or read in a book as the truth, even when it isn’t factually correct. When we take Apologetics seriously it allows us to enter into conversations that are created by various entertainment outlets and present the truth of the Gospel.

3. The Future

Apologetics isn’t just for you, it’s for the future. What I mean by that is, as a father of 3 children my kids need me to know why I believe and to be able to answer questions that they have about faith as they come up. We must take ownership for how our families view the Bible and the world. Caring about Apologetics means that I care enough to be ready to give an answer when the questions come, and they will come.

These are just a few of the reasons why I care about Apologetics and think it’s important for everyone. Ultimately, we must be ready to provide answers when questions arise. 1 Peter 3:15 gives us an all call to become Apologists, but I think it is important to read the first few words of verse 16 as well. Peter goes on to say this: “But do this in a gentle and respectful way.” This may be the most important piece of advice when it comes to Apologetics.

Our job is not to convince everyone by drawing lines in the sand, but to be ready to give them our WHY. When we move Apologetics from telling our stories and reasons to creating a staunch defense we will lose the intent of what Peter calls us to do.